Setting up shop in the nice Bucktown neighborhood in northern Chicago, AMK is a nice, more modern bar with a focus on good American cuisine, cocktails and whiskeys. The memorable interior of the bar gives way to a solid menu of good sandwiches, small plates and pizza. Make a point to grab a cocktail before you get your meal, it’s a bit of a pricier place, but the experience is worth it. This kitchen is a perfect one to try on a date or out with a few friends.
A definite modern take on a very beloved Midwestern cooking style can be found in the middle of Cincinnati’s Over-The-Rhine neighborhood in Pointiac BBQ and Bourbon Bar. The street has brought forth many interesting concepts in the past few years with a contemporary flare, but one with a special focus on something as dear to the city as barbecue is rarer and more ambitious. This spot is great for its bevy of good drinks and the food deserves a definite tasting.
As downtown Nashville has exploded and vibrancy has spread to nearby Midtown, many new restaurants and businesses have found their way into the city’s core. This has been bad for some venues as the competition has stepped up, and some have folded entirely. But it has also shown some of the bigger and better places which have survived, and continued to serve Music City. The Row, a music venue and barbecue joint, is hard to forget. Even for a city known for its smoked meats, this one rises far.
A remote bar evoking a mountain lodge hideaway along the New York border, Pine Junction is popular both with locals and with the guests of the nearby resort areas like Findley Lake and skiing resorts of the nearby mountains. This bar is a bit off the beaten path, but its specialty is all about good hearty food and good drinks to keep you warm in the winter months or the chilly New York fall. Come to this getaway and you’ll quickly be filled with good food and good memories.
Although it is a chain of restaurants and beer halls centered around the Midwest, Hofbrauhaus brings the concept of the German beer hall to American cities. Each spot is set up as a large community gathering space; where long tables host many different groups of people and where live music, in-house-brewed beer and good food flows freely. The spot gets lively on weekends as big groups congregate for good times. But the food here, like the environment, is all German. The spot is an experience unlike what you’ll get in other places in town.
Now with over a dozen locations across the middle of the United States, Brothers Bar & Grill tends to locate one bar in each area, usually around the priciest scenes in town. It’s a sports bar concept that appeals to whichever local teams are most beloved, and brings a menu of decently priced food to bear. While it keeps the casual concept with full service, the spot draws a crowd on game day and its menu of bar grub seems to keep those crowds coming back.
One of the bars in the middle of Dayton’s Oregon District, Blind Bob’s is sort of a dive bar concept which tends to be popular with younger people and the Oregon District neighborhood. It’s a nightspot with a kitchen that is open late, but more importantly it’s a music venue. On top of that, Blind Bob’s is a family business run by an actually visually-impaired Bob Mendenhall, who just might be the friendliest person you’ll meet. The bar is easy to like, and the food is a pretty good plus.
The hilly Colerain Township of Cincinnati’s West Side is easy to get lost in, but travel the winding roads long enough, and you’ll run across a place like Vinoklet Winery. With an eye on quality dining, this spot makes a line of its own wines and also features many high-end events and music. It’s a serene environment, lost in the foothills, with a warm fireplace and low-lit dining spaces. I can’t think of a nicer place to bring a date.
Dublin Pub is a popular bar and nightspot forming the east anchor of downtown Dayton’s Oregon District, the Dublin Pub is an awesome place, a wide-open but dark interior, and ample porch with a great view of the nightlife nearby, and a huge stage for music. It’s a well-known hotspot.
As one of the flagship businesses of The Greene shopping center in east Dayton, The Pub is an attractive take on the English pub concept. The upscale restaurant sports a massive bar stocked to the gills with a varieties of beers, malt liquors, cocktails, and an abundance of English foods and dishes cooked and meant to be eaten with a good drink. There are a lot of great businesses in this area, and to be sure there is still competition in the bar scene, but The Pub may well be my favorite. It’s the kind of place where time and again, it will never fail to impress you.