West End Ciderhouse

What used to be more of a quiet events venue on the western edge of Athens has been transformed into a public gathering space for the first time in years. And it’s about time; Athens’ west end doesn’t have a lot of restaurants or hang out places if you live there — as I did for two years — and there wasn’t a lot to draw people around campus and to the east this far away. Now that’s changed. This spot isn’t just a bar, but also kind of a hang-out space, a little more low-key than what you will find uptown on Court Street. That’s a nice thing, especially during the day, and especially when you need somewhere to relax a little bit.

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Rhinegeist Brewery

Maybe the most high-profile Cincinnati-based craft brewer to result from the recent beer boom, Rhinegeist has quickly gained a statewide following in the few years since it was set up thanks to wide distribution and canning of beer that has brought many kinds across the state. True to form, the brewer itself opened up shop in a historic Over-The-Rhine warehouse once home to the Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. With a nod to that history, and the German character that helped bring this neighborhood to life in its time, the brewery’s open and welcoming beer hall is an experience by itself.

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Citilites

As the resident restaurant serving the Schuster Performing Arts Center in downtown Dayton, Citilites (pronounced ‘city lights,’ it took me a few tries to figure out) is a class establishment. For performances, it hosts both lunches and dinners, but the store is most popular during the work day, as a spot for business meetings among the downtown companies. It’s got a variety of foods for a variety of customers, and the menu seems to change regularly. Generally though, it’s upscale dining, served best with a nice glass of wine. Odds are, if you’re from the local business community, you’ve attended a few big events in this restaurant.

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Eclipse Coffee & Tea

A new coffee concept opened this past June and serving Kettering in central Dayton, Eclipse Coffee & Tea is a small family owned coffee shop with a pretty simple charm. The midnight-themed little shop looks unassuming from the outside, but once you sit down to give it a try, you’ll find it’s a pleasant place to linger, to try a unique cup of coffee and enjoy the small business ambiance. There are an infinite number of chains and corporte-feeling places along Wilmington Pike. It’s sort of an intangible charm; the kind you can’t feel until you set foot inside.

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Winan’s Fine Chocolates & Coffees

Downtown Troy is chock full of nice little stores and shops that sell just about anything you could imagine. Really, it’s the epitome of the pleasant, old-fashioned main street. So it’s easy to spot a place like Winian’s Fine Chocolates and Coffees, just a stone’s throw from the town square. The store’s six locations are all similarly located in nice areas of the towns between Dayton and Columbus, and they sell fancy, artisan java product alongside a delicious variety of candies. Sweet and indulgent. Besides, coffee and chocolate goes hand-in-hand, right?

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