Where to Go in the River Cities

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Take a drive along the riverside to visit the locals’ favorite spots in Bellevue, Dayton, and Ludlow.

 

Photograph by Emma Theis

Unataza
The cozy coffee shop has moved to a space across the street to pour fresh brews sourced from founder Alejandra Flores’s home country of Honduras and to serve its tasty taquitos and wraps.

603 Sixth Ave., Dayton, (859) 261-8292, unatazacoffee.square.site

Galactic Fried Chicken
Let the uniquely crispy chicken, sweetly spicy housemade Galactic Sauce, and sinfully delicious deviled eggs tempt your tastebuds at this quick option for out-of-this-world Southern cooking.

624 Sixth St., Dayton, (859) 287-7049, galacticfriedchicken.com

Photograph courtesy Scott Bessler

The Lodge KY
Music lives in NKY. This recording and art studio inside a 9,000-square-foot former Masonic temple can be rented out to lay down tracks—Jack White’s My Sonic Temple bench and amplifier live here—plus photography, music video shoots, and special events.

231 Sixth Ave., Dayton, (513) 476-9115, thelodgeky.com

Bircus Brewing Co.
Bircus (appropriately, the Flemish pronunciation is beer-cus) and the historic Ludlow Theatre offer aptly named pints like The Breaded Lady kölsch and Showman IPA, woodfired pizza, and performances by Circus Mojo for a unique spin on dinner and a show.

322 Elm St., Ludlow, (859) 740-3118, bircus.com

The Elusive Cow
Classic dishes are made even better by using locally sourced, high-quality, organic, natural ingredients. This bovine café will give you something to moo about.

519 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue, (859) 291-0269, theelusivecow.com

Yuca
Cedar’s newest concept (outside of Covington) specializes in Latin-inspired brunch favorites. We’re talking scratch-made tacos, Latin poutine, and a Tex-Mex burger to soak up all those mimosas and Bengals-themed margs. To put it simply, Es muy buena comida.

700 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue, (859) 360-0110, yucabycedar.com

Photograph by Emma Theis

Taqueria Domingo
An unassuming food trailer, which at press time was parked on Ludlow’s main drag, serves some of the best Tex-Mex fare around. Grab a spot at a picnic table and enjoy the rotating menu that’s recently featured crispy nachos, cheesy quesabirria, and birria tacos.

333 Elm St., Ludlow, (859) 638-6130

Tuba Baking Co.
Scratch-made, creative spätzle dishes and artisanal pretzels fill the menu at this slice of Germany—and you’ll find plenty of namesake tubas inside the new gaststätte. No offense to Hofbräuhaus, but the local German cuisine scene has some stiff competition in Dayton.

517 Sixth Ave., Dayton, (859) 835-2171, instagram.com/tubabakingco

Three Spirits Tavern
Located inside a historic Fairfield Avenue home, the tavern boasts its fair share of spirits—the kind that go in your glass and others that go bump in the night. If you’re lucky, owner Charlie Zimmerman or Northern Kentucky Cocktail Classic winner Ray Perryman can mix you something from the extensive cocktail menu (our secret menu go-to is the New York Sour).

209 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue, (859) 261-2611, threespiritstavern.com

The Party Source
The largest employee-owned liquor store in America, this depot is a must-stop before any gathering for rare and crowd-pleasing liquor, beer, wine, cigars, decorations, glassware—or as they put it, “Everything but the guests.”

95 Riviera Dr., Bellevue, (859) 291-4007, thepartysource.com

The B-List Bar
Pull up a stool at Bellevue’s “world’s nicest dive bar” with a treasure trove of Kentucky gold: bourbon. There’s no better place to catch a game with some Weller (or a Miller High Life) in hand.

343 Division St., Bellevue, (859) 261-7033, facebook.com/TheBListBvue

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