Cincinnati nightlife for non-drinkers, does it exist? Due to the rise of the mocktail, it definitely does! Check out the best nightlife for non-drinkers this city has to offer…
We were pleasantly surprised by 16-Bit bar+ Arcade. We arrived about 6 PM on a weekend and the place was already hopping. I read that it gets super crowded around 9, so I was glad to get there early. There was mostly a mix of millennials and Gen-Xers. Overall, a very diverse crowd. We were looking forward to the free classic arcade games (free as long as you buy either an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink) and it did not disappoint!
The cool atmosphere and giant vintage posters were impressive, in addition to the 50+ old-school video game arcades (that rotate monthly). We had nostalgic fun playing Donkey Kong, Street Fighter, Pac-Man, and many more. We also saw PlayStation, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and Xbox games. The only activities that aren’t free, we discovered, are the 50-cent pinball machines.
The bar features drinks named after celebrities like Patrick Swayze, Lisa Simpson, and Cyndi Lauper. Draft root beer, soda, and mocktails are available. They come in really fun glasses that you can keep. In addition, you can bring in outside food, and your dog too if you want! Super fun!
Arnold’s Bar and Grill
After about an hour and a half, we left and headed over to Arnold’s Bar and Grill for dinner. This place is the oldest continuously operating tavern in Cincinnati (1861). There is a lot of interesting history here. I recommend making reservations before arriving. This is especially true if you want to sit where you can see/hear the live music. The outdoor courtyard is surrounded by a brick wall with a “front porch” music stage decorated with vintage signs. Space heaters are available in winter.
Alternatively, you may want to sit upstairs. The upper floor rooms are very unique and more private (you might even get to sit by the legendary bathtub used to hold gin during prohibition). Wherever you choose to sit, the food is great! We enjoyed everything we ordered. No mocktails here, but they offer soda and water. Try the Crispy Brussels! See events here. That wrapped up our “Cincinnati nightlife for non-drinkers” experience. We had a great time!
Other places to check out include:
Pins Mechanical Company: Have more old-school fun playing pinball, foosball, duckpin, ping pong, or bocce ball at this fun bar which offers lots of non-alcoholic options. Be aware, kids are welcome until 8 PM. Multiple locations. Find events here.
MOCKTAILS (Keep The Glass) – $7
FRUIT PUNCH + LEMONADE + SPRITE
JUICE BOX HERO
PINEAPPLE + ORANGE + GRENADINE
LEMONADE + CRANBERRY JUICE + SPRITE
SPRITE + GRENADINE + CHERRY
Japps: Japp’s offers drinks in a relaxed, eclectic, yet polished setting. Fresh homemade ingredients are in the drink recipes dating from the 1700′s to the 1950′s. You will not find loud televisions, annoying Top 40 music, or tacky jello shots. Instead, you will get to listen to live Jazz, Swing, or Big Band music. For non-drinkers what you want to order is the Nonny of the Day. Molly will whip you up something special. Other non-alcoholic drinks include hot apple cider, coke, birch beer, tonic, and ginger beer. Find events here.
Homemakers Bar: This place describes itself as having a retro/modern atmosphere that feels like a house party. There are brightly painted rooms and vintage games and drinks named after ads from the ’50s. Seasonally, sit under garden lights outside in their back patio and sip spirit-free drinks and/or savor comfort food while listening to local musicians. The bar opens Fridays & Saturdays. See events, such as dancing, here.
SPARKLING REISLING | WEINGUT LEITZ NV | $11
FREE WAVE HAZY IPA | ATHLETIC BREWING | $6
SPIRITFREE COCKTAIL | $6 – $9
TOPO-CHICO | $3
FEVER TREE TONIC | $3
FEVER TREE GINGER ALE | $3
COKE, D. COKE, SPRITE | $2
The Comet: This place was recommended on a thread for non-drinkers. However, I couldn’t find much about it except that it was one of the original dive bars that made Cincinnati cool again. It serves the Gen-X crowd. See events here.
Louvino Restaurant & Wine Bar: A Midwestern wine bar chain with a “hip yet relaxed atmosphere” that offers southern-inspired cuisine and spirit-free cocktails.
LOUISVILLE’S SUNSET / pineapple / peach purée / cranberry / demerara
ZOO KEEPER / grapefruit / tonic / lime
For Night Owls
If you want to stay out after dinner, there is always the Ghost tour option! I found the following…
Thank you for visiting Cincinnati Nightlife for Non-drinkers! I hope you have a blast!