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Rowing, antiques, kitsch, coffee–while you can easily get waylaid by the sparkly Newport on the Levee chains, we suggest you bypass the boring and get to know the real Newport. So after you’ve defied death walking over a live shark tank, amble a little further into the heart of Newport. Though the gambling casinos and peep shows of “Sin City” are a thing of the past, there’s still a bit of rogue to Newport’s nature. From a haunted riverboat experience on the USS Nightmare to a bourbon flight from The Prohibition Bourbon Bar at Newberry Bros. Coffee, Newport invites you to court a little danger. But just like a sour patch candy commercial, there’s a sweet side. You won’t want to miss a stroll through the East Row, the second largest historic district in Kentucky. Burn off brunch with a run across the Purple People Bridge or a vigorous sculling session on the glassy Ohio. Before you go, head over to the area’s two craft alcohol producers, New Riff Distilling for some “urban whiskey” and Ei8ht Ball Brewing for some funky fresh brews.

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Steam Whistle Letterpress and Design  Even though Steam Whistle doesn’t have a retail operation based in town, you’ll find their groovy letterpress cards and posters at venues around Cincy like Rock, Paper, Scissors in OTR. 1024 Saratoga St. (S)

Packhouse Meats may have gotten a lot of play for their no tipping policy, but have you heard of their monthly Craft Beer Dinners? 3 Beers,4 course dinner, and you keep the glass, all for 25 bucks. Can’t decide which pack to choose? Try a meatball slider for 3 bucks each. Packhouse has a great draft selection too.1004 Monmouth St. (E)

The Turn Vintage Warehouse is most definitely worth a trip over to Newport–vintage rentals, event space, pop-ups, and delightfully curated vintage goods and apparel in the Turn Shop. You might start imagining your next charming fete as you wander The Turn’s aged wooden floor. We love the vintage luggage and antique spoon necklaces. 913 Monmouth St. (S)

Dresser Up Vintage Boutique  Just next door, you’ll find Dresser Up and plenty of inspiration for fixing up that antique sideboard that needs a little work. Dresser Up carries the full line of Miss. Mustard Seed Milk Paint and Maison Blanche paint. What really caught our eye was the solid collection of antique casegoods and decor. 911 Monmouth St. (S)

C&D Record Bar discounts vinyl every Turntable Tuesday. They’ve got a copious collection of  used DVDs, CD’s and vinyl, plus portable turntables, posters, and Cincinnati Reds Bobbleheads to impress your friends. “Rockin’ Newport since 1955.” 908 Monmouth St. (S)

Carabello Coffee is a “philanthropic artisan coffee roasting company equitably sourcing exceptional coffees, roasting them to perfection, and then using the profits as a way to fund works of compassion in Third World coffee producing nations like Nicaragua and Kenya.” Gadabout Doughnuts is there on Saturdays hawking the delicious rings of dough (yes, please.) Pick up a bag of beans for your morning cup, grab an expertly pulled shot, something sweet from Canteen Bakery, and sit a spell. Carabello carries Bello’s Bike Pops in the warm months, too.107 E. 9th St. (E)

York Street Cafe  Dining at this popular cafe is a lot like visiting your favorite wacky aunt’s house. You are kind of mesmerized by the kitschy decor she has tucked into antiques, and you always leave full and happy. York Street Cafe’s garden patio is one of the best things about Newport. It’s a great spot for a martini with friends or to convince your significant other how romantic you can be. There’s a nightclub on the second floor where you can likely catch Swingtime Big Band. 738 York St. (E)

Jet Age Records 817 Monmouth St. (S)

Dixie Chili  You don’t need a time traveling Delorean to taste Americana diner food at its height. Step through the bright red and white tiled entry of the first chili parlor in Northern Kentucky. There’s six ways to go, but we suggest you have your chili heaped over a pile Semolina Wheat Spaghetti. When in Rome…733 Monmouth St. (E)

No Limits Rowing/The Rowing Place  Sign up for a class at The Rowing Place, an indoor rowing studio, to learn proper techniques from a former National team member and international medalist. Rowing is a boss outdoor sport that delivers a full body workout. No Limits Rowing coaches and trains members of the Queen City Rowing Club. Head Coach Pedro Palacios of NLR teaches a 4-week intensive to get you on the water. Find out more about The Queen City Rowing Club here. 721 Monmouth St. (D)

