Best of the City: City Life

→ Seasonal Public Art
Curb’d Parklets
Curb’d, a project to create five temporary micro-parks small enough to fit in a parking space, arrived around Covington in the spring. With names like Wish Igloo (a stylized seating space in front of Left Bank Coffeehouse) and Ride (stationary bikes in front of Inspirado restaurant and gallery), the five installations did what public art should: spark a little head scratching, some conversation, and a lot of engagement. Covington, curbd.org

The Boxing Ring parklet, on Pike Street, outside Franks Old Town Café and Cutman Barbershop
The Boxing Ring parklet, on Pike Street, outside Franks Old Town Café and Cutman Barbershop

Photograph by Alexandra Taylor


→ New Downtown Block
84.51°
Once upon a time, the large plot of land northwest of Fifth and Race was supposed to be our Nordstrom; when that upscale nameplate landed at Kenwood Towne Centre, it became a desolate parking lot. If you can barely remember those dark days, it’s only because the 84.51° (neé dunnhumby) development—with its resident restaurants: Mita’s, Maplewood Kitchen, and Americano Burger Bar—has so thoroughly rewritten the story of the block (and frankly, that section of downtown), placing its ghost-town vibe firmly in the happily forgotten past. Who knew that was a hidden perk of swiping that Kroger Plus Card… Downtown


→ Semi-Free Souvenirs
 Just call ’em Happy Meal toys 2.0.

Sugar N’ Spice: Rubber Duckies
The fluorescent Paddock Hills breakfast spot is lauded for its wispy thin pancakes and mondo omelettes, but it’s most famed for handing out little rubber duckies to every customer who walks through the door. The restaurant hands out about 1,000 a week, meaning no one leaves hungry—or empty handed. Paddock Hills, sugar-n-spice-restaurant.com

O’Bryon’s Bar And Grill: Shark Tank
Feel like a (college) kid again. The Shark Tank is 32 ounces of vodka, Sprite, and sour mix in a plastic cup with a grenadine-filled rubber shark that you get to mix in yourself. It won’t win any James Beard noms, but you can keep the shark. Or try tossing it onto the roof across the street. O’Bryonville, obryonsirishpub.com

Great American Ball Park: Helmet Nachos
No prizes for subtlety—it’s literally a full-sized helmet crammed with chips, salsa, jalapeños, and nacho cheese. It’s $16 but more than enough to share—not a bad deal in the world of ballpark prices. When you’re finished, you can clean out the helmet and wear it the rest of the game. You’ll look just like Joey Votto. Really. Downtown, reds.com


→ Music And A Movie
Cinema In The City At Seasongood Pavilion
As if fresh air and free flicks weren’t enough, this monthly outdoor movie night in Eden Park includes music. The “classic” films are family-friendly (last summer it was Little Shop of Horrors, Back to the Future, and Airborne), and the musicians who play are crowd-pleasers, too. Put it on your Cheap Date calendar for the summer of ’17. Mt. Adams, cincinnnatiparks.com/event

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Illustration by Chris Danger


→ Place To Self-Publish A Memoir
Cincinnati Public Library
Since firing up their Espresso Book Machine in January, the library has printed 850 books; in September alone they printed 131 books by 16 different authors. Whether your opus is an 800-page memoir or a coming-of-age graphic novel, the experts at the downtown branch’s MakerSpace can help you prepare your tome for the world—they can even help with cover design and assign it an ISBN number. Downtown, cincinnatilibrary.org


→ History Quest: Place To Trace Your Roots
Cincinnati’s local history geeks entered withdrawal in February when the Cincinnati History Library & Archives closed to the public for renovation of Union Terminal. Scattered around the city are some alternatives where you can unravel the past of your neighborhood, your house, or your family.

