Mystery, intrigue, secret passageways, Easter eggs for dedicated fans to spot: These are things that make a great movie. They also happen to make a great movie-themed bar, like The Video Archive.
But the Video Archive in Walnut Hills isn’t just a bar. Think of it more as an old school video (yes, video) rental store combined with a speakeasy that pays homage to every Quentin Tarantino film, ever. On top of being a super cool speakeasy/video rental place, the bar transforms its patio into an amazing outdoor cinema every Saturday night during the summer.
“It just kind of started with wanting to show really interesting movies, and then find a way to pair it with my other love of cocktails and food to create really unique experiences,” says owner Jacob Trevino.
As the sun goes down, the screen goes up, drinks come out, and they roll film on one of the well-loved classics. The events are free, open to everyone, and a different movie is played every Saturday. The bar also likes to tie in different elements to their movie showings. For example, when they played Back to the Future, the Cincinnati DeLorean Club came with their cars.
"The bar feels very much alive in creating, keeping that experience and continuing to create new experiences," Trevino says. "I think that’s what led us to do the movie screen... We knew from the second we went into that space that we wanted to do movies on the patio."
Trevino says his inspiration for The Video Archive came from a still-open video rental store in Cleveland, which led him to wonder what a speakeasy fronted by a video store would look like. The Video Archive is a movie buff's paradise, especially for Quentin Tarantino fans. Trevino chose the director as the theme because Tarantino used to work in a video store. References to his work are everywhere in Easter egg form. And to get in, you'll need to find the secret entrance (don’t worry, there’s someone there to give you hints).
Once you get in, you have to try one of the specialty cocktails modeled after Tarantino's films. The Bloody Mia (vodka, "Bloody Mia" mix, lemon juice, and bitters) is a nod to Uma Thurman's character in Pulp Fiction. Or you can get the Mr. Orange shot (high-proof clemencello) to toast Reservoir Dogs. Visitors also rave about the boozy Five Dollar Milkshakes.
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The Video Archive is located at 965 E. McMillan Street (45206).