Terry’s Turf Club
Terry Carter’s neon-lit burger shack lights up Eastern Avenue as patrons pour in for foie gras and Mangalitsa bacon topped burgers, lump crab cake sandwiches, or a Neuske ham on sourdough with Gouda and Gruyère. While family friendly in the early hours, it’s the place to be for big greasy burgers and stiff spirits after your shift.
4618 Eastern Ave., East End, (513) 533-4222. Open til 11 pm Wed & Thurs, midnight Fri & Sat, 9 pm Sun.
Kilts and tartan wall hangings may seem a might kitschy, but this pub has always served reliable comfort food alongside a dizzying Scotch selection and plenty of import and domestic pints. The Scotch egg is the epitome of a drinking snack—a hard boiled egg crusted with a fennel-seed studded sausage and fried. Despite that crust, it manages to stay moist and tender. Gulp. Cheers!
625 Walnut St., downtown, (513) 564-9111. Open til 11 pm Mon–Thurs, 1 am Fri & Sat (kitchen closes at 11:30 pm).
Step off the casino floor into this 24/7 café and fill up on pizza—try the Kitchen Sink: it piles on almost as much as the name implies—sandwiches, and breakfast baguettes. Coffee, energy drinks, and soda (or beer) keep you going, and the bright lights, thumping music, and glacial air conditioning will keep any warm-snuggly feelings at bay.
Horseshoe Casino, 1000 Broadway St., downtown, (513) 252-0777. Open 24/7.
A Tavola Bar + Trattoria
Pizza and drink specials at this rustic-chic Italian spot are the happy ending after an evening of Gateway Quarter gallivanting. After 11, choose between the salty-sweet fig and prosciutto, the house margherita, or the pepperoni Neapolitan. Wash it down with plenty of deeply discounted craft drafts, cocktails, and wine.
1220 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 246-0192, atavolapizza.com. Open til 10 pm weeknights, 2 am Fri & Sat, 9 pm Sun.
Long a late-night fuel source for workers from the restaurant biz, Mama’s may have changed owners a few times over the years, but the greasy stir-fries (try the peppersteak) and the noodle bowls the size of your head (we loved the shrimp tempura udon) remain unchanged. Starters such as the crab cannoli, shrimp dumplings, and sesame drummettes slake late night hunger the way Mama always intended.
216 E. Sixth St., downtown, (513) 241-7777, shanghaimamas.com. Open til 9:30 pm Mon–Thurs, 3 am Fri & Sat.
This Northside institution now has tacos—$2 each cantina-style—with your choice of protein (go for the beef or jerked tofu), topped with lime crema, crumbled cheese, pickled onion, and cilantro. Check the chalkboard behind the bar for the salsa of the month, and take your pick from the ever-changing tap lineup or the well-stocked cooler of craft bottles. The kitchen is open until 1 a.m., and you’ll want to stay to enjoy what’s arguably the best rock-and-roll jukebox in town.
4579 Hamilton Ave., Northside, (513) 541-8900, cometbar.com. Open til 2 am every day.
This kitschy sandwich shop keeps it simple for the night hawks stumbling over from Walnut Street. Check out the Drunk Menu, a list of seven steamed sandwiches, including “pizza” and “Doritos,” the latter of which studs turkey, cheddar, lettuce, and sauces with nacho cheese or cool ranch crisps. Lean in at the street-facing counter to eat, or head to the loft to play some ’80s-era Nintendo.
37 E. Seventh St., downtown, (513) 421-4223, eatgilpins.com. Open til 2:30 am Sun & Mon, 3 am Tues–Sat.
Jenco Brother’s Candy
Chris and Joey Jenco’s candy shop may seem an unlikely after hours stop. Go early for happy hour—20 percent off with a student ID from 3 to 5 p.m. But where else in town can you pick up an Icee, 45 varieties of Jelly Belly jelly beans, Big League Chew, and old-school licorice of all sorts? Chris contends that despite beer and margarita flavors, the Jelly Belly assortment is still the biggest seller at their Clifton candyland. Sweet!
224 W. McMillan St., Clifton, (513) 417-8956, jencobrotherscandy.com. Summer hours: Open til midnight Mon–Thurs, 10 pm Fri & Sat. School year hours: Open til midnight Mon–Thurs, 1 am Fri & Sat, 9 pm Sun.
If the pretzels the size of your head or the front half of a blinking VW bus at the back of the bar fail to nab your attention, then the Brussels sprouts certainly will. Careful Boca, you’ve got competition. Authentic curry wurst and an outrageously stacked küchenspüle (everything but the kitchen sink) burger, not to mention upbeat if rather quirky service make this little neighborhood haunt a wunder-ful destination.
1132 Lee St., Covington, (859) 815-8027. Open til 1 am Tues–Sun (kitchen closes at 11 pm).
The Kitchen Factory Pizza Window
This weekend walk-up pizza window serves up one heck of a tasty $3 slice. The gold goes to the pepperoni, silver to spinach and feta, and bronze to basic cheese. There’s even a vegan cheese option if you absolutely must. Contenders aside, the thin and crispy, herb-laden crust packs serious flavor—and not having to commit to a whole pie is a definite plus.
1609 Chase Ave., Northside, (513) 591-3333. Open til 3 am Fri & Sat.
Not hanging out at the corner of Edwards and Madison at 3 a.m.? You’re missing the freshest doughnuts in town, dude! All varieties, save the cake, arrive at the bright and cheery 24-hour showroom from the attached production bakery. Traditional glazed and kettle (a deep fried Danish/doughnut hybrid) are overwhelming crowd favorites. Your party might be winding down, but somebody out there’s gotta make the doughnuts.
2675 Madison Rd., Hyde Park, (513) 871-2114, busken.com. Open 24/7.
Originally published in the August 2014 issue