We’ve been doing a version of Best of the City at Cincinnati Magazine since 1977, when it was launched to help celebrate our 10th anniversary. Want to recall what a different world we lived in back then? The cover that year featured a smiling image of “Jerry,” who was dubbed the Best Newspaper Hawker for working the corner of Fourth and Vine streets downtown. You might ask what a newspaper hawker was. Or a newspaper.
Other notable “bests” from 1977: Best Cafeteria was The Wheel downtown; Best Bagels was Buchheim Bakery in Golf Manor; Best Place to Buy High-Fashion Shoes was Lou Goland’s in Roselawn. A few recommendations have aged better: Best Chocolate Chip Ice Cream was Graeter’s; Best Chinese Restaurant was China Gourmet in Hyde Park; Best Place to Nurse a Cup of Coffee Before Midnight was Sugar ‘n Spice in Bond Hill.
I pulled a handful of other “Best of” from our archives for a few laughs. Maybe they’ll bring a smile to your face, too. Was 1982 really this weird? Best Cheater’s Bar was Oodles downtown (“You’ll find more wedding rings in pockets than on fingers”); Best Nooner was the Drake Motel in Sycamore Township (“If you’re out in the suburbs and it’s noon and for some reason you need a motel room on a short-term basis”); and Best Place to Meet Singles was the grocery store (“Any grocery store”).
The new century dawned with these nightlife standouts, as highlighted in the 2000 issue: Best Place to Feel Sophisticated was The Spy Club downtown; Best Comeback Kid was Caddy’s on Second Street downtown; and a “Classic Cincinnati” award went to The Celestial in Mt. Adams. And just five years ago, in my first Best of the City issue as editor, we got all excited about Court Street Lobster Bar downtown (Best Quick Trip to Maine); Myrtle’s Punch House in Walnut Hills (Best Underground Comedy Scene); and a strange new sport called pickleball (Best New Racquet).
How many of this year’s awards will stand the test of time or be irrelevant by 2027? Take a look, and let us know.