Oh, the Places You’ll Drink!

Notable locals on their favorite drinking spots in the Queen City

Feb 29, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Matt Distel

, Visionaries and Voices Executive Director and former co-director of Country Club Gallery

“I’m really fond of Madonna’s downtown. It seems like it’s kind of the last of the downtown bars that stands in opposition to clubs with more of a club atmosphere. The staff is usually fun and friendly … I don’t like people mixing things with my whiskey — just bourbon.”

Josh Dorsey

, J. Dorsey Blues Revival
“If I’m going out to have a drink, I would either go to the Comet or Junker’s Tavern. Junker’s is a hole-in-the wall, but it’s a nice place to go. It’s a real divey neighborhood bar, but a cool place for younger people to go for cheap drinks.” 

Ryan Ferrier,

Singer/guitarist for Valley of the Sun
Highland Coffeehouse and The Crazy Fox. I like the fact that they’re both low-key and super chill. Highland is very mellow — a great place to be left alone to do your own thing. Crazy Fox has a familiar neighborhood bar feel, but it’s an uber-liberal bar — very open, accepting and friendly.”

Mark Flanigan,

Author/CityBeat Columnist
“Let me put it like this: I don’t know how it happened, but I’ve surrounded myself with bartenders. All my friends and my girlfriend are bartenders. If I had to choose one, Milton’s, because I can stumble home and the walk home sobers me up before I get home. I also drink at MOTR and Northside Tavern, but mostly I drink at Milton’s because … you can’t publish that.”

Jean Francois-Flechet

, Founder/Owner of Taste of Belgium
“Right now I pretty much ‘live’ at the bistro and I don’t have much time to go out and drink, but I like to go for a drink at Lackman after work. They always have tons of interesting beers on draft (mostly American microbrews, but at times some Belgian beers that I did not know where available here!). I usually let Tabb (the bartender) pick the beer I will be drinking; I just tell him what type of beer I’m in the mood for. He’s very knowledgeable about beers. I’m never disappointed.”

Georgine Getty,

Local poverty advocate
“On the very rare occasion when I drink, I either go to the Comet or Northside Tavern, because I live in Northside and I want to support my neighborhood. They’re both really chill and hip, and the Comet has a great jukebox.”

Dan Korman,

Owner of Park + Vine
“The bars I enjoy most are in Over-the-Rhine — MOTR, Neon’s — and Northside — Northside Tavern, Mayday. I probably spend the most time at the ones in Northside and it’s mainly for Sunday brunch. It’s easy to lose a few hours there. I usually run into multiple groups of friends while eating and having coffee and a beer. Afterward, I head to Parker Woods across the street for a walk-it-off hike. It’s one of the highlights of my week.”

Liz Wu

CityBeat contributor/percussionist for Acarya
“My favorite place to go for a cocktail is Japp’s — Molly Wellmann has such innovative recipes and I love how she gives a little background on the ingredients of each drink as she makes it. I also appreciate the fine quality and selection at Dutch’s (Hyde Park) and Dilly Cafe (in Mariemont). … There’s also a hidden treasure in Bellevue called Avenue Brew — it’s a coffee shop that just got a liquor license. It’s not yet widely known that they have beer on their menu — but this is a great, casual place to hang with friends and they will be opening their patio in the summer.”

Molly Wellmann

Co-owner, Japp’s
“My favorite places where I feel super comfortable are Jean-Robert’s Table, Bakersfield — I love The Rookwood — and I like Lackman when I can make it there. These places have the best selection of bourbons and other liquors and know how to talk about it.”

Marcus Kuchle


Director of Artistic Operation for the Cincinnati Opera
“Depending on the mood, The Hilton Hotel Bar (Orchids at Palm Court) … with its grand atmosphere and Art Deco ambiance. The new Taste of Belgium is a pretty cool place with a great selection of Belgian beers and cocktails.”

