The bars around the campus of the University of Cincinnati pack a little fuller on football game days, and there are some big ones involving the Bearcats this season.
UC plays at least five games on national television in 2019, including last week’s opener against UCLA on ESPN. The Bearcats’ game at Ohio State on Sept. 7 is another big one and the noon kickoff is set to be shown on ABC nationally (that’s WCPO 9 On Your Side locally).
On Sept. 14, the 124th Battle for the Victory Bell against Miami (Ohio) will air on ESPNU, and the home game against Central Florida on Oct. 4 will be broadcast on ESPN. A Nov. 29 game at Memphis will air on either ABC or ESPN.
Hot spots around campus and the Clifton area seem to be the places to go on game days. Here is a list of the best bars to find fellow Bearcats fans. (Hours listed are for Saturdays.)
Where: 113 W. McMillan St., Clifton
Open: 11 a.m.-1:30 a.m.
Why go here: With more than 40 beers on tap, 75-inch TVs and delicious New York-style pizza and wings, this is a great spot for those looking for a place other than the standard bar or sports grill. It’s right on campus, so it’s right around all the action -- people will be out and about to watch the game and the eatery is likely to draw a big crowd.
Cock & Bull
Where: 2801 Short Vine St., Clifton
Open: 11 a.m.-2:30 a.m. (kitchen closes at 11 p.m.)
Why go there: Cock & Bull is putting more emphasis on its gameday atmosphere this year, especially when the Ohio State game rolls around. It will open at 9 a.m. that day and offer a “tailgate giveaway” gift basket with grill items and other things. There are about 25 TVs, a traditional English pub menu, including award-winning fish and chips, and a wide selection of adult beverages.
Where: 161 Joe Nuxhall Way, The Banks
Open: 11 a.m.-2:30 a.m.
Why go there: For those downtown and around The Banks, the Holy Grail is the best spot for sports fans to catch a game in a fun atmosphere. It is opening an hour early Sept. 7 to give you plenty of time to pre-game for the UC-Ohio State game. Holy Grail has more than 30 TVs and offers affordable, upscale bar cuisine with a menu featuring burgers, pizzas and sandwiches. Buy a bucket of five bottles on special for $15 most game days.
Hop Scotch Craft Beer and Whiskey Bar
Where: 251 Calhoun St., Clifton
Phone: 513-242-BEER (2337)
Opens: 4 p.m.-2 a.m.
Why go here: The former Brass Tap won’t be open for some of the earlier games, but it could be a spot for post-game celebrating and later kickoffs. It is now a craft beer and whiskey bar that also features a gourmet grilled cheese menu to put a fun twist on a childhood favorite sandwich. The drink menu features 60 beers on draft, more than 200 bottled beers and at least 100 whiskeys. Hop Scotch is family friendly until 9 p.m.
Keystone Bar & Grill
Where: 249 Calhoun St., Clifton
Open: 10 a.m.-2 a.m.
Why go here: Right across from campus, Keystone is a hopping place on weekends, especially around game time. There are 12 TVs, plenty of space and the Grill is known for its specialty skillet mac and cheese and other comfort foods. Come early on Saturdays for brunch and $16 mimosa pitchers and hand-crafted Bloody Marys. Happy hour is 3-7 p.m.
Mac's Pizza Pub
Where: 205 W. McMillan St., Clifton
Opens: 10 a.m.-2 a.m. (kitchen closes at 11 p.m.)
Why go there: Enjoy a classic pizza done right or try something new like the award-winning Chicago Gyro pizza while you watch the game. It’s a family-friendly option but a hit with college students, too. There are usually gameday specials, so be sure to check those out.
Where: 2634 Short Vine St., Clifton
Open: 11 a.m.-1 a.m. (kitchen closes at 11 p.m.)
Why go there: This relaxed local pizza chain, serving classic and stuffed pies, hoagies and calzones, is a great option for fans of any age, and the location in Clifton does it up on game days. Mio’s offers gameday specials, which in the past have included $3.50 Bud Light and Budweiser aluminum bottles, $10 Absolutely Trashed Fish Bowls, $3 Jager shots, $3 Fireballs and $2 Labatt Blue and High Life bottles.
Where: 4831 Spring Grove Ave., Spring Grove Village
Open: 11:30 a.m.-midnight
Why go here: The Den Tailgate group often holds a watch party at the Brewpourium, and Taft’s turns all the TVs to Cincinnati Bearcats football on college gamedays. It will be doing a special for the game against OSU on Sept. 7: Every time UC scores a touchdown all pints of beer will be half-priced until the next Bearcats possession. This may continue throughout the season so be sure to ask about it on gamedays. This lively venue features craft brews and specialty pies in an industrial-style space with plenty of room for a crowd.
The St. Clair
Where: 245 Calhoun St., Clifton
Open: 4 p.m.-2:30 a.m. (opens early on some gamedays)
Why go here: Another spot on campus, the St. Clair is a big draw for UC fans with its outdoor, dog-friendly terrace and 75-person main bar room, three flat-screen TVs and a celebratory atmosphere perfect for watch and victory parties. Saturday specials include $3 Green Tea shots and $6 Bud Light pitchers starting at 8 p.m.