- 35 E. Seventh St., Cincinnati, OH, 45202
- Overall User Rating:
- (7 ratings)
- Official Web Site:
As one of the newest drinking establishments in town, Play takes over the old Lodge Bar space and sets up a great bar/club/event space ready to conquer the 7th Street corridor. It’s been open for about three months, and although my wife and I couldn’t quite stay out late enough to check out the full spectrum offered up by Play, we decided to stop in the space for a drink after work one night.
The mood: You can’t miss Play: there are four large flat-screen TVs in the windows of the place pointing out on 7th Street. If you are able to entertain the public on the sidewalk, you know a place means business.
The wood paneling on the walls of Play’s former iteration is gone (there’s not a hint of anything lodge-like here), but it’s been replaced with sleek grays and dark wood finishes. And lots of neon lighting. There are two large bars on both sides of the large, main floor, so drinks are easy to come by.
The DJ lords over Play from a stage high above the dance floor, and there are three VIP areas – on the dance floor, backstage, or even on the stage – if you want to celebrate with some friends while showing off a little bit. And Play is very reasonable: it’s only a $5 cover after 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and the Happy Hour is one of the best I’ve come across in the city.
The drinks: A five-hour Happy Hour, from 4-9 pm., is really more like a happy half-day, but it’s standard Tuesday through Thursday here. Every drink is half price, and so we thought we’d kick things off with a discounted draft Stella Artois ($2.50). Since they are new and completely self-promoted, Play is eager to get some weeknight business, so they are happy to host parties, meetings, and even art shows. When we were there, a small group had gathered after work to have a meeting over drinks.
Tuesday is college night at Play (and cover-free) and has music by DJ ETrayne. Friday night has music by DJ D-Lo and on Saturdays, Play typically hosts a more national or out-of-town act. They don’t serve draft beer once the place fills up late night and on weekends, and the dark wood stools and tables throughout are tucked to the sides to open up the space for dancing and mingling.
The food: Play doesn’t offer any food and since it was getting close to dinnertime, we thought olive-soaked martinis would be the next best thing. A round of Grey Goose martinis (straight up with olives, $3.50) warmed up the cold Tuesday quickly. Play does offer bottle service, and who needs food when you can drink your meal?
The verdict: Play is more than just a nightclub. Yes, dancing and DJs are a central focus here, but it has an amazing Happy Hour on weeknights, and an accommodating space for a meeting or party. And even though the drink prices increase late night and weekend, the nightclub is still a fun and reasonably priced place to, well, play.