Keystone Bar & Grill

3384 Erie Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45208
websiteThe Keystone (Cincinnati, OH)4 stars

The Keystone Bar is a small chain in the Cincinnati area, currently with three locations. All of the locations have a very sophisticated-feeling interior, low-lit with fancy woodwork, and all-in-all it might look like an upscale bar when you first walk in. Not to be trite, the Keystone has a very cool twist: They specialize in mac and cheese. Yes, this is a bar you go to to enjoy a few beers and watch a game like so many other corners of the Queen City, but if you’re here, you’d better have a craving for some seriously hearty pasta and cheese concoctions.

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The mac and cheese dishes here are the most famous, each is a bowl topped with a ton of ingredients and piled high with the cheese. I’m really drawn to the B.B. King by virtue of my love of barbecue. That one’s filled with grilled chicken, barbecue sauce and some bacon for good measure. It’s a great combination! At nine bucks, it’s pretty fairly priced, too, considering it’s definitely two meals of food. I also liked the Fleetwood Mac, mozzarella, pesto, and tomatoes. It’s got a nice freshness and a definite Italian flavor to it, but it’s also got that heartiness that comes with a good, thick mac and cheese dish.

The menu has a number of other bar food type items; the quesadillas have their own menu, and of course you can grab a burger if you’re so inclined. I like the chips and salsa myself, because the chips are made with those wonderful crispy flatbreads that add layers to the crunch. That was great.

So, I’ve since looked around about the place online, and I found that it got a lot of flak for bad service, particularly in the 2011 and early 2012 time. Myself, I didn’t experience service that was explicitly bad. It may have been a tad slower than your average place, but nothing worth mentioning. I also don’t know that anyone was explicitly rude or unkind to me. With so many reviews noting this, I thought it would be important to say that it just hasn’t been the experience I’ve had. It leads me to believe some changes have been made in the restaurant and this area may have been improved.

All told, it’s a pretty good place to get a bowl of mac an cheese, and you may be inclined to grab a beer to go along with that, too. It’s cool to see such a creative take on the classic mac dish.


  • People come here for the macaroni and cheese options and the quesadillas seem to be highly promoted here, too.
  • The parking is at a premium. If you can park on the street, I recommend it.
  • I’ve heard rumors of bad service, but myself I can’t validate them.

Keystone Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon


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