Recently, some out-of-town girlfriends of mine decided they needed a girls’ night in Cincinnati. During the flurry of group texting and gif-emoting, we came up with a brilliant idea—not only were we going to get together, but we were going to only go to women-owned (or co-owned or executive chef'd) places. And this girls' night out to just girl-ruled places made for one heckuva night of GRL PWR.
So if you have yourself a babe squad in serious need of getting together, do so by supporting the following queens of the Queen City.
THE ROAD MAP FOR THE NIGHT
To begin, start at Aster (8 East 4th Street, Downtown). Co-owned by Sandra Gross and Dr. John Hutton, with partner Frances Kroner at the helm as executive chef, Aster will be exactly what its name implies: “a social sippery where old friends and new ones are made.” As you and your girl gang settle in for your first round, make sure to consider their Socials—large scale versions of specialty cocktails best served to four. Or, entertain the Martini of the Moment, which is what one of my friends and I did and how we ended up enjoying a London dry-style gin blended with juniper, cucumber, sage, lemon, and lavender. Sharp and crisp, just like Aster and the night’s kickoff itself.
After Aster, make your way clear to the other side of town to pay your respects to The Rhined (1737 Elm Street, OTR). The Rhined, owned by cheese connoisseur Stephanie Webster, is a cut-to-order cheese and wine shop located across the street from Findlay Market. Here, your squad should treat themselves to a curated charcuterie board and a bottle (or two) of Il Pestifero Pét-Nat. Better yet, let the gal behind the counter know you’re on a ladies-only-everything bar crawl and she’ll make a point to choose cheeses from only women-owned creameries. This is where everything can really get going with all that good woman juju.
After the starters at The Rhined, head just a block or so north for dinner at Social OTR (1819 Elm Street, OTR). Social OTR is a non-profit restaurant executive chef'd by Jennifer Kempin. The restaurant helps facilitate students in the Findlay Culinary Training Program to prepare for a career in the foodservice industry. Here you can get your absolute fill on food and drink alike, and I recommend you do so. We went all in and chose every last thing that looked good, which is how we ended up with a spread that included the pickle board, the deviled eggs, the frites, the stuffed poblano mole, the pappardelle, and the scallops. There was also the favored drink—the Gin It To Win It—which came one after another because it, too, was too good.
To finish strong, find your way to Catherine Manabat and Julia Petiprin’s hoppin’ Homemakers Bar (39 E 13th Street, OTR). Homemaker's Bar is the perfect grand finale for a female-only night out on the town because not only is it the complete envisioning of two notable female leaders in the industry, but it's also a solid spot with a killer craft cocktails list and all-around bright and poppy vibe. Make sure to order the It's Toasted (bourbon barrel gin, ginger, coffee, lavender, lime, coconut La Croix) and/or the Fresh Up (vodka, aperitif wine, lime, nectarine, celery, egg white, orange bitters). Much like these drinks, Homemaker’s Bar will be chock-full of interest and exploding with spunk, which is why it is the perfect nightcap for a night out on the town with your gal pals.
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For more from Katie Holocher, visit her blog, Out and Outfit.