More Hidden Cincinnati

We found more secret gems than we could fit into the print edition!

Thrift Stores
No one wants to give away her favorite thrift spots, but some secrets are meant to be shared. Take the 4th Street Boutique, for instance. This resale shop with locations downtown and in College Hill benefits Dress for Success Cincinnati. We’re especially partial to the downtown location’s Bargain Basement, which we’ve hit with great success (Ellen Tracy pencil skirt, BB Dakota blazer) on half-off day. The Seven Hills School Resale Shop is stocked with donations from Seven Hills families, and we’ve found wonderful vintage treasures there, including beaded cardigans from the 1950s. Another vintage hotspot, Casablanca Vintage, has blossomed under new owners Manny Hernandez, Teddy Aitkens, and Sky White. So get your shop on. 135 W. Fourth St., downtown (513) 651-3372, 4thstreetboutique.com; 5400 Red Bank Rd., Madisonville, (513) 271-7977, 7hills.org/podium/default.aspx?t=46052; 3994 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, (513) 541-6999, casablancavintage.com

Bellevue Hill Park
If you went solely by the Cincinnati Parks website, you would think Bellevue Hill Park begins and ends with a view, a “whimsical” pavilion, and a few oddly shaped pergolas. Those pergolas are actually a very large—and trippy—example of Cincinnati’s mid-century design cache. The canopies look poised for a Martian landing and stand attached to another mid-century gem, the Carl Freund–designed shelter, built in 1955 with that era’s trademark cantilevers and free form stone. The whole site, carefully carved out of a hillside, commands a mighty view of downtown’s north face. 2191 Ohio Ave., Clifton, cincyparks.com

Wardway Fuels
On July 14, Wardway and La Rosa’s will co-sponsor Cincinnati’s inaugural Porkopolis Egg Fest at Germania Park in Fairfield, where $15 gets you a taste of everything grilled, smoked, and baked in dozens of Big Green Eggs. Eggs used at Egg Fest will be available for purchase at a discount. Check the website for details. 4555 Bridgetown Rd., Bridgetown, (513) 574-0061, wardway.com

Bacon Happy Hour at Virgils Café
There are happy hours, and there are themed happy hours. Virgils Café transcends limits with its Bacon Happy Hour. Each Thursday brings a new bacon-infused dish, from honey chipotle bacon steak to a pulled pork and melon collard green wrapped in, you guessed it, bacon. It’s the cheapest way to enjoy one of the city’s best happy hours. Our suggestion: order the special, a plate of their sweet potato fries, and whatever Belgian beer they have on tap. But show up early, the bar seats five, and you’re going to want a front-row seat. Thursdays, 4–6 p.m., Virgil’s Café, 710 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue, (859) 491-3287, virgilscafe.com

Plum Court Wine Room
File this under accidental barkeep: Couple lives next door to a bar (the Pipeline). Bar closes. Couple care so much for the building, they buy it lock, stock, and aged oak barrel. But instead of an I-love-the-nightlife redux, the couple—Tom and Dollie Moore—give the interior a gentle facelift and invite people in for Friday night wine tastings and handmade appetizers for two-and-a-half hours, one night a week. With minimal signage (if you drive faster than 15 mph past the corner of Plum and Court you’ll miss the lone sign on the red door). 241 W. Court St., downtown, (513) 319-5607, plum-court.com

Lloyd Library
The modern building perched at the edge of downtown is easy to miss. And it doesn’t exactly invite popping in (you have to press a buzzer). Plus, it seems like egghead-only territory, since the holdings emphasize natural history, botanical, medical, and pharmaceutical books. But don’t be intimidated: there are heaps of fascinating volumes covering everything from alchemy to planting zones. And the staff—who will be pleased to see you—mount terrific exhibits to cajole the general public. Check out “Peppers in Image and Word,” running through mid-April. 917 Plum St., downtown, (513) 721-3707, lloydlibrary.org

Whispering Fountains
If you and a friend stand at the drinking fountains on opposite ends of the Union Terminal rotunda, it is possible to have a conversation from 180 feet apart by speaking into the wall. The acoustics of the dome are such that your voices will bounce up into the arch and then back down on the other side. The Museum Center calls this the Whispering Fountains, but it works best if you speak loudly. Background noise can be a problem, so try to avoid weekend mornings when preschoolers are out in force. And ignore any odd looks from ignorant folks who think you’re talking to the water fountain. 1301 Western Ave., West End, (513) 287-7000, cincymuseum.org

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