Galla Park Restaurant and Night Club Goes Upscale at The Banks

The eatery does lunch, dinner and high-end bottle service

click to enlarge Galla Park - Photo: Amy Elisabeth Spasoff for Galla Park
Photo: Amy Elisabeth Spasoff for Galla Park
Galla Park

Let’s paint a picture: Joey Votto sends a walk-off homer into the stands at Great American Ball Park to give the Cincinnati Reds a win on a Friday night in early summer. Riding Votto’s momentum, the Reds’ faithful pour into The Banks, but not in search of $2 beers and $3 cocktails in plastic cups — not this time. The crowd goes against the grain, celebrating the win in style with high-end cuisine, proper drinks and a dance (or seven) at a premier night club. 

Galla Park makes this possible, creating a space for Reds’ die-hards, weekend drinkers and everyone in between to indulge in an upscale atmosphere outside the traditional scope of The Banks’ family-friendly and more mainstream offerings. 

“This is the area we want to be. We saw the opportunity to enhance the dining portfolio of The Banks and increase that,” says co-owner Michael Mercer.

Mercer and his partners at Peerless Management Group opened Galla Park in October 2018 at 175 Joe Nuxhall Way, serving a new experience around the stadium in addition to lunch, dinner and cocktails. 

“The way that Galla Park was created is we kind of took a look at what some of the bigger cites were doing, like Miami, Chicago, L.A.,” Mercer says. “And a lot of the hot trend across the country right now is restaurant-first, more of a hipper, trendier, more of a modern feel that transitions throughout the night into more of an upscale lounge or, like this place warranted, a full-blown night club.”

click to enlarge Angus Sliders (bacon jam, boursin, tomato, bibb lettuce, Sixteen Bricks bun) and truffle fries - Photo: Amy Elisabeth Spasoff for Galla Park
Photo: Amy Elisabeth Spasoff for Galla Park
Angus Sliders (bacon jam, boursin, tomato, bibb lettuce, Sixteen Bricks bun) and truffle fries

But the food comes first at Galla Park, and for good reason: executive chef Ben Toney, formerly of Lebanon’s The Golden Lamb, has designed all of its recipes. 

“He believes in the concept and understood it,” Mercer says. “Having creative freedom and working with myself and other partners who stay up on the trends and do a lot of research, it was kind of a home run. We’ve been very lucky and fortunate to get a guy like Ben.”

The lunch menu is highlighted by a parmesan-crusted grilled cheese and shaved Brussels sprouts; a 48-ounce sliced Tomahawk ribeye ($115) and Atlantic halibut ($30) lead the entrée list at dinner. The menu also includes an array of shareables, including pork belly and waffles, truffle fries and sheet pan nachos — “something for everyone,” as Mercer puts it.

“The whole idea and concept is, we can have lunch with all of the businesses around town, so let’s do our happy hours, do our dinners,” Mercer says. “But our ideal dinner crowd is your 7:30, 8:30 dining crowd. And as they get done with their dinner, the room starts to transition. You can then start popping bottles, go to the bar, go to the dance floor, get a VIP, or just whatever. It’s just kind of a one-stop shop for your dining and entertainment needs.”

On that note, Galla Park lists their bottle service menu on the website, with options like a bottle of Smirnoff for $175, a bottle of Armand De Brignac Rose “Ace of Spades” for $900 or a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label Scotch for $800.  

click to enlarge Inside Galla Park - Photo: Amy Elisabeth Spasoff for Galla Park
Photo: Amy Elisabeth Spasoff for Galla Park
Inside Galla Park

Happy hour runs 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday with $5 cocktails, $5 house wines, $4 craft drafts and $3 domestics. You’ll see seasonally changing craft beers with locals like Taft’s and Rhinegeist on tap alongside options like Southern Tier, Goose Island and Bud Light. 

In addition to classic cocktails (i.e. Moscow Mule, Manhattan, Old Fashioned), Galla Park offers a Sriracha Margarita and what they call the Second Street Connector, a gin-based cocktail with St-Germain elderflower liqueur, peach-habañero shrub, fresh lemon juice and an apple slice garnish. 

“Our cocktail program is extremely strong,” Mercer says. “Everything is made fresh, from the simple syrups to the juices. Everything is freshly squeezed.”

Come summer, expect live acoustic entertainment during the week with DJs on weekends, plus a 1,500-square-foot patio for drinking, dining and lounging outdoors. 

Of course, Mercer is well aware that Votto’s walk-off home runs won’t send everyone to Galla Park for an indulgent experience but is confident it can coexist with other bars at The Banks along with the crowd that chases a $2 High Life.

“We realize we’re not for everybody,” he  says. “There’s going to be a demographic and crowd that thinks we’re too expensive. That’s OK. There are other bars that cater to that type of crowd. We didn’t open up this place to steal business. We wanted to complement the other businesses down here and work together.”

Galla Park is located at 175 Joe Nuxhall Way, Downtown. More info:

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