Old Blue Eyes casts his piercing gaze across the red-walled dining room as the opening strains of “Strangers in the Night” drift into the ears of diners seated at tables dressed in white linens. The aura of a refined 1960s club permeates every nook and cranny of Trattoria Roma, thanks in part to the assortment of framed Sinatra records and photos displayed behind the bar and the ever-present Rat Pack tunes playing throughout the day. Since its opening 22 years ago, the eatery's owners have fostered a cozy-yet-refined atmosphere bolstered by authentic Roman cuisine forged from local ingredients. This tradition continued eight years ago when veteran employee Shawn Mason took over the restaurant’s reigns from the original owners. Though he brought his own brand of hospitality to the mix, he made sure to uphold the kitchen’s tradition of high culinary standards.
As Shawn cheerfully chats with regulars scattered throughout the dining room and at the bar, his partner, chef Matthew Prokopchak, can be found architecting Italian eats with his crew in the kitchen. Having grown up learning the conventions of Italian cooking from his mother and aunts, chef Matthew integrates some of his family’s recipes into the menu, imbuing his dishes with a sense of history and tradition. He assembles his arsenal of fresh produce –from lush tomatoes to fragrant basil– from local farms. While the menu remains largely unchanged throughout the year, each night the friendly service staff sidles up to tables to detail the day's seasonal specials via verbal recitations or interpretive dances.
Amid the dining room’s ruby walls, a series of Orfeo Tamburi lithographs depicting post-WWII Rome––reportedly the only complete Tamburi collection in the United States––hang in elegant frames. The décor works in concert with the savory wafts of garlic emanating from the bustling kitchen to evoke a vintage Italian atmosphere.
Rather than limit themselves to serving creative, Cleveland-inspired cuisine or to hosting late-night bowlers sipping from frothy pint glasses, the founders of 4th Street Bar & Grill – The Corner Alley decided to do both. Inside spacious, sleek environs, servers at the bowling alley’s 4th Street Bar & Grill dole out pierogis—dumplings stuffed with potato and smoked cheddar cheese—and oven-baked pizzas, such as the Alley Pie, topped with cheese and fresh basil. Local draft brews from Buckeye Brewing, Brew Kettle, and Hoppin’ Frog or one of more than 20 locally-inspired cocktails and martinis accompany meals and pin-pulverizing sessions at one of 16 lanes. Satellite-selected sounds pump through speakers, and patrons can control tunes from a special app on their phone or speak directly to Meatloaf through the jukebox.
Whether they’re there to bowl, eat, drink, or finally understand gravity, up to 600 people can gather inside the ample quarters. Groups of 4–45 revelers can populate the Mezzanine, a private party room hoisted atop an elevated platform and replete with several flat-screen TVs. Millionaire’s Row plays host to 100 guests, who can bowl on four private lanes, sip martinis at the Back Alley bar, or lay quietly atop the billiards table. And inside the 2,000-square-foot Spare Room, up to 90 friends can dine on a customizable menu as well as play billiards, air hockey, foosball, darts, and skeeball.
Founded in 1963 at a local YMCA, the Cincinnati Ballet grew into a major regional company by adhering to its mission to express the human experience through dance. Today, it continues upholding that vision by housing resident artists who entertain audiences with dance performances of both classic and original work. Beyond supporting local audiences and their right to clap, the Cincinnati Ballet also seeks to nurture artists through the Otto M. Budig Academy. There, a professional faculty trains aspiring performers at all skill levels. These training opportunities are supplemented by outreach programs such as CincyDance!, which provides free training and dance attire to children.
Like a camera obscura built around a dinner table, Home Slice Pizza stays forever focused on its cuisine. Within the brick-lined establishment’s kitchen, chefs toss and fire large and extra-large thin-crust pizzas topped with ingredients as classic as pepperoni and anchovies or as original as artichoke hearts, seasoned steak, and A1 sauce. Under this flavor ornamentation lies the pizzas’ true foundation: cheese. Blends of mozzarella, feta, ricotta, cheddar, parmesan, and romano provide a solid base for creative ingredient combinations and add a gooey warmth to every bite. Not content to be confined to pizzas alone, cheese also douses orders of pan-baked cheese bread and supports focaccia subs flecked with herbs and stuffed with hot ham, turkey, bacon, and veggies.
The chefs at Tres Potrillos are perfectly in tune with the dozens of Mexican dishes that have been enjoyed for generations. They pile pork, shrimp, and chorizo into big and extrabig burritos, top enchiladas with fresh green tomatillo sauce, and craft specialty tacos with wheat tortillas and avocado-cilantro sauce made in-house. If you're in the mood for steak, they've got it cooked with Jalisco-style sauce, grilled up with chicken, or buried in shrimp and melted cheese. To wash down feasts and to help you break the ice with all those balloon animals that show up for Kids Night Thursdays, the bartenders hand out daiquiris, sangria, margaritas, and Coronas.
The DVIDA-certified instructors at Always Ballroom Dance Studio believe that dance can benefit anyone, and uphold a policy of total acceptance across experience levels. On the glossy scape of blond hardwood floors, they monitor shimmies in both private and group lessons, prepping couples for their wedding-dance debut or showcasing a stock of nightclub moves. Pupils needn't reserve a spot or have a partner to attend most group sessions—the studio provides everything down to airsickness bags for soaring spins, and accommodates diverse tastes with more than 20 dance styles on its syllabus. Special events such as lock-ins and Salsa Saturdays top off the swinging schedule.