Amber Nash


Singer/songwriter for Shiny and the Spoon
MOTR Pub. They are a neighborhood bar with live original music, open mic nights, and their burger is freaking to die for.” Her favorite beer on tap is the Two-Hearted Ale, and she appreciates the roominess and old-school games that seem to keep appearing, including PacMan and the pinball machines. 

Mike Oberst,

Frontman for The Tillers
“My favorite place to go is a tiny hole-in-the wall dive bar called the Parkland Bar in Sayler Park. It has all the West-Side charm you could ever want.” The bar, which is housed in an old Vaudevillian movie theater, used to be a bank. Of course there’s also the Crow’s Nest, which Oberst says is “like a little Whispering Beard Folk Fest every time you’re there.”

Roxanne Qualls

, City Councilwoman/Cincinnati Vice Mayor
Senate in Over-the-Rhine. The bartenders are always quick to acknowledge you, remember what you drink, offer great suggestions for food and drink pairings. It’s a real vibrant scene.” 

Stephen Samuels


Bridging Broadway Initiative
“My drinking holes tend to be A Tavola, Lackman Bar and Japp’s. I love the eggplant platter (A Tavola) with a Bulleit on the rocks and a splash of water.” He also digs the new Wine Bar at 1215 Vine, where you can enjoy “Flights of Wine” and a wine selection from around the world. 

Chris Seelbach,

Cincinnati City Councilman
“My favorite place to go for a drink in Cincinnati is Japp’s on Main Street. It’s the only place I trust to make ‘The Seelbach Cocktail,’ made famous by The Seelbach Hotel in Louisville, Ky. Molly Wellmann makes it right! The primary ingredients in ‘The Seelbach Cocktail’ are bourbon, bitters and champagne.”

Jenny Lynn Shepherd,

On-air host for WNKU/musician for The Flock
Schwartz Point for its jazz music, buffet and ambiance — a true hidden treasure of the Cincy music scene. Dee Felice in Covington for the wine and piano bar and Dilly Cafe in Mariemont for the huge selection of wine by the bottle at retail price.” 

Jim Tarbell

, Ex-Vice Mayor/former owner of Arnold’s
“It would have to be Arnold’s, of course. It’s such a wonderful combination of resources. It’s friendly, historic, affordable and it’s walkable, for me. My second favorite, it’s hard to say. There’s so many places. Downtown you’ve got the Netherland (Plaza’s Orchids at Palm Court), which is so beautiful, and uptown you’ve got Neon’s ... The new kid on the block is MOTR — they’ve got a lot of good music.”

Kim Taylor,

Local musician
“Oh boy. I don’t go out that much in all honesty — I have quite the liquor stash at home for my own concoctions. But if I were to just go out for one drink it would certainly be for a Cucumber Basil Martini at Wild Ginger. Times several.”

Jamie Thorman


Miney Mo
“The old and established Northside Tavern. It’s a great place to catch up with folks, and is centrally located. MOTR and Northside Tavern have excellent drink selections and free live music.”

Mark Utley,

Magnolia Mountain
“My favorite place is MOTR. They have a great staff, great vibe, great drink selection and great music — live or on the jukebox. I feel really comfortable there and at the Crow’s Nest (West Price Hill). The Crow’s Nest runs the Whispering Beard Folk Festival. Just about every folky band plays there … and they have a friendly atmosphere.”

Eric Vossmeier,

Know Theatre of Cincinnati Producing Artistic Director
Neons, The Avenue and Japp’s — those are probably the places I spend most of my time. The Avenue is located near my home and I love the patio. The same thing with Neons. And then Japp’s, I love Molly Wellmann’s cocktails. … I love the selections they have at Neons from time to time. When I go to Japp’s I have whatever is the special.”

Bill Williams II


Williams Family Band
“I like the Comet and Northside Tavern. I used to live above the Comet back in the days when it was called Bill’s Tavern. No sane person lived there … 

but I played music there — it can be a fun place.”