The Oak Tavern
Cincinnati Ohio, 45209 513.321.6258 website
A watering hole that serves eastern Cincinnati, Ohio, The Oak Tavern is right along the Madison Road stretch of Oakley. Popular as a neighborhood spot to watch good football and a little grub to go along with it. Visit on game day or later at night, and you’re likely to find a crowd of Reds fans, Bengals fans or general sports junkies. The bar fare is so often so good, but the other things, the little things, whittle away at the experience.
The bar food is pretty typical, burgers and wings, soups salads and sandwiches. The wings seem to be well-liked, they come in about a dozen different sauces. The chicken club seems to be pretty popular when I’ve been there. The burgers are good, too, the patties are made in-house and topped liberally with delicious ingredients, I’m personally a fan of “The Big Mike” burger, which is topped with a smokey bacon, onion rings, barbecue sauce and cheddar cheese. It’s the right combination of ingredients, and the 6-ounce burger is huge.
Four or five times I’ve visited Oak Tavern, though, and I’m sorry to say the experience with the service hasn’t impressed me. Not to say it’s rude or mean or anything, but the staff is inattentive. When you order food, expect it to take a long time to come out. Then you’ll have a hard time finding them again. Not to refill water or get you a bill. Late at night, whether there’s a rush or not, drink orders take a long time to fill. The music can be pretty loud too; it’s left on sometimes at “Saturday Night” volume during the day, and it’s also been known to be played even when the game is on. Sort of strange little nitpicks, I know, but it’s a good bet they’re the little kind of things that would quickly annoy a new prospective patron.
The Oak has a lot of decent items on the menu, so it does have something going for it. But I’ve never had a good experience with the service, and it’s the little things like that which erode away at the experience. I like the Oak as a night destination, and in fact I would even say maybe that’s the best way to experience the bar. But I can’t say the same about the dining experience.
- The burgers are good, as are the sandwiches.
- This place can be packed on weekend nights and during games, at which point expect service to slow down markedly.
- There are also a lot of good microbrews on the menu.