19: Cincy – The Pleasant Surprise of Ohio

Ohio holds most of the love I have to offer between the family, the friends, the memories and the appreciation for dive bars and pick up trucks. My first Ohio post was of Toledo but I think it’s about time I got to the cities people actually know the name of: The Three C’s. Most recently I ventured down to Cincinnati which has equally a Kentucky feel as it does Ohio. Bordering the south and holding two of my favorite people hostage, it’s a city I never expected to love. The nightlife is great, the architecture is unique, and the people are the same ole Ohioans I pretend I’m sick of but am secretly obsessed with.

My first time there consisted of dicey bars, live music and great food so obviously I couldn’t let that be my only visit. Ohio still gets a little nippy during the summer (BIG SURPRISE) but the bipolar weather has never been able to keep me away for too long. My friend Jack moved there soon after college and though it took me over a year to visit I finally managed to get a tour of the city. After getting dinner at The Eagle we sat downtown on a patio as we drank and people watched before venturing to a birthday party with a group of his friends downtown. The night consisted of live music, bar hopping and though the specifics aren’t entirely important the afternoon views of the city as we grabbed food at Public House were amazing.

Lesson 20: Not every city in Ohio is flat, spread out and country.

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Between playing strangers in a pool match and life sized Jenga at Neon’s, the next day proved to be just as fun. The bar area inside of Neon’s is extremely narrow with an old school juke box and an upstairs that’s set up much more like a family billiard room than an actual bar. With leather couches, a built in shelf, a pool table and board games it’s easy to get pretty relaxed until it gets busy. The outside patio area is much larger with a grill and several picnic tables near the life sized Jenga pieces, which are much more fun to play with than board games.

The second time I went was twice as memorable considering I stayed twice as long and had twice as many friends that lived there. Sam managed to move from one C to the other for her residency because believe it or not I have friends slightly more intelligent than myself.

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After a fun night out and tons of catching up, the next day we managed to grab brunch as Sam left to figure out how to move into her overly sized mansion of an apartment. Being the great friends that we are, Jack and I bailed. Laying by a pool and mid day margaritas sounded far more entertaining than looking for a bed and tracking down the landlord. Love you, mean it.

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Despite being a mildly terrible human being for two hours, poolside drinks and a solid view of the city turned out to be the more exciting choice. Later in the weekend we roamed around and stumbled upon a fair of street vendors which was probably my worst nightmare considering I like to buy everything. Naturally I left with five Ohio shaped wooded magnets. After useless spending and afternoon roaming we ended the weekend with ice cream and opera in the park. It’s safe to say us Ohioans know how to keep it fun and play comfortably.

The most recent visit, though brief, was nothing short of entertaining including Asian food in Kentucky, a brewery tour, and an impromptu museum visit. Ameriasia is what I would call the Kung fu junkies hidden sanctuary with an extensive beer list and Bruce Lee movies playing on rotation. It’s cozy feel and Szechwan lo mien allows you to get comfortably relaxed.

Fun fact: I don’t know how to pronounce Szechwan. Unfortunately the word wasn’t loaded into my vocabulary properly when I spent 9 months in the pod.

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Naturally after this we met up with Sam to tour the bar scene because what else would you do on a Friday night in the state of Ohio? Fast forward to the next morning and you’ve got the scrambled eggs cure before we decided a brewery tour was the way to go. We went to Mad Tree and given I’m not familiar with their brews, I’d never pass up some IPA flights and chocolatey stouts.

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The brewery had a cozy outdoor patio with minimal space but ample seating room. The entire place smelled like wood burned pizza as they had a pit in the back making them fresh to order. Surprisingly the place had a decent crowd of all ages considering it was a Sunday afternoon. They even let pets inside, which was hella cool. Once we finished a good bellies worth we trolled towards the museum to check out the Modern Voices Exhibit which consisted of Japanese art before I had to migrate back over to the Windy City.

Cincy, CincinNasty, or whatever other nickname you’d like to call it has become one of my favorite parts of the Midwest. Possibly because every time I go I do something different, or maybe because it’s the only city in Ohio furthest away from my hometown. Either way, pretty solid if you have good company and minimal funds for a stellar time.

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