Chicken wings rule, and these 9 places serve the best

Posted at 11:00 AM, Jan 28, 2016
and last updated 2017-02-06 14:09:57-05

Wings, wings, wings. Whether they're fried, smoked or even baked, wings are one of the most popular party dishes around.

Here are my choices for the top nine places to get wings in Cincinnati, if you're watching football or any time you've got a craving.

Knockback Nat's: It's one of my favorite dives, it's great for football watching, and it also serves delicious smoked wings. They're smoked, then grilled, then sauced (with your choice of regular, barbecue, or XXX-hot). 10 W. 7th St., Downtown.

Pontiac: Pontiac's wings are a hidden gem. The rubbed and smoked wings are served alongside homemade ranch dressing. It's considered an appetizer, but it's easy to make them the focus of your meal. Pair them with some Grippo's-coated coleslaw and take them to go -- Pontiac's entire menu is very take-out friendly. 1403 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine.

Taft's Ale House: While Taft's specialty is beer and tri-tip steak (in a variety of preparations), its wings are stellar. Marinated in Nellie's Key Lime Caribbean Ale, deliciously spiced and drizzled with a slightly spicy mayonnaise-based sauce, these wings will require a napkin or two. (And to be washed down with more of that ale.) 1429 Race St., Over-the-Rhine.

Barleycorn's:This small Kentucky-based chain ranks based on its Doc Style wings: deep fried, tossed in sauce, then deep fried again for extra flavor. Barleycorn's also has a wide variety of sauces, from Parmesan-garlic to traditional mild, medium or hot Buffalo, and even a few trendier selections such as honey sriracha. It's a great place to watch the game in a traditional sports bar atmosphere, too. Multiple locations.

Buffalo Wings & Rings:This Cincinnati-based chain (which has been featured on "Undercover Boss"!) serves the wings a lot of Cincinnatians grew up with: traditional, deep-fried and spun in a variety of sauces. Try the bourbon barbecue, extra wet; the chain also serves boneless and chicken tender varieties. Multiple locations.

Lachey's:With myriad TVs and a constant ESPN feed, you expect Lachey's to have wings -- good ones -- and it doesn't disappoint. The 5 O'Clock wings, served with traditional, barbecue, spicy garlic or Asian sauce, can be ordered in increments of five. Pair with the Buffalo chicken dip. Trust us. 56 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine.

Northside Yacht Club:Northside Yacht Club serves sports-bar-worthy wings in a decidedly un-sports-bar-like atmosphere. They're smoked and then deep-fried and tossed with house-made sauces and blue cheese dressing. Try it with one of the draft beers or a frozen Negroni -- it's a nice play on usually too-sweet frozen drinks and is perfect for a yacht club. 4231 Spring Grove Ave., Northside.

SmoQ:This barbecue joint is known for its ribs (the St. Louis-style in particular are delicious, with a sweet-and-spicy crust), but its wings are stellar, too. They're smoked, deep-fried and tossed in hot sauce. No, you can't get your choice of sauces, but sometimes traditional is best. 275 Pictoria Drive, Springdale.

Dickmann's: For a side of sports with your wings (or a side of wings with your sports), head to Dickmann's in Fort Wright. It has lots of homemade sauces  -- from mild to barbecue to "barn burner hot" -- and any of the sauces can be made with garlic, too. (Garlic-barbecue is my favorite.) 479 Orphanage Road, Fort Wright.

Where do you get your favorite wings? Tell me on Twitter @winemedineme.