Happy Hour in Cincinnati
1. Arnold's Bar and Grill
Built in 1861, Arnold's is the oldest bar in town. Tall wooden booths and walls jammed with photographs and an odd assortment of memorabilia give it an unmistakable 1940s feel. You can even dine next to the bathtub that remains from when the owners lived above the saloon. The most sought-after spot is out back where a hidden courtyard offers an urban oasis. Tuesday through Saturday, live music from an eclectic variety of genres is added to the mix.
Due to its popularity, a wide group of individuals end up at Arnold's daily. Politicians and local celebrities can be seen mingling with the regulars. The happy hour menu offers $2 off appetizers including chicken wings, fried green tomatoes and steamed mussels. Happy hour specials on drinks are 50 cents off all drafts and domestic bottles, $4 off all pitchers, $4 for a glass of house wine, and $7 for a half carafe of house wine.
Arnold's Bar and Grill, 210 E 8th Street, Cincinnati; 513-421-6234. Happy hour: Mon-Fri 3PM-7PM.
2. Blackfinn American Saloon
A hit with the 30-something crowd, Blackfinn offers a pleasant comfy feel with a TV at each booth and several in the bar. Watching the wide array of televised sporting events is bound to raise the energy level of the crowd, providing a tailgating atmosphere in the bar.
This Cincinnati happy hour menu is very reasonable at $3.95 for bar food, which includes sliders and spinach dip, and the ever-popular flatbread pizza is only $6 during happy hour. Better yet, show up on a Tuesday and enjoy 10-cent tacos. Bar prices are also reasonable, with special prices on drafts, house wines, house martinis and call liquors.
Blackfinn American Saloon, 19 E 7th Street Cincinnati; 513-721-3466. Happy hour: Mon-Fri 4PM-8PM.
3. McCormick & Schmick's Fresh Seafood Restaurant
This restaurant's happy hour bar menu offers 15 items to choose from, ranging in price from $1.95 to $4.95. Steamed mussels and the famous $2.95 half-pound cheeseburger with fries are just two of the choices. Happy hour specials for drinks include the customary beer and wine, but the real treat is the reduced price ($5.95) on hand-shaken cocktails made with freshly squeezed juices.
The location is perfect, directly across from Fountain Square, two stories above street level. The glass wall in front makes it great for people watching. Sit back and take in the sights while sipping on Jeremiah Peach Tea Lemonade, made with peach tea vodka and freshly squeezed lemonade. McCormick's offers happy hour twice a day.
McCormick & Schmick's Fresh Seafood Restaurant, 21 E 5th Street, Cincinnati; 513-721-9339. Happy hour: Mon-Fri 4PM-6:30PM; Mon-Thu 9:30PM-11PM.
4. Palomino Restaurant and Bar
Palomino is ranked the number one Cincinnati happy hour restaurant and for a good reason. Located on Fountain Square, Palomino has an elegant and chic ambience with an exceptional European-influenced American menu. The bar area has a relaxed and upbeat vibe. Weather permitting, your time can also be spent on the outdoor patio. The drink and food prices are the reason Palomino's deserves the number one spot in Cincinnati.
Happy hour specials are served all day, every day in the bar. The standard selection of wines and draft beers are available for $4 and the cocktails, including the tasty pomegranate margarita, candied apple drop, and cranberry mojito are priced at only $5. All pizzas, which are $12 in the restaurant, can be had for only $6 in the bar. These are not your standard pizzas. They are baked in a brick oven and boast toppings of prosciutto and roma tomatoes, incredible pepperoni, sausage and roasted mushrooms.
If pizza is not what you are craving, there are other happy hour menu items with all appetizers half-price ($4.50-7.50). The choice is unbelievable: taleggio and cambozola fondue, pistachio encrusted brie, calamari fritto, brick oven roasted clams, crab and artichoke dip, brick oven roasted mussels and grilled wild mushroom salad.
Palomino Restaurant and Bar, 505 Vine Street, Cincinnati; 513-381-1300. Happy hour: all day, every day in bar. Bar hours: Mon-Thu 11AM-11PM, Fri & Sat 11AM-midnight, Sun 3PM-11PM.
5. Neons Unplugged
Neons can boast that it offers what other Cincinnati happy hour restaurants don't: a dog friendly courtyard. The patio is the place to be, as it offers multiple tables, a grill, a second bar and full bocce court. The atmosphere is very casual and, between the outdoor grilling, slightly competitive bocce games and the dogs, it feels like a neighborhood get-together.
Chef "Crock of Love" prepares free happy hour meals that have included chicken-cheddar barbecue, mac and cheese, ox tail and barley soup and chicken lasagna. The homemade peach sangria is always a hit. For those wanting something a bit different, the apple-cherry cinnamon-infused Woodford is a real treat and comes either straight or in a brandy snifter over ice cream and topped with nutmeg. Every night, patrons can enjoy $3 SoCo lime shots and $1 off other drinks.
Neons Unplugged, 208 East 12th Street, Cincinnati; 513-827-9361. Happy hour: Mon-Fri 4PM-8PM.