Genealogy & Local History Department, Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County
Grandma’s yearbook photo? Antique postcards? Decades of reports by city departments? A copy of almost every book written on any aspect of Cincinnati? It’s all here amid one of the nation’s largest and oldest genealogy and local history collections, augmented by accommodating staff and regular tours, lectures, podcasts, and classes. Downtown, cincinnatilibrary.org/main/genlocal.html

Archives & Rare Books Library, University of Cincinnati
The gems of UC’s collections are personal papers—Mayor Ted Berry; “We Shall Overcome” composer Louise Shropshire; city planner Ladislas Segoe—but the archives also hold materials on Southwest Ohio folklore, German-Americana, pre-1916 Hamilton County naturalization records, and the paperwork for bootlegger George Remus’s tax case. Clifton Heights, libraries.uc.edu/arb.html

Kentucky History & Genealogy Department, Kenton County Public Library
It may be across the river, but the collections here cover the whole of the tri-state. The Faces & Places photography collection, for example, emphasizes Northern Kentucky, but there are lots of historic images of Cincinnati as well. Of particular interest are the “Family Files,” containing materials collected on specific local clans. Independence, kentonlibrary.org/genealogy


→ Inventive Reuse Of Teen Magazines
Friendly Stop Bar & Grill
Hey ladies: Remember when your dad first noticed the Tiger Beat cutouts on your bedroom wall? Us too. Relive those heady days with a quick trip to Glendale’s Friendly Stop loo, the walls of which are decorated with framed shirtless fancy boy collages that would put the giggliest of pre-teens to shame. The mens’ room is similarly outfitted, but skews a little more PG-13. Glendale, friendlystop.com


→ Secret Rendezvous
Symphony Hotel Roof Deck
Tucked between two buildings, the Symphony Hotel’s rooftop deck is the perfect clandestine meeting place when you want to enjoy a private glass of wine or a cocktail en plein air. The space is also a sleek counterpoint to the more traditional decor inside: white walls, contemporary seating, mod fire pit, steel cables with climbing vines—plus ceiling fans, to keep your encounter from getting too hot. They have rooms for that. Over-the-Rhine, symphonyhotel.com


→ Reason To Make Noise In The Library
Steve Kemple’s Experimental Music
Get your John Cage on every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at the Main Library, where since 2012, music librarian Steve Kemple has hosted performances that fill the first floor with sound. All that noise stems from Kemple’s dedication to librarianship: “Libraries have the capacity to be places full of challenging ideas,” he says. “Someone can come in and not only check out the latest blockbuster book or best-seller movie, but also be exposed to ideas that rock their world.”
Downtown, cincinnatilibrary.org


→ Intel On Film Shoots
@FilmCincinnati On Twitter
Cincinnati’s nascent movie scene blew up in 2016 thanks to expanded tax credits. Want to fetch coffee for directors and producers? Be an extra? Offer up your OTR condo or stately Walnut Hills home for a location shoot? Find out where to catch premiere screenings of locally filmed movies? Stay camera ready by following @filmcincinnati (formerly the Cincinnati Film Commission) on Twitter. twitter.com/filmcincinnati


→ Local Album
Leggy, By Leggy
Cincinnati’s self-described “lush punk” trio kicks open the door of their eponymous debut LP with an unrelenting bass line on “Kick the Habit,” and things don’t slow down from there. The rest of the album, which the band released this past spring, has a remarkably cohesive sound despite pulling tracks from earlier EPs. Paired with Kerstin Bladh on bass and Christopher Campbell on drums, guitarist and singer Véronique Allaer’s dreampop vocals and thrashing power chords make for an infectious fem-Strokes vibe.


Souped-Up Car Meetup

Fuel Coffee Cincinnati Coffee and Cars

Get doubly revved every Saturday morning. Inspired by the national trend for once-a-month “cars and coffee” get-togethers, Fuel upped the stakes and began this popular weekly meetup. You pop the hood, they grind the beans. A teacup-sized east side caffeine depot, Fuel skews toward the Concours d’Elegance crowd—its taste in cars is proudly Eurocentric—but any set of wheels is welcome. East End, stopforfuel.wordpress.com

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Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

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Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

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Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

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Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

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