Zeno's—positioned in the heart of Victorian Village—fosters its lighthearted atmosphere with pool, darts, and other diversions alongside an extensive menu of bar fare and drinks. Scale the Nacho Zeno, which sports a scenic mountain range of tortilla chips draped in cheese, chili, black olives, and fried carabiners ($6). Meanwhile, the oven-toasted italian sub brims with ham, salami, veggies, and italian dressing ($6.50), and the petite rib eye sidekicks its 6 ounces of seasoned steak with fries and coleslaw ($7.25).
Recently under new management, Garage Bar and Grille now serves up a revamped menu of pub cuisine, such as sauce-slathered wings, topping-heavy pizzas, and a Garage burger: a two-patty cheeseburger topped with onion rings, ham, and barbecue sauce. The pub schedules karaoke every Thursday and hosts live country bands and bikini bull-riding competitions on Coyote Ugly Country Night every Friday. Patrons can compete against each other by playing pool, racking up high scores on arcade games, or seeing who’s able to lift an arcade game straight over their head.
The independently-owned Mayday offers a variety of unique burgers, made from turkey, black bean, or beef patties with toppings such as Korea-style kimchi and cilantro chili sauce. Patrons pair the burgers with oven-baked fries and draft beer at this hub of the Northside neighborhood, along with trivia, comedy, and live rock and roll, and a two-tiered patio provides a fun atmosphere for the whole family.
The boldness of burgers isn't all Mayday specializes in, however. The subtle flavors of fine whiskey and charcuterie reward more ambitious palates, while a full array of hotdogs?served on homemade pretzel buns?add an upscale spin to comfort food. To top it off, customers can add a fried egg to anything on the menu, just like when we were kids, frying eggs on the sidewalk to top off our summer ice cream cones.
Among the city's best bars and nightclubs according to CityBeat's Best of Cincinnati poll, The Comet draws crowds with live music, a menu of classic Mexican favorites, and a massive selection of suds. Start a salutatory mouth soiree with a plate of nachos crowned by cheese, sour cream, black beans, and jalapeños ($7.50), or begin with a salsa sampler featuring a quartet of house-made salsas, one for each of your taste buds ($5). Like savory, soft piñatas, chicken, beef, or tofu burritos come stuffed with black and/or pinto beans, rice, cheese, and salsa ($6), and chile con queso gives tortilla chips a refreshing dairy bath in white-cheese dip ($4). A Sunday brunch starting at 11 a.m. helps give the weekend a flavorful hybrid-meal finish.
A Cincinnati-staple since the early 70's, Uncle Woody's Pub has built a dedicated crew of regulars with its old fashioned bar feel, classic American pub fare, and entertainment-focused atmosphere. The menu tempts guests with half-pound specialty burgers like the BBQ Bearcat or the Ragin' Cajun and guilty-pleasure appetizers such as loaded fries with cheese and bacon, and the full bar boasts daily and weekly specials. Seven flat-screen TVs and a 92-inch projection screen thrill patrons with basketball and football games, and darts and karaoke keep patrons busy on various nights throughout the week while their outside deck accommodates fair-weather revelry.
Bars are great spots for declaring preemptive thumb war on unsuspecting foes, so you’ll need to stockpile rations for a lengthy campaign. Sidebar’s menu offers plenty of options, including appetizers such as onion straws ($5.95), quesadilla rolls ($5.95), Juan Parnello’s queso dip ($5.95), and Sidebar wings (6 for $4.95, 12 for $8.95). Dig your mouth-shovels into a tasty burger that’s hand-pattied daily with 80/20 Black Angus beef. Burger options include the Soprano (pizza sauce, onion, and two cheese sticks, $7.50), the Devil’s Advocate (spicy ranch sauce, sliced jalapeno, and provolone, $7.25), and the Double Jeopardy (two patties with your choice of cheese, $8.50). Sandwiches such as the Roebling Reuben ($7.95) are also available, as well as 12” pizzas such as buffalo chicken ($9.95) and The Big Bill with onions, peppers, mushrooms, pepperoni, Italian sausage, and double cheese ($12.95).