Artifact Studio and Gallery 114 E. 8th St. (S)

Trailhead Coffee and Reser Bicycle Outfitters  Seriously one of the coolest things about Newport is the ride-up counter at Trailhead Coffee. The baristas are brewing Wood Burl coffee using their La Marzocco Strada MP. This is good news…trust us. As if that weren’t enough, there are  treats from Brown Bear Bakery. You’re just gilding the lily now. Bonus: pick up a loaf or two of Sixteen Bricks bread while you’re there. All this caffeinated goodness happens within Reser Bicycle Outfitters, which you definitely need to check out. Not only are these guys overall solid dudes, they know a lot about bikes. Go in for repairs and maintenance or dream about your next set of wheels. It’s all good. Upstairs is their cycling studio, “a state of the art indoor cycling space, fully outfitted with 12 Wahoo Kickrs.” Righteous. 648 Monmouth St. (S)

La Mexicana Restaurante Cantina & Tienda  Their housemade tortillas have made fans on both sides of the river. La Mexicana’s traditional Mexican fare includes vegetarian options like seasoned pumpkin flower or unabashedly carnivorous offerings like goat or beef tongue. Get yourself a big ‘ole margarita or cerveza, and go to town. 642 Monmouth St. (E)

Falcon Theatre  Whether you’re into dark humor, social commentaries, or musical satires, Falcon Theatre can fit the bill (playbill, bada bing). Be sure to check out their fringe-worthy Fourth Wall productions too. More info. on the current season here. 636 Monmouth St. (D)

Arcadian Comics & Games  These guys are at the top of their game, pun intended. Arcadian carries new releases, Indie comics, graphic novels, back issues, collectibles, posters, tees, games and more. If there’s a buzz, they’ve got it (or can get it). But it’s their encyclopedic knowledge of all things comic-related that is really impressive. Ask for reading suggestions, the folks at Arcadian are friendly and spot on. Magic: The Gathering is played upstairs weekly. 627 Monmouth St. (S)

Galaxie Skateshop  This skater-owned shop is super tight. Galaxie stocks Chocolate and Real decks, wicked longboards, top quality bearings and wheels, plus snapbacks, beanies, cool tees and other rad skate wear. Galaxie has a whole wall of kicks including limited edition footwear. Check ’em out. 625 Monmouth St. (S)

Newport Pizza Company  Mondays plan on eating your pizza sans t.v.. All large house specialty pizzas enjoyed on the premises are just $10 bucks each. Fill your face with tasty pie! Their hand-cut fried mozzarella should be renamed melty amazeballs. 601 Monmouth St. (E)

Amol India Carry Out Restaurant  No frills, just great Indian take-out. 527 York St. (E)

Wooden Cask Brewery 629 York St. (E)

Mokka and the Sunset Grill is famous for their French Toast piped with creme brulee pastry cream. Of course there’s no shortage of Goetta or Fritattas on the breakfast menu either. Expect a line at brunch, but don’t worry there’s mimosas to hold you over. Mokka serves a casual lunch and dinner, too. They’ve got a great array of craft beers on tap and live music on the weekends. 500 Monmouth St. (E)

The Southgate House Revival has moved from the Southgate mansion (we hear it’s haunted) to the former Grace United Methodist church. It is split into three separate music venues: The Sanctuary for the bigger acts–complete with a pipe organ behind the bar, The Lounge and the Revival Room. From singer songwriters, to honky tonk, blues, rock, and jazz, Southgate has a slew of live music acts to keep you coming back. Check out their bookings here. 111 E. 6th St. (D)

Newberry Bros. Coffee & The Prohibition Bourbon Bar  Roasting organic, fair trade coffee and espresso beans on site in small batches has earned Newberry Bros. a following of devoted coffee lovers, but come nightfall, bourbon takes the stage. With over 700 bourbons and rye whiskeys, it is no surprise The Prohibition was named a Top Bourbon Bar in America by The Bourbon Review. They’ve also got a knockout selection of wine and craft beers. If you’re feeling peckish, order a cured meat and cheese board, panini, or savory croissant. Open Fridays and Saturdays 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. 530 Washington Ave. (E)

