Best of the City 2019 Winners: City Life


From our favorite local athlete to the coolest annual pop-up tattoo sale, here are the best city life items and experiences the Queen City has to offer right now.

Photograph by Dustin Sparks

Local Athlete Hero: Rose Lavelle
It’s hard not to get excited about the 24-year-old Mt. Notre Dame graduate who snaked the ball past two Netherlands defenders to score a goal in the 69th minute of the Women’s World Cup finals, sealing the 2–0 victory for the U.S. In short, Rose Lavelle’s ball handling as a midfielder makes other players look stiff. And after earning the Bronze Ball at the FIFA Women’s World Cup awards, marking her as the third best female soccer player in the tournament, there’s no telling what heights she might reach. Is it too soon to rename Pete Rose Way?

Mascot We Love: Rosie Red
When the Reds decided to add a Rosie Red character to their mascot roster 11 years ago, Amy Burgess was ready to step into the role—literally. The actress and baseball fan had subbed for Mr. Redlegs and Gapper in previous seasons, but she was encouraged to create a new persona to connect with fans, especially women and girls. Burgess has become a hugely popular figure at Reds games and events. “I like bringing some femininity to a predominantly male sport,” she says.

Love/Hate Relationship: Electric Scooters
For almost 18 months now, adventurous Cincinnatians have hopped on Bird and Lime e-scooters to whizz down sidewalks (not OK!), cross traffic against the lights (another no-no), cross the river (a little scary), and creep slowly up city hills (gravity wins again). The rest of us have grudgingly accepted the invasion, without resorting to tossing scooters in the river or setting them on fire, as was done in other cities. Can we all get along and share the roads, at least until the next tech breakthrough wreaks havoc?

Illustration by Chris Danger

Festival Reincarnation:
Cincinnati Garlic Festival

Jim Tarbell has had a few good ideas. The present owners of Arnold’s Bar and Grill know this. They bought the joint from him in 1998, the same year he hosted the inaugural Cincinnati Garlic Festival. Owners Ronda and Chris Breeden got Mr. Cincinnati’s approval and busted the bulbs back out. Pairing with eight local businesses, they created a two-night extravaganza (May 31 and June 1) featuring a smorgasbord of one-off garlic-flavored concoctions: beers by 50 West, Listermann, and Rhinegeist; gelato by Madisono’s; soup by La Soupe; bread by Sixteen Bricks; and sausage by Avril-Bleh. Breath mint, anyone?
210 E. Eighth St., downtown, (513) 421-6234

Museum Move: The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center
They say the third time’s the charm. And that seems to be the case for the Holocaust & Humanity Center, which now tells the powerful story of the region’s Holocaust survivors at its new home in Union Terminal—the very site where many Holocaust survivors arrived in Cincinnati to start anew. The museum moved to its new home in January after opening at the Cincinnati Hebrew Union College in 2000 and a move to the Rockwern Academy in Kenwood in 2009.
1301 Western Ave., West End, (513) 487-3055

Nonprofit Arts Space: Wave Pool Gallery
Camp Washington is the quirky residential and industrial neighborhood tucked between Spring Grove Avenue and I-75 that’s finally known for more than its chili parlor, thanks to artists repurposing old buildings into maker spaces and showplaces like the Swing House. Wave Pool, located in an old firehouse, functions as its community center, showing work by local artists, hosting woodworking and pottery classes, and teaching immigrants new job skills at its Welcome Project space across the street.
2940 Colerain Ave., Camp Washington, (513) 600-6117

New Party Venue: The View
Funky’s Catering took The Celestial Steakhouse, scrapped everything but the crystal chandelier and the spectacular views, and created a new event space on the edge of Mt. Adams (literally). Since opening in April, The View has hosted weddings, family celebrations, and corporate gatherings in a modern, open floorplan space ringed by a wall of windows overlooking downtown, the river, and Northern Kentucky.
1071 Celestial St., Mt. Adams, (513) 841-9999

