Mt. Adams is charming, historic, and utterly Dickensian in character.
But for some reason, decades ago, it became the preferred destination for weekending college bros — and the hilltop neighborhood is no less rowdy now, despite the rise of other bar districts around town.
Here’s where I tell you what you already know: there’s more to Mt. Adams than raucous late-night bar culture, even if raucous late-night bar culture has become integral to its allure. Let’s take a look at some bro-free things to do in Mt. Adams, and maybe we’ll find out a bit about ourselves in the process. (Then again, probs not.)
ABOUT THOSE THE BARS...
If you want to hang around Fireballing early twenty-somethings, the options are a'plenty. However, if yours is more the neat whiskey and craft-beer crowd, go to Blind Lemon, which one of our fearless writers profiled here.
Looking for a more dive-y feel? Crowley’s is your best bet. Its unexceptional interior will repel Sigma Alpha Somethings, who require shiny lights and loud noises to passively entertain themselves while they search for mates. Moreover, Bros will be confused by the “dangly metal things” below the bar stools, which more chivalrous males sometimes refer to as “purse hooks.”
...AND THE FOOD
As their mothers can attest, Bros will eat whatever is put in front of them, so they have no problem with terrible bar food. A sublime alternative isThe Rookwood, whose fare is more than just passable; it's fantastic. (Take a peek.)
Teak Thai is also easy to recommend, even if it’s where everyone took their high-school sweetheart in the aughts to appear coastal and cultured. “I eat sushi like Ari from Entourage,” etc.
But my choice is Mt. Adams Bar and Grill, a former speakeasy that has retained its character and serves quality grub. The crowd often comprises Mt. Adams residents wearing slacks and sweater vests, an outfit by which The Bro is both perplexed and repulsed.
Nothing I’d write could be more illustrative of Mt. Adams’ architectural splendor than photographer Daniel Smyth’s work here. If only Monopoly money were real money... 'Cause then we'd all be posting up in Mt. Adams with our own personal parking spots.
EDEN PARK (ET CETERA)
The name isn’t coincidental: Eden Park is 186 acres of paradise. Formerly a vineyard, the park is now home to iconic structures like the Eden Park Station No. 7, the Eden Park Stand Pipe, and the Elsinore Arch, all of which are perfect first or second date spots. And then, of course, once you've moved in together and left for the 45208, Eden Park will be a distance memory, replaced by Ault Park (& that other Coffee Emporium).
The Twin Lakes area, known to dog-walkers and teenage canoodlers alike, features a grove of buckeye trees as well as the famous Capitoline Wolf Statue replica, a gift from Cincinnati’s sister city of Rome. Definitely a “Top 5” place in Cincinnati.
Cincinnati’s hills are cut by many staircases. But when you say “The Steps,” locals understand you to mean those beginning near the Montgomery Inn Boathouse and ending at Mt. Adams’ Immaculata Church. There are 150 steps in all, making the Easter-morning ascent more difficult than other traditions (like hunting for chocolate).
But whether done on Easter morning or any other day of the year, these steps are an opportunity for some cardio-rich, pensive thought. (And goodness knows we could all use more of that.)
That Immaculata Church is breathtaking within and without. It’s one of several gorgeous churches in Mt. Adams, which was once a singularly Catholic outpost among Cincinnati’s Presbyterian population.
Also breathtaking is the Monastery Event Center (check it out), formerly a church of the Holy Cross and, before that, the Cincinnati Observatory. Renovated in 2015 into a uniquely beautiful event venue where this writer happens to be getting married soon, the interior retains the rustic feel of a country chapel.
In my missive (here) to the Bro and non-Bro philistines of the world (including myself), I argued that everyone can enjoy the Art Museum. I stand by that.
But if performance art is more your thing, then the Playhouse in the Park has long been Cincy’s place for theater. A Christmas Carol is always a memorable holiday event for the family, but Second City’s HoliDazed & Confused Revue is a crack up, in the best way possible.
But if you're still not ready to search for park whilst paralleling into the side of a hill, you can enjoy all that Mt. Adams has to offer digitally. It's called a photo gallery, folks. Scroll back to the top to see what we mean.
A special thanks to Jayson Gomes of CincyImages for providing the beautiful cover photo for this story. You can head to his website here and purchase his amazing photography.