Strong’s Brick Oven Pizzeria was voted Best in NKY by NKY Magazine. We dream about Strong’s signature pie, Pizza Alla Vodka baked in their Italian brick oven. They’ll even throw a bag of BBQ Grippos over your Hot and Spicy pie “for an amazing kick.” We like the way you think Strong’s. 336 Monmouth St. (E)

Our favorite city workout:  Mount Adams steps down to Riverfront Park and across the Purple People Bridge to Newport, KY and back! You’ll find the Mt. Adams Steps outside Holy Cross-Immaculata Catholic Church.  They will take you down the hill and across the highway overpass. You’ll come out at Adams Crossing.  Cross over Riverside Dr. and take the short staircase down, step over the train tracks and you’ll be outside the tennis courts at Sawyer Point Park.  Hang a right, and continue towards Riverfront ParkAfter you pass Cincinnatus’ proud statue, look for the stairwell that leads up to the Purple People Bridge.  Ascend and make your way across the bridge to the Newport entertainment complex, Newport on the Levee You did it!  

Newport Aquarium  Create your own Shark Week by traversing the suspension bridge hanging over two dozen circling sharks. Don’t worry, they’ve probably already eaten.  1 Aquarium Way (D)

Hofbrauhaus Newport  If you’re looking for a little light-hearted Deutsch merriment, Hofbrauhaus is the place. This beloved gasthaus serves up mammoth steins of Bavarian-style bier, schnitzel, wurst, red cabbage, and more authentic German specialties. Naturally, the Apfel Strudel crowned with vanilla sauce, caramel, and whipped cream is a must. After all that Hefe Weizen, don’t blame us if you find yourself climbing up on a table and joining in the Chicken Dance. (E)

The USS Nightmare  “The former dredging vessel with a deep, dark past” is a Halloween tradition around these parts. Even if you’ve got a high-threshhold for haunts, Riverboat Row has a mighty nice view of the Cincy skyline at night. 101 Riverboat Row, September through Oct. 31st. (D)

Cincinnati Rowing Club holds an 8-week Learn to Row class in spring designed to give you the foundation you need to get you out there sculling and transition you to independent rowing. Graduates are eligible to participate in the twice weekly open row sessions. “This includes use of the club boats, some informal coaching and interaction on the water with other experienced rowers.” Get ready for the regattas this year! Click here for more info. Licking River Boathouse, Riverboat Row (D)

Ei8ht Ball Brewing  Besides the very bizarre aspect of being located inside a Party Source store, yo u will quickly come to appreciate Ei8ht Ball’s particular brand of quirkiness along with their 42 rotating taps of craft beer–ten or so brewed merely steps away. For instance, how can you resist Free Bacon Friday? Ei8ht Ball is just sealing the cans of their limited edition chocolate milk stout, Home Alone, so get ’em while they last!  95 Riveria Dr. inside Party Source (E)

New Riff Distilling  Celebrate the bounty found in the hills and hollers of Northern Kentucky by tasting New Riff’s Kentucky Wild Gin, their pot still spirit distilled with traditional botanicals along with goldenrod, spice bush, and local native American juniper. Try New Riff’s New Make Rye or Bourbon Mash Kentucky White Dog, a bold interpretation of a traditional Kentucky spirit. They also age and bottle the O.K.I. Straight Bourbon Whiskey in house. New Riff offers tours Thursdays through Sundays with complimentary tastings after. 24 Distillery Way (D)


Darkness Brewing is coming soon including a Blood Red IPA….we’re intrigued. 224 Fairfield Ave. (E)

Coda Company 400 Fairfield Ave. (S)

Torn Light Records  This Northern Kentucky-based record label music store “specializes in new & used independent vinyl, cassette and CD releases.” They have a wide array of metal and punk, as well as noise, experimental and other music niches. They often feature local bands for in-store events. 406 Fairfield Ave. (S)

Hey wait, there’s more…check out our compendium of Cincy cool here.

 © 2021

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