Neighborhood Bars: North

Where are some of the best bars in the ’burbs?
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The Monkey Bar and Grille.

PHOTOGRAPH BY LANCE ADKINS

The Monkey Bar and Grille

Located off the Loveland Bike Trail, you’ll find a bar on the Little Miami River. The building was originally built in 1841 and was known as the Train Stop Inn until 2016. At the bar you’ll find an extensive selection of bourbons, but if you’re in the mood for a cocktail, get the Monkey Rum Runner. It’s made with two kinds of rum, banana liqueur, pineapple and orange juice, and grenadine. Many who frequented this bar in the 1970s and 1980s may remember that there was an actual monkey who lived there, Sam the beer-drinking cigarette-smoking chimp. While he’s no longer a resident, there are plenty of monkey-themed decorations to remember him by. 7837 Old 3C Highway, Maineville, (513) 781-4246, themonkeybarandgrille.com

The Belle and The Bear

Live music fans in the suburbs know that The Belle and The Bear is the place to be. The bar tucked away in Montgomery is home to a phenomenal house band, The Jams. Owner Ceris Christopher bought the bar she worked at, then known as McLevy’s, in 2018, “I’ve been bartending for over 20 years all over the world and always said to myself, if I’m going to still be bartending at the age of 40, I wanted to make sure it was my own bar.” She recommends you order whiskey because at her bar the slogan is, “Jameson is our house wine.” 8512 Market Place Ln., Montgomery, (513) 954-5247, thebelleandthebear.com

Al’s Bar

You’ll know you’re at Al’s Bar when you see the giant neon sign outside. This Sharonville bar has been a classic after-work spot for employees at the nearby GE and Ford plants to grab a beer for decades. Despite its simplicity, Al’s has pops of fun flair like the vibrant orange patio and the many smaller version of the iconic neon sign hanging all around inside. It’s also a great place for darts enthusiasts with Bullshooter games, dart boards, a bartender who has competed around the world, and a team that’s won several trophies. 11133 Reading Rd., Sharonville, (513) 563-4879

Diggs Bar and Grill

Beach volleyball isn’t a super common game in our landlocked city, but Diggs Bar and Grill has you covered with six regulation sand volleyball courts. This beachy bar in Mason is surrounded by sports complexes and stands as an oasis with tropical drinks, Jimmy Buffet posters, and a stuffed swordfish on the wall with a sign identifying it as the HR department. If you don’t want the Best Sex Ever, (a cocktail with coconut and spiced rum, orange juice, peach schnapps, and grenadine) there are plenty of beers on tap. 854 Reading Rd., Mason, (513) 770-0708, diggsbarandgrill.com

Elbo Room

For a bar as small as Elbo Room, it has more character than places three times its size. This dive looks like a basement bar in the best way. Every inch of the place is covered in sports memorabilia, dollar bills, and photographs of their loyal customer base enjoying themselves from throughout the years. There’s a smoky smell baked into the wood paneled walls and old duckpin bowling machine that makes it feel like you’re in a time capsule from the 1970s. 1115 Magie Ave., Fairfield, (513) 858-1117


Don’t Forget to Try…

  • Cindy’s Friendly Tavern→ Cozy dive in the heart of Loveland that’s literally a basement bar.
    125 S Karl Brown Way A, Loveland, (513) 583-5469
  • Gano Tavern→ Roadhouse and restaurant that’s been around since 1936.
    10024 Cincinnati Dayton Rd., Gano, (513) 733-4631, facebook.com/Ganotavern
  • Zappz Bar and Grill→ Low key sports bar with cheap but delicious burgers.
    409 Loveland Madeira Rd., Loveland, (513) 683-3354
  • The Silver Spring House→ A beach bar plopped into Symmes with famous grilled chicken and over 40 TVs.
    8322 E Kemper Rd., Symmes, (513) 489-7044, thesilverspringhouse.com

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