Welcome to the Queen City, where you’ll discover an exciting and eclectic nightlife scene, from cozy bars to pulsating nightclubs. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Cincinnati is sure to have something to offer everyone. In this ultimate guide, we’ll explore the best places to party, give you valuable safety tips, and provide insights on the cost of enjoying a night out in the city.
We’ll also dive deeper into the various neighborhoods, giving you a comprehensive view of the Cincinnati nightlife scene. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the vibrant world of Cincinnati nightlife!
Where to Party in Cincinnati
There are several popular neighborhoods in Cincinnati, each offering a unique vibe and array of options for an unforgettable night out. Here are our top picks:
- Over-the-Rhine (OTR): Known for its stunning historic architecture and vibrant art scene, OTR is a must-visit for those seeking an eclectic mix of bars, restaurants, and live music venues. Key spots to visit include the popular Washington Park, which hosts a variety of events and concerts, and the historic Findlay Market, where you can grab a drink and a bite to eat before heading out for the night.
- Downtown Cincinnati: The heart of the city, Downtown Cincinnati offers a wide range of nightlife options, including upscale lounges, sports bars, and rooftop terraces with stunning views of the skyline. Fountain Square, located in the center of downtown, is a lively gathering place where you can catch free concerts, salsa dancing, and more.
- Northside: A hipster paradise, Northside is home to a thriving LGBTQ+ scene and a mix of dive bars, breweries, and trendy cocktail spots. Northside is also known for its independent shops and restaurants, making it an excellent destination for a night of bar-hopping and exploration.
- The Banks: Situated along the Ohio River, The Banks is a bustling entertainment district featuring a variety of bars, restaurants, and live music venues. Enjoy the picturesque views of the Roebling Suspension Bridge and Great American Ball Park as you explore the vibrant scene.
- Hyde Park: An upscale neighborhood located on the east side of Cincinnati, Hyde Park offers a mix of trendy bars, wine bars, and high-end dining options. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the charming Hyde Park Square, where you’ll find an array of restaurants and boutiques.
- Covington and Newport: Just across the river from downtown Cincinnati, these Kentucky cities boast a vibrant nightlife scene of their own. From riverside bars to lively pubs, you’ll find plenty of options for a memorable night out.
Cincinnati Nightlife & Safety Tips
To ensure that your night out in Cincinnati is both fun and safe, follow these essential tips:
- Stay in well-lit, populated areas: Stick to popular neighborhoods and avoid venturing into poorly lit or unfamiliar streets.
- Use ridesharing services or taxis: Instead of walking long distances late at night, opt for a rideshare service or taxi to get to and from your destination safely.
- Stay with a group: Traveling with friends is not only more enjoyable but also safer. Make sure to keep an eye on each other throughout the night.
- Watch your drink: Always keep your drink with you and never accept drinks from strangers.
- Be aware of your surroundings: Keep your personal belongings close and avoid using your phone while walking, as it can be a distraction.
- Trust your instincts: If a situation or person makes you feel uncomfortable, it’s best to leave the area or seek help.
- Familiarize yourself with the local laws and customs: Be aware of any specific laws or regulations that may apply to your night out, such as noise ordinances or open container laws.
- Pace yourself: Enjoy your night out responsibly by pacing your alcohol consumption and staying hydrated.
- Keep an emergency contact: Make sure someone knows your plans for the night and establish a designated emergency contact in case of any unforeseen circumstances.
- Charge your phone: Before heading out, ensure your phone is fully charged so you can call for help or access important information if needed.
Cost of Partying in Cincinnati:
Cincinnati is known for being relatively affordable compared to other major cities in the US. Here’s a breakdown of the average costs you can expect to pay to enjoy the Cincinnati nightlife:
Drinks: A beer in a typical bar can range from $4 to $7, while cocktails can be anywhere between $8 and $12.
Cover charges: While many bars and smaller venues have no cover charge, nightclubs and live music venues may charge between $5 and $20 for entry.
Taxis and rideshares: Depending on the distance, a taxi or rideshare within the city can cost around $10 to $25.
Food: Late-night snacks or meals can range from $5 for a slice of pizza to $15 or more for a sit-down meal.
Tips: Remember to tip your bartenders and servers, typically 15-20% of your bill.
Best Bars in Cincinnati
Cincinnati boasts an impressive selection of bars to suit all tastes. Here are our top picks:
Sundry and Vice
Nestled in the heart of OTR, Sundry and Vice is a vintage-inspired cocktail bar renowned for its skillfully crafted libations and cozy ambiance. Since its inception, this gem has consistently ranked among Cincinnati’s finest cocktail establishments. Boasting a knowledgeable staff, they are adept at guiding patrons towards the perfect drink to suit their preferences.
The Blind Lemon
The Blind Lemon effortlessly charms visitors with its inviting interior, verdant outdoor patio, and nightly live music performances. Patrons are consistently impressed by the superb drink selection and delightful outdoor fireplace situated within the garden area. This enchanting venue is perfect for a romantic date night or a relaxed evening with friends, offering an atmosphere conducive to comfortable conversation and lasting memories.
