"Sometimes you want to goArnold's Bar and Grill - Cincinnati

Where everyone knows your name

And they're always glad you came"

Do you remember the theme song for "Cheers?"  You can't help but know you've arrived at Cincinnati's version of the Boston bar, Cheers, when you enter the doors of Arnold's Bar and Grill in downtown Cincinnati.  The oldest saloon in the City of Cincinnati, Arnold's was opened in 1861. You'll find it at 210 E. Eighth Street.

The buildings - actually two buildings - are even older than that.  They were originally built in 1848 and housed a barbershop and feed store.  The courtyard behind the feed store served as a stable and carriage house.

When Simon Arnold opened the saloon, he and his family lived above the bar.  This was common in those days when everyone crammed into the basin area created by the hills of Mt. Adams, Mt. Auburn, Clifton, Fairview, Price Hill and the Ohio River.  Everyone struggled to catch their breath in the coal dust- clogged air and lived close to where they worked and could get necessities.

Times have changed.  Local legend says that the bathtub on display upstairs was there for making gin during Prohibition...or perhaps its strange location is due to the fact that when the buildings were built in 1848, no one had ever thought indoor plumbing was a possibility.  Women were banned from bars back then, but times changed even more when they won the right to vote; they could come in the front door.  Beer costs more, too.

So, imagine living back in those days, and you'll realize why the new downtown residents, urbanites of today, love a place like Arnold's.  They have all the alcohol - beer on tap, wine and spirits -you could imagine in their stocked bar.  Plus the food is good, something not all bars can say. I can count on the salads to be fresh and my husband always wants something containing their homemade Italian tomato sauce.

Arnold's Bar and Grill - CincinnatiThe bar itself is a handsome example of the woodworking abilities available in the 1880's.  It's stately walnut style is commonly referred to as Eastlake furniture. You'll find a special ambiance of wood booths for dining in the original building.  Or you could go out to the courtyard where an urban oasis awaits.  The courtyard that once housed the horses now is covered over and heated to use year round.  This space is used both for dining and as a music and theater venue.Arnold's Bar and Grill - Cincinnati

Music is one more reason the neighborhood shows up.  It is always a surprise what band or group might be there, but it consistently leans towards the folksy/bluesy side of music.  Probably the band you'll hear most often is the Cincinnati Dancing Pigs, appropriately playing the first Saturday of each month in the city whose mascot is a pig.

You might also be surprised at who you see there.  Maybe it is the Playhouse or Symphony crowd, before or after a show.  At lunch you'll see lawyers straight from a courthouse trial mixed in with P&G'ers. Other times it will be filled with those who came especially to hear their favorite band.

Today's owners (they call themselves "stewards of the restaurant"), are Ronda and Bret Androski.  They'll be glad you came.  You'll be glad, too.