Best of the City: Service


Wedding Photographer: Jonathan Gibson Photography
Jonathan Gibson’s talent goes well beyond taking beautiful photographs. He’s a painter and designer (a graduate of the Pratt Art Institute in New York), and an art teacher at Xavier. And now he’s become one of the city’s most in-demand wedding photogs, because of his ability to capture killer images with an artistic edge that aren’t too edgy for the wedding aesthetic. His photographs still feel timeless, shots couples will love for the long haul. Also, we must add, Jonathan is a really, really nice guy—what every bride wants in a vendor. (513) 504-3193,

Photograph by Jonathan Gibson

Photograph by Jonathan Gibson

Photograph by Jonathan Gibson

Photograph by Jonathan Gibson

Sports Bra Fitting: Oakley’s Fleet Feet
Getting fitted for a sports bra doesn’t have to be awkward. At Fleet Feet it’s simple, quick, and educational. A friendly female employee measures your band and cup sizes in a private back room. She’ll even help you pick the bra best suited for your exercise preferences, and there’s plenty of brands to choose from, including Brooks, Lululemon, New Balance, and Enell. 3235 Madison Rd., Oakley, (513) 321-7555,

Downtown Alterations: Kim Dao’s Alterations
Kim Dao’s 30-plus years of tailoring experience shows. She and her son work side-by-side tailoring men’s and women’s clothes in her nine-year-old Court Street storefront. They work fast and can alter, hem, stich, or fix suits, wedding dresses, tuxes, coats, and jeans. Kim will remember you, too, even if it’s been months since your last alteration.
21 E. Court St., Downtown, (513) 417-9203,

DIY Flower Bouquet: The Marmalade Lily
The Marmalade Lily’s U-Cut Flower event isn’t a typical bouquet bar with precut stems (although they have that, too). It’s better. On Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings June through September, friendly flower experts greet you with a wicker trug basket, garden clippers, and a tour of the serene 10-acre flower farm with 50-plus plant varieties. Cut your own stems, which range from 50 cents to $4, and they’ll wrap your bouquet to go, or you can BYOV (bring your own vase). It’s absolutely magical either way. 9850 Schlottman Rd., Loveland, (513) 604-6561,

Kid Party Entertainment: Party Princess Productions
Characters are the new party ponies. When you need to throw a dimed-out kid’s birthday party, you call in the princesses. These ladies will make a grand entrance, tell some stories, lead a sing-a-long, conduct “princess training,” and do face-painting—glitter face-painting. And of course pose for photos. Your baby Belle will never forget it. And despite the name, the service also sends superheroes. Because one kid’s Cinderella is another kid’s Wonder Woman.

New Development: Handicap Accessible Spots in OTR
A downside of restoring historic structures is the cost of and restrictions on upgrading narrow doorways and bulky front steps at Over-the-Rhine storefronts. Times change, fortunately, and handicap accessibility has figured prominently in high-profile OTR projects like Music Hall, Ensemble Theatre, Cincinnati Shakespeare, and 15th and Vine as well as smaller rehabs on Main Street (LouVino, Aladdin’s, Allez Bakery) and Race Street (Simply Rolled).

Co-Working Spot: Cocoon Coffee
Cocoon Coffee is quiet and has high speed wifi, but we like it best for co-working because it’s set up just like an open office, complete with conference table, actual desks (with desk lamps!), outlets galore, and comfy seating areas with overstuffed couches and rolling chairs. An extra bonus is the full service, on-site coffee shop that serves Portland, Oregon’s Stumptown Coffee and local homemade goodies (including some mighty tasty paleo-friendly doughnuts). 6209 Snider Rd., Suite A, Mason, (513) 466-8346,

Retro/Hipster Barbershop: Spanky & Co. Barbershop
If you’re looking for the classic retro barbershop with a hip, modern feel, this is your place. Make an appointment online or walk in (be warned: chairs tend to fill up quickly) and don’t forget your cash. Opt for a haircut for $25, beard or mustache trim for $15, or both for $35, and prepare for one of the best cuts of your life. The staff here is highly skilled and will work with you as your haircut goes on to ensure you’re happy with your new style. 439 W. 12th St., Newport, (859) 815-8592,

