Here are nine new places to check out for a good time -- and they would make fine choices for entertaining visiting family, too!
Overlook Lodge: 6083 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge
This new bar in Pleasant Ridge, which opened earlier this month, is named and themed after the Overlook Lodge from Stephen King’s “The Shining,” but there’s nothing to fear: It’s rustic, retro and boasts a dynamic bar menu, featuring craft beers and cocktails. (They even make their own syrups and infusions in-house.) The space definitely invokes a 1970s lodge vibe, with low wooden seats and full banquette seating, and features decorative hints to the film. (In fact, it just made MTV’s list of “The 7 Coolest Movie-Themed Bars You Need To Visit On Thanksgiving Eve.”
Inspirado: 715 Madison Ave., Covington
Is your date an experimental eater who always is looking for a new culinary adventure? Baron Shirley, formerly of Maribelle's, Senate and Jean-Robert's Table, opened Inspirado, a multicultural restaurant and art gallery, in September in Covington. Take in the art while sampling dishes such as laksa (a Malaysian noodle dish), lumpia (Filipino-style egg rolls) or chorizo fundido.
Pacific Kitchen: 8300 Market Place Lane, Montgomery
Cincinnati has seen an explosion of new, quality Asian restaurant choices in the past few years, but we still like old favorites. One of those, Pacific Moon, has returned. Owner Michael Ly has relaunched the restaurant as the Pacific Kitchen, offering a modern, pan-Pacific twist on Asian cuisine. Expect to eat not only Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese, but other Pacific cuisines as well, including Indonesian and Singaporean.
Son & Soil: 627 Main St., Covington
Clean-living café Son & Soil has been open in MainStrasse Village since only September and has already started to impact people’s appetites. Husband-and-wife duo Stephen and Jessica Williams own and run the daytime eatery. (They also own the award-winning farm-to-table restaurant Bouquet a mere block away.) Son & Soil serves cold-pressed juices, fresh smoothies and sandwiches, such as the spicy club – turkey, avocado mousse, burnt carrot, arugula and mornay sauce on Sixteen Bricks rye bread. Yum!
Angst Coffeehouse and Pub: 2437 Gilbert Ave., Walnut Hills
Ron Reblando, owner of Angst Coffeehouse and Pub in Walnut Hills, owned and operated Angst 20 years ago before having to close it in 1999 to focus on his family. Now, he and his wife, Nicole, are giving it a second chance. Angst, which held its grand reopening in October, has a hyperlocal focus – all beers are local and the coffee beans are sourced from independent Cincinnati companies such as Coffee Emporium and La Terza.
O Pie O: 1527 Madison Road, East Walnut Hills
For fans of O Pie O, the artisanal pie-making endeavor founded in 2014, the summer of 2015 meant a long wait. The business had announced its cafe would open in East Walnut Hills in the first quarter of 2015. But there were delays, so pie lovers had to be satisfied with carryout, lining up in Findlay Market to pick up honey vinegar pies or concord grape pies. Finally in September, O Pie O opened its storefront, serving savory pies, sweet pies, and wine and beer.
The Chocolate Bee: 4037 Hamilton Ave., Northside
Circuses, cakes and chocolate are just three ingredients that have gone into the creation of the Chocolate Bee, the sweetest little shop to open in Northside this year. Shalini Latour, owner of Chocolats Latour, partnered with Samantha Gordon of Bee Haven Honey to open the shop. Latour combines herbs like rosemary and lavender, and spices like chili, curry, and turmeric into dark chocolate bars, truffles and shaped candies. Her newest creations? Hand-painted chocolate bees filled with dark chocolate ganache and honey.
Cobb Luxury 15 & CinéBistro at Liberty Center: 7514 Bales St., Liberty Township
“Eating New York strip and chicken wings while sitting in a recliner watching 007 on the big screen -- so much machismo, it's oozing out of my pores.”
That was the first impression entertainment reporter Brian Mains shared after his first visit to the Cobb Luxury 15 & CinéBistro at Liberty Center. The 100,000-square-foot theater, which opened Nov. 5, offers two distinct viewing sections, cutting-edge digital movie-watching technology, and the “CinéBistro,” which offers fine dining (think entrées like filet mignon), a lounge and full-service bar. The CinéBistro section of the theater features reclining loveseats with fold-out tables, where staff serves guests four-course meals at their seats within 30 minutes of ordering.
Eastgate Brew & View: 4450 Eastgate Blvd., Eastgate
The locally owned Esquire Theatre group entered new territory Nov. 20 with the opening of its fourth cinema, the Eastgate Brew & View. The Brew & View offers movie-goers full food service, including items such as chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, poutine mac and cheese and desserts, more than 30 craft beers on tap and a wide array of mixed drinks delivered to patrons' seats.