- 4163 Hamilton Ave., Cincinnati, OH, 45223
- Overall User Rating:
- (5 ratings)
- 5 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Monday-Saturday; 7 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Sunday.
- Official Web Site:
If bands weren't clamoring to play Northside Tavern before it expanded a year ago, they sure are now. Now, national acts are asking for a date here.
Who wouldn't want to play an indie-cool tavern that never charges a cover and serves robust drafts such as Stella Artois and Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA?
"It went from being a bar that bands like playing to a bar that's a decent-sized venue. The sound is great," says Yusef Quotah, a regular who plays with the indie-rock outfit The Damn Thing and the experimental, remix-wielding duo You, You're Awesome.
Quotah and other music scenesters - such as locals The Chocolate Horse, Cari Clara and Bad Veins - find themselves playing in the tavern's back room, a new, spacious area complete with a bar, sound system, tables, chairs, beautiful people and Ms. Pac Man. (Arcade lovers will find "Centipede," "Millipede" and "Sharkey's Shootout" packed in a closet-sized room near the tavern's jukebox.)
For years, all bands squeezed into a corner of the front room.
"We played sometimes when it was super-crowded, and we had to squish together because there were so many people trying to get in the door," Quotah remembers. "Even when it was empty, we still had a good time."
Pack more than 60 patrons (and tabs) in that room, and you have quite a circus, which spills into the living-room-looking lounge and the poolroom behind it. Still, it's something fun to surround yourself in - so long as you don't mind meeting people.
"I know my bartenders are happy the music is in the back now," says Ed Rush, owner.
"I think people like (the tavern) more now because they can spread out," he adds. "The front room is back to being a neighborhood bar like it used to be."
And while the tavern has expanded, it still gets crazy-busy on the weekends. Make your way to the patio if you need fresh air or a smoke. It's detailed with wrought-iron tables and chairs, and it has two fire pits. If you're hanging around during dinnertime, grab a bite at The Hideaway, a cute, innocuous restaurant that shares the patio with the tavern.
Features like these seem to make Northside Tavern recession-proof. (Bonus: Rush didn't raise drink prices this year; get drinks even cheaper during happy hour 5 to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday!) And regulars like Quotah want to draw new faces with parties like Dance_MF, happening on the first Saturday of the month. That's put on by The Projectmill, a collective comprised of graphic designers, musicians, videographers, etc.
"It's just a way to connect people and the art scene here. The main idea behind Projectmill is to do cool s—- here," says Quotah, also an animator and self-described video game geek.