While Over the Rhine has a plethora of bars and venues to go to, it is sometimes hard to find the one that stands out against the others. After Grammer’s closed it was very difficult to find that OTR bar that hit the spot: a bar with a balance of dancing, hipsters, a fun outdoor area, and themed nights. While MOTR is a good bar for shows and Neon’s is a nice laid back bar, Drinkery OTR (1150 Main Street) has started becoming the bar that stands out against the others. It has themed nights, dancing, hipsters, non-hipsters, and surprise, surprise…not only “white” people!
While OTR is a diverse community itself, most of the bars that serve the area (at least on the Main Street stretch) are not quite diverse and are pretty monolithic. What took me by surprise one night was the diversity of bar goers at the Drinkery that made this bar stick out compared to the others.
Being a person of a “mixed” or “nonwhite” background, racial demographics are something I definitely observe and notice in Cincinnati nightlife. Unlike bigger cities like Chicago or New York, Cincinnati can feel very monolithic and monoracial, which is why cultivating an atmosphere conducive towards diversity in races, subcultures (e.g. hipsters, hip hop artists, etc.), and music should be an important component that bars/clubs should strive for in Cincinnati.
Drinkery has a different theme on any given Friday or Saturday night and there is always a dance party every Saturday night there with local Cincinnati DJ Gerald. Drink prices are pretty affordable with a $4 vodka tonics and cheaper canned beers like Hudepohl.
What is refreshing about Drinkery OTR, is that it accommodates many different moods, there are 80’s nights with birthday parties, rapping, hip hop, and then there are nights reenacting the “Like a G6” music video. One night we had been searching for a fun bar to go to in OTR, the others seemed pretty dead, but Drinkery was busy; there was a DJ and many “non-white” individuals, more specifically “Asians”, which is rather rare in OTR and Cincinnati for that matter.
Drinkery felt like a bar transformed into a club with individuals busting out impressive moves while being entirely glammed up to the point where it did feel being in the “Like a G6” video. Dance floor was crowded, everyone was in a festive mood and most important of all, everyone (not just 4 super drunk people) was dancing…that is, people who were really into their dancing and good at it.
If anyone needs a break from the intense beats and dancing, you can always go outside and engage in conversation on the back patio where there is different music playing.
On this past Final Friday, Drinkery OTR was the place that stood out again for different and similar reasons. It was diverse with people from different subcultures (not just hipsters), and diversity in races. There was not the typical OTR white hipster crowd; there were African Americans, Indians, Latino/as and whites. What a surprise again! And not only was the crowd more diverse, there was great djing with a variety of Djs ranging from poppy electro music to rap to hip hop to live rap artists rapping inside the venue. In this case again, a majority of the bar goers were truly engaged in the music and in the dancing.
The diverse music, themes, people, and dancing are why Drinkery OTR has definitely grown on bar goers in the Cincinnati community and if you want to have a more exciting, less laid back night with people who genuinely love to dance, I highly suggest the Drinkery.