Travelers will have no trouble finding delicious food and drink in Ohio. Thanks to its dense populations of Germans, Irish, and Polish descendants the dishes here are hearty and filling. In general, the cuisine is all-American meat and potato fare. But in the larger cities there are excellent bistros, fusion restaurants, and ethnic eateries. The nightlife is just as exciting in Ohio, especially in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and other big towns. Loads of brewpubs, music venues, and friendly local bars ensure a good night out anywhere you go.
Bars and Pubbing in Ohio
The most vibrant nightlife is found in Ohio’s main cities of Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus. You are guaranteed some pleasant local taverns in every town, except perhaps in Amish Country, but for the most diverse entertainment head for the urban centers. Most bars have pool tables, dart boards, and often live music. In Cleveland the Fourth Street Area is home to venues like the House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave, Cleveland) and Corner Alley (402 Euclid Ave, Cleveland) where you can bowl, drink martinis, and nosh on diner food. Cleveland’s Warehouse District is a bit swankier, with trendy lounges and clubs like Velvet Dog (1280 W. 6th Street, Cleveland).
Cincinnati is Ohio’s other drinking hot spot, though perhaps a little more sedate than Cleveland. The Main Street Entertainment District is a good place to start. It’s in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, a charming historic area filled with cool bars, restaurants, and clubs. Adjacent Mount Adams is also a good area, with good live music venues like the Incline Lounge (1071 Celestial St, Cincinnati). Arnold’s Bar and Grill (210 E. 8th Street, Cincinnati) is the city’s oldest tavern and other reliably fun spot. Cincinnati’s heavy German population means there are lots of tasty brewpubs such as Rock Bottom Brewing Company (10 Fountain Square, Cincinnati). Most bars close their doors at 2:00 a.m., and smoking inside is prohibited.
Dining and Cuisine in Ohio
Ohio has a few specialties such as Cincinnati’s chili, a Greek-influenced creation typically served over spaghetti or on a hot dog. Skyline Chili (254 E. 4th Street, Cincinnati) is the city’s most famous chain, though there are many contenders to the throne. Fine American dining is best enjoyed at The Celestial Steakhouse (1071 Celestial St, Cincinnati) in the Mount Adams district.
Cleveland has the state’s most diverse ethnic scene, with superb eateries in Little Italy, Slavic Village, and Ohio City. The districts like Restaurant Row, the Historic Warehouse District, Ohio City, and the Flats are reliable areas for excellent diverse dining and drinking. In Cleveland you spend a few dollars or a hundred. Top dining spots like Blue Pointe Grill (700 W. St Clair Ave, Cleveland) wins accolades for its seafood, while the American bistro Lola (2058 E. 4th Street, Cleveland) has a marvelously creative menu.
Nearly every town in Ohio has at least one or two local legends that must be tried. In Dayton, Marion’s Piazza (3443 N. Dixie Dr, Dayton) has been serving its unique and addictive pizzas since the 1960s. The capital Columbus is the place to experience German fare at its best at institutions like Schmidt’s Sausage Haus (240 E.Kossuth St, Columbus). Just ask around and the locals will gladly share their favorite spot.