CINCINNATI – The best part of spring and summer for me is the opportunity to sit on a patio with a drink or a meal and enjoy the good weather.
Cincinnati has some tremendous patios. Here are nine of my favorites.
The Famous Neons Unplugged. It's probably the most popular patio in the city. Whether you hang out there after work with a beer, eat brunch from Melt or tacos from Mazunte, or bring your dog for trivia night, this is the patio on which all other local patios are judged. It's a great place to while away the day — or night. 208 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine; wellmannsbrands.com/neons
Rhinegeist. Climb to the rooftop of this local brewery and get a view of what Over-the-Rhine must have looked like in the 1800s and 1900s. This place will be hopping all summer, so sit back and sip a Cougar or Truth with friends from around the city. Want to find out if it's open? Head to Rhinegeist's Rooftop page: www.rhinegeist.com/rooftop/. 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine
Pleasantry. New restaurant Pleasantry is in a mostly residential corner of Over-the-Rhine near Washington Park. It currently only serves breakfast and brunch, but you can have both on the patio, which feels like home. (I plan on eating the "everything" biscuit, with cream cheese and smoked salmon, regularly on that patio while reading a book.) 118 W. 15th St., Over-the-Rhine; http://www.pleasantryotr.com
Quarter Bistro. Want something a little less casual? Quarter Bistro on Mariemont Square is a great place to have a romantic meal. Order the guacamole, lobster and truffle mac and cheese or steak frites with a glass of the signature sangria while you watch the goings-on of gorgeous Mariemont. It's great for people-watching (and great eating, too). 6904 Wooster Pike, Mariemont; http://www.qbcincy.com
Krueger's Tavern. With the only rooftop patio in the Gateway Quarter, Krueger's is a hot ticket. Sidle up to the bar for a Gin and Juice or a craft beer, or snag a seat at a table and get a burger or beer cheese. It's a great way to enjoy brunch or close down an evening under the stars. 1211 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine; http://www.kruegerstavern.com
Northside Yacht Club. Northside Yacht Club's two-deck patio is an urban oasis. Try the famous wings, brunch poutine or simply a cocktail from the outdoor bar while listening to live music. The second floor is a little more secluded and offers some great views of Northside. 4231 Spring Grove Ave., Northside; northsideyachtclub.com
Kreimer's Bier Haus. Head a little west to Cleves for Kreimer's, which has one of the best patios in the area (and some of the best steak values, too). Hear a live band on the weekend, get drinks at the multiple outside bars or just savor a delicious steak and all of the fixings underneath the covered dining area. It's a hidden gem that's cherished by the West Side, and it should be a destination for the rest of the area. 6052 State Route 128, Cleves; http://www.bierhauswest.net
Cheapside Café. For breakfast or lunch, sit on this sunny patio and eat your sandwich or salad, or if you're lucky, you can sit in the shady teepee (seats two to four) and get slivers of the sun instead of all of its rays. Try the espresso chinotto, made with espresso and house-made tonic water. Weird? Yes. Delicious? Totally. 326 E. Eighth St., Downtown; cheapsidecafe.com
Ludlow Bromley Yacht Club. It's one of the most fun places on the river. Not only can you have a drink and watch boats go by, you can get a good meal there, too. It has specials every night, ranging from kebab night to pork chop night to steak night. 860 Elm St., Ludlow, Kentucky. http://www.ludlowbromleyyachtclub.com/index.html
Bonus. Washington Park's patio, while not regularly available for meals, is a great place to take a picnic. (Get food from local spots like Picnic and Pantry or take-out from the Eagle or Taste of Belgium.) Eat while taking in the sights of people and the fountains. You can buy a local beer to drink while you're there, too!
What's your favorite patio in Cincinnati? Tweet me at @winemedineme!