Creating a custom-made wine is a lot more rewarding than producing questionable homemade toothpaste. At Tino Vino Vintners, the 6- to 10-week process begins with you “researching” (tasting) wine varietals to determine what you want yours to taste like. Five tastings will introduce your palate to its options in a round of speed dating for the taste buds. Next, the desired grapes are crushed, pressed, concentrated, and mixed with reverse-osmosis-filtered water, yeast, and other ingredients under the supervision of a winemaker. The winemaker will watch over your mixture’s progress during its two to three weeks of fermentation before stabilizing the wine with an optional clarifying agent and racking (removing sediment). Once your wine has been bottled, you may either pop it open and have a party or stash it away to let it age as gracefully as Burton Gilliam.
From behind a pair of baby grand pianos, two pianists take audience requests each Friday and Saturday night at The Penguin Dueling Piano Bar, urging the crowd to sing along in a display of musical showmanship. The ivory ticklers hail from all over the country and belt out popular tunes from the past 50 years that they’ve memorized by heart or tattooed on the inside of their eyelids. Onlookers seated at tables around the stage or nestled into plush couches in the lounge sip cocktails, quaff brews, and dive into salty snacks. Although the show runs on Fridays and Saturdays, drinks specials pop up each night and salsa-night Wednesdays promise copious amounts of hip shaking.
The culinary wizards at Mount Adams Pavilion conjure up hearty platters of pub grub in an eatery flanked by four patio decks with views of the Cincinnati skyline. Oil rusty jaw hinges with appetizers such as potato skins ($8.95), which bundle up melted cheddar cheese and bacon in a spud-skin sleeping bag. Sandwiches, such as the Aloha burger ($8.95) with its sweet and savory duo of pineapple and barbecue sauce, offer fistfuls of hunger-pang annexation, and the pulled-pork barbecue sandwich ($7.95) and the philly steak ($7.95) employ their hearty helpings of protein to silence boisterous stomachs before they blurt out Social Security numbers.
Bartini's libation luminaries concoct 20 types of flavorful martinis, which beckon revelers from a mouthwatering menu stocked with tasty tapas and gourmet flatbreads. Savor the tropical Cuban flavors and cool mint aromatics of the mojito martini ($12), or roust up recollections of campfires past by savoring the s'mores martini, garnished with a graham-cracker rim and a skewer of marshmallows ($12). The classic cosmopolitan pleases palates with a time-honored blend of Grey Goose, Cointreau, fresh lime, and cranberry ($12), making sippers feel more elegant than a night on the town with Frank Sinatra and his personal balloon artist. In between sipping potables and jiving to hip tunes, customers quell hunger pangs with flavorful eats such as the Kobe beef bites ($11).