Suburban Public Space: Summit Park
Built on the old Blue Ash Airport grounds, Summit Park borrowed from the best features of downtown jewels like Fountain Square (concerts, festivals, winter ice rink); Smale Riverfront Park (play areas, adjacent restaurants); and Washington Park (event lawn, dog park) to create a bustling multipurpose community center. When the first apartments and retail spaces open next door this summer, expect a whole new level of “bustle” to take over.
4335 Glendale Milford Rd., Blue Ash, (513) 745-8443

Pop-Up Tattoo Sale: White Whale Tattoo’s Flash Day
It might not be the first fund-raiser option you’d think of, but White Whale Tattoo (the Walnut Hills-based tattoo parlor) inks people to raise funds for charities in Guatemala City during its annual flash day at the 21c Museum Hotel. Artists bring flash sheets full of predesigned tattoos. Guests check in on a first-come, first-served basis. After a wait, guests pick a design and get inked up for a discounted price. And it’s effective, having raised tens of thousands of dollars to date.
650 E. McMillan St., Walnut Hills, (513) 374-0429

Opera to Come out of a Happy Hour: Blind Injustice, Cincinnati Opera
When the young professionals of the Ohio Innocence Project and the Young Professionals Choral Collective got together, the latter found dramatic potential in the former’s stories. With help from librettist David Cote (who interviewed those wrongfully convicted), composer Scott Davenport Richards, and director Robin Guarino, an opera was born. The five premiere performances were sold out long before the Cincinnati Opera season started. We hope the opera considers bringing this one back to Music Hall soon.

New Third Place: Mom ’N ’Em Coffee
Brothers Austin and Tony Ferrari created the perfect “third place” when they opened Mom ’N ’Em Coffee in Camp Washington this spring. It’s in a completely renovated historic house that offers a physical space away from work (though, to be fair, it’s a great place to get stuff done) but not quite the social isolation of home. The result is a perfect environment to sit and talk with new friends—or old—over an excellent cup of coffee, flavor-packed small bites, or a carefully curated glass of wine.
3128 Colerain Ave., Camp Washington, (513) 390-7681

Streaming Radio Station: Inhailer Radio
The 2017 disappearance of WNKU from the FM radio dial alarmed local music fans and musicians alike, but instead of complaining, a few hearty souls launched the streaming service Inhailer Radio to fill the void. Two-plus years later, the station has opened a physical space inside Herzog Music, downtown’s record and musical instrument shop, and offers live DJs “spinning” indie pop and rock 16 hours a day. The beauty in a streaming channel? “As long as you’re on Earth, you can listen,” says Program Director Taylor Fox.

Birthday Suits

The Cincinnati Reds celebrated their 150th anniversary season in a number of ways, but fans were especially interested in the 15 different throwback uniforms worn at select home weekend games. Here were our favorites:








1902 Uniform (worn May 4, left)
The Reds didn’t reach all the way back to 1869 for the season’s first throwback look, opting instead for 1902, when the famous Palace of the Fans ballpark opened. We like the red stripe around the base of the white cap and the shirt’s four-button placket and collar, and how about that breast pocket? A real humdinger.

1961 Uniform (July 21, center)
Three distinctive features make this set a classic: white pin-striped hats, the vest shirt, and a touch of blue in the shirt and cap logos. The Reds surprised everyone by making it to the World Series in ’61, led by Frank Robinson, and Pete Rose would start his career two years later in this uniform. A lot of good feels. 

1976 Uniform (August 17, right)
The ultimate good feel among Reds fans is recalling the Big Red Machine, represented by this groovy ’70s look with a pullover shirt and elastic-waist pants. Bench, Morgan, Perez, Rose, et al. had no time to fool with shirt buttons and belt buckles—they were too busy winning back-to-back championships!

Photographs courtesy of the Cincinnati Reds

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