The Covington MainStrasse district is like a trip back in time to a place where people from all cultures enjoy drinking outside and walking the streets. Here you can visit an Irish pub, an English ale house, a German biergarten and fine French dining all in a single night. And, of course, there are touches of America in Covington’s row houses, tattoo shops and seedy underbelly (more on that later). Follow this guide to enjoying MainStrasse like the well-cultured drinker you are.
1. Park at the south end of Main Street somewhere near Seventh. Find your way into Main Street Market (716 Main St.) and purchase a pack of cigarettes, because you’re going to be doing a lot of smoking (whether you actually light up or just breathe the air inside the bars). It’s also good to have some cigarettes in case you find a special someone smoking alone and you want a reason to initiate conversation.
2. From the front steps of the market you can see your first drinking destination: Mulligan’s (701 Main St.). The Guinness here comes out of a can, but the appropriate pour will result in a fine beverage to start the night. While sipping your black beer, search the place for an image of a mouse drinking a beer.
3. Your Guinness didn’t really give you a buzz (you didn’t get talked into the Car Bomb, did you?), but fear not — your next destination is a mere half block away. Cross the intersection of Main and Seventh diagonally to save time and enter Zola’s Bar & Grill (626 Main St.). If Heather’s working, order a Pineapple Bomb. If someone else is working, demand a Pineapple Bomb. One Pineapple Bomb, please!
You’re sitting in Zola’s, drinking a draught beer because Heather isn’t working and no one thinks your Pineapple Bomb demands are cute. That’s OK: Zola’s has great food, and since it’s still early you have time to kill. Try one of the half-pound burgers with steak fries or one of their fine ethnic dishes. There’s a CityBeat rack right next to you, so why not enjoy Cincinnati’s best coverage of politics, arts and music? Just sayin’.
4. Walk out the door. Turn left. Walk 10 steps. Turn left. Walk into Strasse Haus (630 Main St.). Order drink. Enjoy gated, half-covered outdoor patio adjacent to Main Street. Look at humans. Have second drink if humans are interesting.
5. Once again, you’re only a short diagonal sprint from your next destination. Cock & Bull English Pub (601 Main St.) will be your final stop before exploring Sixth Street, so be patient and enjoy the shiny TVs and ample draught beer. You’re not still hungry, or you might decide to enjoy an appetizer or the fish & chips. Drink one more pint and get out of there before a soccer game comes on and you get suckered into betting on a team that sounds like an international corporation.
6. Walk across Sixth Street and look in the window of Dee Felice Café (529 Main St.). If you’re dressed appropriately for Jazz music and New Orleans-style décor (or you feel like taking a break from drinking like your college glory days), pop in for an appetizer and a glass of wine. Tonight you might end up doing something you’ll regret in the morning, but you won’t do it here. Act right.
7. You’re tipsy. You’re full of food. Mispronouncing the Louis Latour Pinot Noir made you angry about the distribution of wealth in America (dude, calm down). You need … candy! Hustle over to Candy Bar (422 W. Sixth St.), and if you get there early enough you’ll be rewarded with all the highlights of your sugar-imbibing youth. Fill your pockets with candy sticks, Fun Dip and other goodies from the candy train. Pez. Pez is what you really need.
8. You need another beer to go with whatever chocolate you secured in the candy store, but in the way of your final destination is Covington’s seedy underbelly! As you walk west on Sixth, keep an eye out for a cut-through to the parking lots north of MainStrasse. There you’ll find auto shops, liquor stores and a scary restaurant called Frisch’s with a statue of a giant baby out front. Don’t stay for long — too scary.
9. Your final stop before completing your mission (did you know the mission was to drink/walk all the way to the Carroll Chimes Bell Tower and wait for “The Legend of the Pied Piper” to come on?) is Zazou Grill & Pub (502 W. Sixth St.). If the “A” on the sign is upside down, you’re too drunk to go in. Just kidding. It’s always upside down. Enjoy your final adult beverage of the night and then continue west, looking into the front windows of the row houses. Is that couple watching Cougar Town? That’s funny.
10. Visit the bell tower and think about what your life might have been like if you’d made different decisions or worked harder. Don’t worry about how much better off you could be at that very moment. It’s not your fault, plus you’re too drunk to figure out how to change now.