Editor’s note: As of 2018, this restaurant has now closed.
208 East 12th St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202
The Famous Neons Unplugged; Cincinnatians simply call it “Neons” and it’s an Over-the-Rhine bar that has contributed to the city’s vibrant downtown scene. You know the spot for its massive patio, with outside bars and jenga block towers, as well as the comfortable second story, where pool tables and couches make for a more intimate scene. There’s a ton going on at this place. So much so that you might not even notice there’s a food menu. There is one. And it’s great.
The spot does not offer a ton of food options; it has Eli’s BBQ brought in occasionally and sometimes Taste513. But on Sundays there is a brunch option on the porch with a grill brought out for some interesting breakfast foods. And one very famous drink that is worth a mention.
- The Bloody Mary. Another Food Critic doesn’t review mixed drinks most of the time, but the Bloody Mary has landed a shout out in CityBeat magazine recently and it’s one of the best Bloody Mary drinks I have ever tasted. For $7 it’s got a ton of different things in the mix; lime juice, tomato, and other things. It’s from Hoosier Mama, but the most interesting thing about it is the skewer on top; often with fruits, veggies and meats local to the area. Oh, and all of it is naturally-sourced.
- “Mama’s Spice” Margarita: Tequila, Lime, Ancho Reyes, Honey, Housemade Lavender Ginger Bee. Strong! But smooth.
- “Not Eggs Benedict”: This is an interesting thing. Indeed it is a pair of over-easy eggs topping an English muffin. Instead of a Hollandaise sauce to top it though, it’s topped with a beer cheese and some very thick-cut bacon. Plenty for one person. Huge and delicious.
- Burger: Topped with an egg however you like it. The burger is a half-pound patty topped with veggies. The meat is smoky and the cheese on top hits home.
The service here is great. If you know the place you probably know it for the bar scene and it’s pretty active on those nights. On Sunday mornings when food is served the place is more low key but it does pick up fast. A lot of people love Neon’s for its porch and for its great games. But the food here isn’t to be overlooked.
Neons is a hot spot in Cincinnati, not only for its location so close to Over-the-Rhine’s trendy bar scene, but also for the drinks and experience you get here. Pay it a visit.
- The food is served only on Sundays, but what you’ll taste here for breakfast is exceptional, definitely worth a visit.
- The Bloody Mary isn’t a mixed drink I frequent, but I’ve come to love this one for its massive number of ingredients. Might suggest you give it a try, but I warn you that one will fill you up pretty fast.
- The outdoor patio is the place to be here. Space there can be limited, especially on busier nights, but it’s still worth it.