I know we're just ending April and we have a way to go yet, but it's never too soon to start planning your summer activities. And in Cincinnati, you can't have a summer without visiting some of the best music venues in the tristate and getting your rock on. Depending upon your individual taste in music, there's something for just about everyone within about 20 miles from the great fountain square.
Firstly, let's look at the bigger named venues that is known all over. Big bands, big talent....usually.
- Riverbend Music Center, 6295 Kellogg Ave, Cincinnati. One of the best known venues in Cincinnati with acts ranging from regional up and comers to international superstars. Near the river, so boat owners have been known to drift on up and enjoy the show. They prefer that you just get a ticket and see the real thing, however.
- Aronoff Center For the Arts, 650 Walnut St, Cincinnati is a performing arts centre in Cincinnati, Ohio and consists of three main theaters the largest of which is The Procter & Gamble Hall with a capacity of 2,719 seats. At the center you can see a variety of shows including plays, musicals, music concerts, comedy and ballet.
- American Classical Music Hall, 1225 Elm St, Cincinnati. As one Yelper stated, "It's only appropriate that the American Classical Music Hall of Fame be located in Cincinnati. We have a world renowned orchestra, the oldest continual choral festival in the world, and the second oldest opera company in the country." Enough said.
Now, for those that like to check out the smaller, more personal places where they can listen to awesome music while experiencing an even more amazing variety of local ales, beers and more, here's our short list of places you need to add to the 'Must Do' list during the Summer of '14.
- The Blue Wisp. 318 East 8th Street, Downtown, 513-241-WISP (9477). Considered Cincinnati's jazz home since 1978, The Blue Wisp, located downtown, is considered a Cincinnati Cultural Institution. Open 7 nights a week, you can enjoy local musicians on weeknights and great national acts on the weekends.
- MOTR Pub, as in "Main Street, Over-the-Rhine" 1345 Main Street, 513-381-6687, is pretty new and serves a mouthwatering Sunday brunch. But you're not reading this for food, you're here for the sounds. So, I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that the owners of MOTR have a history of promoting local talent and and upon meeting them, it's easy to see that they not only host the music, but they love the music. However, keep in mind that there's no stage, and it can get pretty cozy, so don't forget the deodorant.
- Arnold's Bar & Grill, 210 East Eighth Street, 513-421-6234, is the oldest tavern in the city, dating back to 1861. Founded by Simon Arnold, the tavern converted to cafe during prohibition. But rumor has it that 'ole Simon kept gin in a bathtub on the 2nd floor, and he lived on the 3rd. The tub can still be seen outside the tavern. Anyway...they have music on weeknights in the courtyard, and most of the bands there play Americana. Looking for some history, and some great music, check out Arnold's Bar & Grill. Simon says.
- The Northside Tavern, 4163 Hamilton Avenue, 513-542-3603. Featuring musical talent and sounds as diverse and varied as the people of Cincinnati itself, Northside Tavern hosts music ranging from punk and rock, to blues and bluegrass. And to make things even better, they have an eye-popping, jaw dropping selection of local microbrews to satisfy any taste. So if you're looking for a wide range of musical talent, momma always said Northside tavern was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get. Okay, bad Forrest Gump joke, but you get the idea. Go there. Now.
- The Southgate House, 24 East Third Street, Newport, 859-431-2201. The Southgate House in Newport is a huge historic home that features three music areas. Juney's Lounge on the first floor offers an open mic night, as well as local acts most nights of the week. The Parlour on the second floor is another smaller space that features more intimate and relaxed performances. The Ballroom at the Southgate House is used for larger performances by local, regional, and national acts. It features a full-service bar on the first floor, a smaller bar on the second floor, and two-levels with horseshoe style seating in the balcony.
I've started you on enough local music venues to whet your appetite. But don't take my word for it. Hit the streets, ask around or just go until you hear the sounds of awesomeness. No matter what, you're sure to find great music and a lively venue with everything you need for some lifelong memories.