Best Bars in Cincinnati 2018

8 amazing bars to raise your glass at

people gather at a bar in cincinnati


Dejah Braggs


Jan 21, 2021

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Searching for a good bar can be one of the biggest headaches that life can give you. Whether you’re entering or a new city or just looking for something new, it is hard to find a bar that meets all of your needs. Looking for a bar can become so exhausting that you’ll even resort to knocking back a couple of beers at a TGI Friday’s. But little did you know that Cincinnati is full cutting edge bars that will put TGI to shame. Here is a list of some of the coolest bars that Cincinnati has to offer.

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16-Bit Bar+Arcade

15012 Detroit Ave, Lakewood, OH 44107

people playing arcade games at16-Bit Bar+Arcade
Image courtesy of 16-Bit Bar+Arcade

Yes, you read this right! Your favorite games and drinks all wrapped into one. This barcade redefines how your Saturday night should be played out. Take a break from the monotonous sit-down bars and get ready to party like it’s 1989. With over 50 vintage games such as Donkey Kong and Street Fighter, you’ll get a night full of nostalgia. All your teenage dreams will come true at this bar because if you drink you play for free. So before you work on getting your name on the leaderboard stop by the bar and pick from a wide variety old school, new wave and ice cold adult beverages.

Video Archive

965 E McMillan St, Cincinnati, OH 45206

shelves of movies on VHS at the video archive
Image courtesy of Video Archive

Who doesn’t love a good movie night? At this Cincinnati video store, you'll get a behind the scenes experience. The video store contains an endless amount of cult classic that will have you freaking out over your favorite flicks, but the fun does not stop there. When browsing the selection of movies you may notice a bookshelf that may seem like nothing, however, it leads to a hidden bar in the back. Once you reach the bar get ready for a new twist on movie night. From the clips, Quentin Tarantino movies to Killer drink names like Tina’s Mango Unchained, and Jacob’s Hanzo Steel. After a couple drinks at here, you’ll find yourself skipping out movie theatres and enjoying your Saturdays with Uma Thurman at The Video Archive.

Sundry and Vice

18 W 13th St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

bartender preparing a mixed drink
Image courtesy of Visual Merchandising and Store Design

Step into the 1920s at this apothecary styled bar, which serves up cocktail remedies ease your mind. The Cincinnati bar’s windows are lined with apothecary bottles (some of which still contain old-time potions) and inside the walls are lined with prescriptions. The menu at this stylish speakeasy is full of drinks that are made from homemade syrups. Some of the local favorites include Sapphire–gin, Cocchi Americano, blue curacao, lemon, absinthe rinse and The Night Cure – bourbon, lemon, honey and grapefruit oil. The bar also offers a small draft list and wine selection. On weekends you can indulge in a variety of boozy ice cream floats along with cold-pressed coffee and Bloody Marys.

Overlook Lodge

6083 Montgomery Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45213

dining tables and axes displayed on the wall at overlook lodge
Image courtesy of

Inspired by the Mysterious Hotel in Stephen King’s The Shining, this rustic watering hole combines owner, Jacob Trevino, love for movies and craft cocktails. However, the bar steers clear of the horror that Stephen King movies have and focuses on aspects of woods. The drinks are “rustic” craft cocktails, that take inspiration from simple flavors from nature. Some standouts on the menu include Writer's  Block-- bourbon, apple-berry sweet tea and Redrum Returns--Cruzan dark rum, strawberry clove puree, citrus, soda, cranberry bitters. If you're feeling a little hungry you can choose from their selection of homemade jerky and trail mix. In addition to the creative drinks and food, the bar also offers live country and bluegrass music on the weekends.


8 E 4th St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Aster bar upscale interior
Image courtesy of Aster

If you are tired of wild nights and big crowds than Aster is the place for you. Aster is an upscale bar located in the heart of Downtown Cincinnati. The self-proclaimed “social slippery” offers an atmosphere that is warm and laid back. This bar is the perfect way to catch up with old friends or even make some new ones. Enjoy one of their elevated cocktails which are infused with local herbs leaving customers refreshed and satisfied. Next Friday gather your crew and share some stories or snacks at Aster.

Knockback Nats

10 W 7th St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

close-up of a basket of wings
Image courtesy of OUT + OUTFIT

Football season is finally! There is no better way to kick off your Sunday than with a cold beer and a basket of wings. Knockback Nats is everything you want in a local sports bar, good food, and even better beer. Known for having the best wings in the city this bar offers dry rubbed wings that are smoked to perfection. You can eat them plain or try them with one of their award-winning sauces. If you are not in the mood for wings, this bar offers a menu full of burgers, nachos, and quesadillas that take bar food to the next level. Try the house specialty Knockback Burger which includes a fresh ground beef burger topped with American cheese, grilled onions, crispy bacon, fried egg, coleslaw, BBQ sauce, and your choice of smoked pork or brisket. Make sure you save some room for a nice cold beer while enjoying the sweet melodies from their jukebox.

The Blind Lemon

936 Hatch St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

the blind lemon old fashioned bar interior
Image courtesy of Cincinnati Magazine

Named after Texas Bluesman, Blind Lemon Jefferson, this bar offers a night of laughs, music and an all around good time. Since the bar opened its doors in 1963, they have offered nightly music entertainment. You will find a variety of music styles such as Rock, Jazz, and Blues. Known as a place where folks can hideaway, Blind Lemon, offers a relaxing atmosphere. Take time to wind down and pick from either their summer or winter cocktails.

Queen Radio City

222 W 12th St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

queen radio city exterior
Image courtesy of

Known for its famous beer garden and spectacular drag shows, Queen Radio City has declared itself the people's bar of Cincinnati. With an extensive draft list and a selection of specialty wines,  you’ll find the perfect drink to kick back with.  If you are looking to relax in the summer heat on their patio or longe in the loft area, this bar provides fast and friendly service. You can even stop by the Queen Whips Food Truck for a quick bite to eat. The truck is full of your favorite guilty pleasure such as chili cheese fries, homemade shakes and local favorite, The Whip Classic ( brisket sandwich, topped with lettuce, tomato, pickle, red onion, ketchup, mustard, mayo, and cheddar cheese.)

It’s time to say goodbye to your average friday night! Be spontaneous this weekend and check out one of these local hot spots!  

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November 1, 2018
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