Situated within a historic warehouse, Rhinegeist Brewery presents an extensive array of craft beers alongside a rooftop bar boasting breathtaking city views. A must-visit for craft beer enthusiasts, this expansive and distinctive venue is housed in a repurposed factory, lending it a truly unique atmosphere.
With an impressive lineup of beers on tap, including exclusive varieties not found elsewhere, sampling a flight is highly recommended to fully immerse yourself in the Rhinegeist experience. Although the brewery doesn’t serve its own food, they conveniently offer a curated menu from the neighboring establishment, which can be ordered directly at the bar.
A haven for gamers and fans of nostalgia, this bar in OTR offers a mix of classic arcade games, pinball machines, and creative cocktails. They have several locations all around Ohio.
Mecca OTR, a distinctive bar situated in Over-the-Rhine, boasts a vibrant atmosphere, artistic flair, and a remarkable selection of drinks and snacks. The ambiance at Mecca is characterized by its laid-back, creative energy, attracting a diverse and fascinating crowd.
Its spacious outdoor patio and extensive bar seating cater to a variety of preferences, while the uniquely designed bathrooms are sure to pique your curiosity. Coupled with the warm and welcoming bartenders, Mecca OTR’s signature drink is an absolute must-try during your visit.
A stylish bar located in OTR, The Lackman offers a cozy atmosphere, extensive beer selection, and handcrafted cocktails.
In search of complimentary entertainment? Look no further than Fountain Square, the epicenter of downtown Cincinnati. Encircling the historic 1871 Tyler Davidson Fountain, this lively space features a music stage and an impressive high-definition LED board.
Hosting an array of concerts and events, the square bustles with activity, particularly during the summer months when events such as concerts, trivia, and salsa dancing occur almost nightly. To enhance your experience, a full bar is available during all events, and food vendors frequently set up shop nearby.
Japp’s Since 1879
A historic bar in OTR, Japp’s offers a unique and busyatmosphere, creative cocktails, and a weekly schedule of live music and events. It’s a great place to mingle and meet new friends.
Arnold’s Bar and Grill
A guide to Cincinnati nightlife would be incomplete without mentioning the iconic Arnold’s Bar and Grill. Established in 1861, Arnold’s has perfected the art of keeping patrons coming back for more. The venue exudes an old-fashioned saloon ambiance while serving both food and drinks. Upstairs, you’ll find additional seating and the legendary bathtub rumored to have held gin during Prohibition.
The charming outdoor patio, enclosed by a brick wall, offers ample seating and features a music stage reminiscent of a front porch, adorned with vintage signs. In winter, the patio is covered and warmed by space heaters, ensuring year-round enjoyment. Live music performances take place from Tuesday to Saturday. Boasting more than 20 craft beers and sangria on tap, Arnold’s also serves a range of delectable cocktails to cater to all tastes.
Best Nightclubs in Cincinnati
When the sun sets and it’s time to hit the dance floor, the Cincinnati nightlife scene has a variety of nightclubs to choose from. Here are our top picks:
For those seeking an exuberant atmosphere and cutting-edge sound system, Energy Nightclub is a must-visit destination. With multiple rooms dedicated to various music genres, the club guarantees a diverse and inclusive experience for all.
Primarily catering to the 18-24 age group, the venue leans more towards popular rap and grind pop, keeping the dance floor buzzing with excitement. While EDM and house enthusiasts might find the selection limited, Energy Nightclub remains a popular choice for a high-octane night out.
A unique venue located in a historic brewery building, The Mockbee hosts a variety of themed nights, live music, and DJ sets, attracting an eclectic crowd in a laid-back atmosphere.
Located in Corryville, near the University of Cincinnati, Top Cats is a popular spot for college students and young professionals, offering live music, DJ sets, and themed nights.
Treehouse Patio Bar
A lively outdoor nightclub located in downtown Cincinnati, Treehouse Patio Bar features multiple levels, an extensive drink menu, and a variety of entertainment, from live music to DJ sets.
A sophisticated nightclub in Cincinnati’s Eastgate area, Cove51 offers a refined atmosphere, VIP sections, and top DJs spinning a mix of R&B, hip-hop, and dance music.
Mr Pitiful’s OTR
Mr. Pitiful’s Nightclub, nestled in the bustling OTR neighborhood, is a fantastic destination for dance enthusiasts. Renowned for its Karaoke Thursdays, this lively venue guarantees a night of fun and camaraderie. With a welcoming atmosphere, delightful drinks, and an amicable staff, Mr. Pitiful’s creates an enjoyable experience for all. Plus, the spacious dance floor ensures plenty of room to groove without feeling cramped.
PRVLGD Lounge & Bistro
This upscale nightclub in Downtown Cincinnati offers a luxurious atmosphere, VIP bottle service, and top-notch DJs spinning the latest hits.
Cincinnati Nightlife Conclusion
The Cincinnati nightlife scene has something for everyone, whether you’re seeking a quiet drink in a cozy bar or a night of dancing at a pulsating nightclub. With a variety of neighborhoods to explore, affordable prices, and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere, there’s no doubt that the Queen City is a fantastic destination for a night out.
In this guide, we’ve given you a comprehensive view of the best spots to visit and essential tips for a safe and enjoyable experience. So, gather your friends, embrace the night, and experience all that Cincinnati’s vibrant nightlife has to offer.