The Cincinnati Bar Name Game

We looked into some of the area’s eponymous establishments and found some interesting history.
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ILLUSTRATION BY EVAN VERRILLI

We looked into some of the area’s eponymous establishments and found some interesting history.

Crowley’s Irish Pub

Opened by William “Specs” Crowley as Crowley’s Highland House Café in 1937, this establishment is one of the oldest bars in the city. The bespectacled former banker lost his job during the Depression and bought the bar for three months’ back rent and eight cents in back taxes. Members of the Crowley family have been running it ever since. 958 Pavilion St., Mt. Adams, (513) 721-7709, facebook.com/crowleysirishpub

Jerry’s Jug House

Jerry’s dates back to Prohibition when those were the only places you could (legally) get beer. Some speculate the name “jug house” comes from Wiedemann Fine Beers being sold in two-gallon jugs. The bar’s named after bartender Jerald W. Bittner, whose original bartending ID is still on display there. 414 E. Seventh St., Newport, (859) 360-6527, jerrysjughouse.com

Junker’s Tavern

Junker’s takes its name from Thomas C. Junker, who owned the Northside dive with his wife, Ruth, for 35 years. According to her, it was his lifelong dream to own a bar. At the time that they met, she ran Albers Café, where Junker was applying for a bartender job. Six months later, the two were married, and Albers had a new name. 4156 Langland St., Northside, (513) 541-5470

Zip’s Café

Zip’s original owner was named Zip Kirschner, who manned the counter when he opened the tavern in 1926. In the mid-20th century, the bar area was known as the “code room”—when the blinds were open, customers could place illegal bets on horse races. That practice is gone but the Zipburger is still as good as it’s always been. The joint celebrates its 98th anniversary this summer. 1036 Delta Ave., Mt. Lookout, (513) 871-9876, zipscafe.com

Jocko’s Pub

Owned and operated by Ron and Kathy Jacimine, this west side bar’s name comes from a longtime nickname. It’s typically associated with the first names “John” or “Joseph,” but this Jocko is short for the owner’s last name. 4862 Delhi Rd., Delhi Twp., (513) 244-7100

Milton’s the Prospect Hill Tavern

Given that there are other streets named after poets and philosophers nearby, owner Kevin Feldman likes to assume that Milton Street—from which his bar takes its name—was named after poet John Milton. He bought the place from the previous owner in 2000, and paradise may be both lost and found there during the annual Winter Solstice and Bockfest festivities. 301 Milton St., Mt. Auburn, (513) 721-3500

Stanley’s Pub

In some cases, bars may have first names—naturally leading one to think that they’re named after specific people—but sometimes these establishments are merely references to their street locations, as with this Columbia-Tusculum joint. 323 Stanley Ave., Columbia-Tusculum, (513) 871-6249

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