Indian Wedding Vendor: Glendale Florist
Six years ago, longtime florist Beth Lauter stepped in at the last minute to design the wedding flowers for an Indian couple. That happy accident, her beautiful work, and plenty of word of mouth, and now she’s the go-to for local Indian brides. She credits working closely with families to learn religious and cultural traditions—the number of parties and preferred blooms and colors. 1133 Congress Ave., Glendale, (513) 771-7114,

Babysitting App: SaferSit
It’s like Uber, only for babysitting, and it’s a game changer for Cincinnati parents. An idea born from a babysitting club Francie Ruppert formed while in high school at St. Ursula Academy, this on-demand platform—the mobile app launched in October—lets moms and dads request a sitter on short notice. Ruppert, now a student at UC, teamed up with local mom Laura Borsky in 2016 to start the service, which now has 703 sitters around the region. The best part: SaferSit background checks both sitters and parents so everyone feels comfortable.

Creative Meetups: Creative Mornings
Looking to meet more creative-minded people? Try Creative Mornings—a free breakfast-and-lecture event that meets one Friday a month. This group has nearly 200 affiliates worldwide; in Cincinnati, speakers have ranged from local writers, artists, musicians, and entrepreneurs to an Imam, an astronomer, a music producer, and a baker. Follow them on social media or sign up for their newsletter online to stay in the loop.

Food Delivery System: Sartre Carte at Rhinegeist
When you’re throwing back some brews at Rhinegeist and you get hungry, Sartre Carte can feed you—and the delivery is a trip. Your ordershoots through clear, football-sized pneumatic tubes from the Sartre kitchen, along the ceiling into the taproom. The à la carte menu (burgers are around $10) also offers waffle fries and Hen of the Woods chips, arriving via this nifty mode of transport, which is actually fun to watch. 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 381-1367,; (513) 579-1910,

Interactive Theater Experience: Mariemont Theatre’s Sing-Along Movies
During special screenings, singing, cheering, clapping, and even heckling is encouraged, not prohibited at Mariemont Theatre. The Oct. 14 Sound of Music sing-along showing was especially heartwarming: Moviegoers hissed at Baroness Schraeder, applauded Maria and Captain von Trapp’s affection, and, of course, sang every line to “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “My Favorite Things,” and “Edelweiss.” It’s a judgment-free zone, too. So go ahead, belt the lyrics. 6906 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, (513) 272-0222,

Party Time!: Top spots to celebrate, from kid-approved to adults-only.

Cincinnati Zoo
Parties for the kids include animal encounters, face painting, and scavenger hunts. Or, if you’re going big (like 1,000 guests), rent the full park after hours for the Ultimate Adventure, with catering, musicians and magicians, and up-close animal interactions. 3400 Vine St. Avondale, (513) 281-4700,

UC Campus Recreation Center
Ignite kids’ adventurous spirit on the climbing wall, where they can scale up to 40 feet. Then suit up for the pool (there’s a lazy river) or hit the gym for hoops and friendly cornhole competitions. 2820 Bearcat Way, Clifton Heights, (513) 556-0604,

Fifty West Brewing Company
Parents are all about kids’ birthday parties (theirs too) at the brewery, because beer tickets for the big people and plenty of room for everyone to play. At Fifty West there’s sand volleyball—or, to tiny guests, the most amazing sandbox ever. 7668 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, (513) 834-8789,

Kenwood Theatre
The Incredibles for the kids. The Godfather for the grown-ups. Book an entire theater, invite your favorite people, bring in the popcorn (or buy it from concessions), and get comfy for the show of your choice. Also offered at the Esquire and Mariemont Theatres. 7815 Kenwood Rd., Kenwood, (513) 984-0302,

Go Bananas Comedy Club
Catch a national act or well-known regional comic—or get a group together for Pro-Am night. Throw back buckets of beer, always six for the price of five. 8410 Market Place Ln., Montgomery, (513) 984-9288,

It’s like Dave & Buster’s, only for adults. Tee it up all year round, day or night, in covered bays with balls that measure accuracy and distance, and play golf games like TopScramble, Quick 9, and TopDrive. 9568 Water Front Dr., West Chester, (513) 342-6249,

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