Looking for that bar where you feel like you are in a small, rural town in Indiana with cheap drinks, down to earth people, and traditional karaoke? Then Junker’s Tavern on 4156 Langland Avenue on the Northside of Cincinnati is the right bar. Junker’s Tavern, a hole in the wall bar with cranberry vodkas for $2.75 and bottles of Little King’s beer for $2.00 is a surprisingly unique find in the Northside.
When one thinks of nightlife in Northside, Mayday, Northside Tavern, or perhaps Bronze (which is closing) usually come to mind. Junker’s Tavern does not fit the “typical” characteristics of a Northside bar. For example, there are no up and coming bands playing there, no stereotypical collection of “hip” Cincinnatians, and no women’s bathroom! It is a very small bar with some booths, and a stage area for karaoke.
The crowd there was pretty eclectic, which is not surprising for Northside, but it seemed rather inorganic. There was a mix of older patrons who seemed like they were regulars there and then a few younger, stereotypically “hip” Northsiders. While both groups were obviously segregated, the older patrons seemed put off with the younger, hipster patrons hanging out there for Northside street cred. They seemed annoyed and not expecting the younger types to be there because they have Northside and Mayday so why do they have a need to go to their bar?
While different groups were definitely remaining segregated, the people there appeared to be having a great time. Since drinks were very affordable, the ugliness of the bar could be ignored and with more drinks, the prettier it became to the patrons. It also helped bargoers have the guts to sing karaoke including tunes such as “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac and “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane.
Another odd aspect of this bar was that it closed at 1am on a Saturday. The reason remains a mystery. This bar seems like it would be a place that people would be more likely go to at 2:30am after the other bars close, but a few of the Junker’s bargoers transferred to Northside Tavern afterwards which is a mere two blocks away. So that means if you try going to Junker’s because you have an intense yearning for karaoke and you hate it, you can just run away to Northside Tavern and forget about one of the bad decisions you made that night.
If you end up enjoying this small town find in one of the best areas of Cincinnati, then you have found a goldmine with cheap drinks, karaoke, and bargoers who do not care what they are wearing. While I would not recommend this bar to anyone who escapes to cities to get away from small towns, poor graduate students might put up with it for the cheap drinks.