Nestled in a perfect corner of Pendleton, Saeso is the brainchild of Michael Guilfoil and Christy Wulfson of design team Guilfoil & Wulfson. The bar takes its name from the rebellious son of Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, the Roman ruler and namesake of the city of Cincinnati. While the name was originally spelled “Caeso,” the team decided to take its own twist on the spelling and pronunciation (see-so). “We love the name because everyone knows Lucius Cincinnatus but few know Caeso,” Guilfoil says. “The origin story of the Cincinnati city name ties our location in Ohio directly to Rome, one of our favorite cities and a major inspiration for the bar, and of course the idea of rebellion or troublemaking.”
Inspired by an Italian holiday, the decor is simple and effortless, casual yet luxurious. The first thing you’ll notice is the exposed brick, various live plants, and comfortable lighting (sconces on the wall, little candles on the bar and at each table). It feels as though you’ve just stepped into a tiny café while wandering down an alley after sightseeing in Paris or Rome.
This intimate charm makes Saeso the perfect place for enjoying cocktails during a special rendezvous with your significant other, a day date with friends, or some good old fashioned one-on-one time with yourself.
Speaking of cocktails, while Saeso provides a well-curated selection of beer and wine, the small but mighty cocktail list is a point of pride. Don’t sleep on the Condesa, a smoky mix of mezcal and tequila finished with spicy honey. And to find out what vacation in a glass tastes like, try the Spa Water Spritz, a refreshing gin and cucumber aperitif. Finally, you can’t miss the Pepperotini, a unique take on a martini with vodka, vermouth, and, you guessed it, pepperoncini rind and juice. Borrowing inspiration from across the globe, the perfectly balanced cocktails showcase flavor and fresh ingredients. At Saeso, you’ll discover your new favorite cocktail, and your new favorite place to enjoy it, too.
Saeso, 1208 Sycamore St., Pendleton
BE THEIR GUEST The first drink at Saeso is free for guests of Guilfoil & Wulfson’s Carriage House Airbnb next door, where drinks can also be delivered.
See inside Saeso on our TikTok @cincinnatimagazine.