Pony Kegs We Know And Love

Pony Kegs We Know And Love

The jury is still out on the provenance of “pony keg.” In 1976, we reported in this very magazine that, to the rest of the world, a pony keg is a mini beer keg. But in our somewhat contrary community, a pony keg is a place to buy a mini beer keg. The meaning gets even more muddled, as most of the city’s pony kegs are informally known for one thing: drive in, point to a six-pack, and someone will chuck it in your trunk. To confuse matters further, few of these spots self-identify as “pony kegs”; most call themselves “drive-thrus.” But they do share a common denominator: a wall of cold beer, plenty of beef jerky, and stacks upon stacks of cigarettes and lottery tickets behind the register.

1) Eiser’s Drive-Thru
Tucked away in a quiet corner of Oakley, Eiser’s (above) might just be the ür-pony keg, keeping it simple with dependable amenities (although you will find fresh popcorn and a handful of local craft beer options). 4403 Verne Ave., Oakley, (513) 631-2104, facebook.com/eisersdrivethru

2) City Beverage of Hyde Park
Despite the proletarian sounding name, this pony keg is anything but: Pick up Perrier, Smart Water, and an array of eminently quaffable domestic and import wines, such as Fat Bastard Chardonnay from the Languedoc-Roussillon. 3661 Shaw Ave., Hyde Park, (513) 321-1192

3) Beverage Barn
You can’t miss the Beverage Barn, despite the fact that it’s set way back from the main road. This is because it is, in fact, barn-shaped. It’s the pony keg version of a theme park. They used to carry farm-fresh eggs too, but a regime change put an end to that. Bring back the eggs! 9324 Cincinnati-Columbus Rd., West Chester, (513) 779-2500

4) Trotta’s Pizza Drive Thru & Deli
The pizza mural on the exterior wall hints at what lies within: By-the-slice is a given, but there’s also cannoli, pretzels, and corn dogs. Wash it down with grapefruit-charged Mikkeller bitter or Evil Twin’s Ryan and the Gosling beer. 3501 Werk Rd., Westwood, (513) 451-5555, trottaspizza.com

5) C&D Drive Thru
This may look like your humdrum Hudy Delight stop, but it’s worth noting that cigarette papers and false eyelashes are also available. Three key ingredients for a memorable evening. 1979 W. North Bend Rd., North College Hill, (513) 541-5992

Pony Keg Etiquette

– Honking isn’t cool. Just wait your turn.

– Watch for workers—don’t zip in like it’s your home garage.

– As with most small businesses, cash is always appreciated.

– Avoid extended browsing. Have a basic idea of what you want, as in “cold beer” or “snacks.” Then ask the clerk for specific brands.

– Inquire about fresh food. You might be (pleasantly) surprised.

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