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15 Bars You Need to Visit in the Cincinnati Area

One of the most anticipated events in a college student’s life is, you guessed it, turning 21 (or should I say, twenty-fun). Now if you’re anything like most college students who are about to turn 21, you’re probably wondering which bars to hit up on your 21st birthday since you can go to any bar you want, not just the grimy college bars that accept a crayon-drawn picture on construction paper as a form of identification. Well no worries, as a fellow 21-year-old myself, I am here to help with a list of 15 bars in the Cincinnati area that I believe are worth going to. Whether you want a crazy night out with a ton of people, a chill night out with a few close friends, or a place with great drunk food (hmm, late night eateries? I sense another article in the making), I’ve got you covered. Here we go, a list of 15 (in no particular order) bars that are worth going to when you turn twenty ~fun~.

1. 16-Bit Bar + Arcade 

Located in OTR, 16-Bit is one of the first bars I went to when I turned 21. Between the games and endless drink options, you’ll have loads of fun if you prefer game bars over dancing bars. Their drink menu is amazing, filled with adult slushies and my personal favorite, The Hulk Hogan, which is basically a vodka lemonade with a bomb pop in it (YUM). Other drinks feature things like rock candy and pop rocks, so you’ll surely feel like a kid again when you visit 16-Bit.

P.S., they nearly bent my ID in half when I went there on my 21st birthday, so be warned, they do not play around (haha, get it?). 

2. Myrtle’s Punch House

 If you’re feeling a relaxed night filled with tea-infused punch, Myrtle’s Punch House on Woodburn Avenue is the place for you. There are always four different types of punches to choose from, and you can get it by the glass, get a bowl to share with three other friends, or you can get a flight of all four to try! They also have food and other drinks if you’re not into tea, and they have different specials and events every night of the week (except Mondays because they are closed on Mondays).

3. Treehouse Patio Bar

New to the OTR area, the Treehouse Patio Bar is unique and becoming very popular, so of course I couldn’t leave it off of the list. This bar has an awesome patio outside with swings, but it can be hard to snag a swing because everyone else is trying to get one too! Luckily though, most people are nice and will let you use their swing to take a picture or two (because that’s what everyone really goes there for anyway, right?). What a lot of people don’t talk about though is that the Treehouse Bar also an inside area with a bar, dance floor, and stage which is pretty fun, especially if you are looking to get away from the crowded outside. Believe me though; this bar is much more than just a good photo op!

4. Goodfellas

One of my personal favorite places to go to in OTR, especially after a night out, is Goodfellas. Goodfellas is both a bar and restaurant with big breadsticks and even bigger slices of pizza. The downstairs is deceiving because it’s pretty tiny, but there is an outside area both downstairs and upstairs, and there is an inside whiskey bar upstairs. During the day the line isn’t too bad, late on a Saturday night there is always a line going out the door, so be prepared to wait, but the deliciously oversized food is worth it (like it says on the pizza box, “size does matter”).

5. Mr. Pitiful’s

After finishing your Goodfellas pizza, walk down a block and stop by Mr. Pitiful’s for lots of dancing. This bar reminds me of your average college bar, with dirty floors and long bathroom lines, so if you’re into that kind of thing, definitely hit up this one. Also when I went, they were selling hot dogs outside for $1, so that’s always a plus!

6. The Rook

The Rook is another game bar in OTR, but it has a different vibe than 16-Bit in a more low-key and relaxed way. They have loads of different board games and card games to choose from, a menu with different meals and appetizers, and a fun drink menu to make you feel like a kid (it features cotton candy, pop rocks, Capri Sun, and Sunny-D). This is a good place to go to if you and a few of your friends want to go out, but don’t want to dance or be in a loud and crazy environment.

7. Murphy’s Pub

Murphy’s is a chill dive bar in Clifton that has great drink specials, hot dogs, popcorn, dart boards, and pool tables; what more could you ask for in a bar? Don’t be dressing up all fancy to go here because you’ll look out of place and underage, and for all of my underage readers, don’t even try; they don’t mess around.

8. Hofbrauhaus

Located just over the river in Newport, Hofbrauhaus is a great place to go anytime of the day. Whether for lunch or a night out, they have endless food and drink options. The pretzel sticks are amazing and the long tables and German clothes will make you feel like you’re in Munich (where the original Hofbrauhaus is). Oh, and did I mention college night is on Thursdays?

9. The St. Clair

Another Clifton bar, The St. Clair is a fun place to go with a few friends to sit at a bar and try out some fun shots. They have a girl scout shot that tastes like thin mints, a froot loop shot, and a gummy bear shot. Highly recommend trying them all!

10. Rhinegeist Brewery

Rhinegeist is the brewery of OTR and is a great place to go during the day with family, or at night with friends. They have many beer options and corn hole. My family is obsessed with breweries, and Rhinegeist does not disappoint.

11. Mount Adams Pavilion

Pavilion is a classic college bar to go to for drinking, dancing, and forgetting most of the night. During the school year it’s filled with college students but during the summer all of the older people wander in, so pick whichever crowd you prefer. I can’t even tell you how many floors this place has, but you can find a different bar on all of them, and you might even be able to score a free drink from the bartender if you’re lucky. Also, if anyone happens to find a Fitbit while you’re there, let me know!!

12. Queen City Radio

OTR is filled with great places to go to, and Queen City Radio is another good one. They have drinks, food, and you can bring your dog. What more could you want? 

13. 1215 Wine Bar & Coffee Lab

Basically a Starbucks with alcohol; sign me up. They open early and they close late, and they have a mix of wine, beer, non-alcoholic coffee drinks, alcoholic coffee drinks, and yummy snacks. Need I say more?

14. Buzzed Bull Creamery

I know, I know, this one is not a bar, but I felt like it had to be mentioned as a place to visit when you turn 21. Alcoholic ice cream is such a lovely concept. They have so many flavors and things to mix into your ice cream, and it doesn’t have to be alcoholic, so your younger friends can join you!

15. Mad Tree

My family’s personal favorite, Mad Tree is another brewery in the Cincinnati area. They recently opened a new location in Oakley, which is super nice. They have pizza and a lot of beer options, and they also host a variety of fun events like yoga + brunch, and ping pong Tuesdays!

There are so many different bars in the Cincinnati area, so there’s no wonder why turning 21 is such an exciting thing, but always remember to drink responsibly. Have fun!!





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