Top 5 Sports Bars in Cincinnati

Don’t overlook a trip to Cincinnati for a sports vacation. You can plan a Southern Ohio trip to catch a game or even to visit the amazing Reds Hall of Fame and Museum.

Whatever your reason for visiting The Queen City, these sports bars can help you enjoy your stay.

Remember the key factors in making a great sports bar:

  1. Atmosphere
  2. Quality drinks
  3. Excellent food
  4. Great customer service
  5. Proximity to sporting events

All five are important, and like the fingers on Johnny Bench’s Hall of Fame hand, each is important.

List The Best Sports Bars in Cincinnati:

1. Knockback Nats

There are few items that go together as well as sports and wings, and Knockback Nats has the best wings in Ohio. You heard me.

If you delight in the feeling of a wet nap between your fingers and a warm, full tummy, then this is your place. Flap your arms and get your chicken-wing-luvin’ lips to this downtown Cincy drink/food destination. You’ll love manhandling these amazing smoked wings at Knockback Nats.

How do you know the fine people at Nats want you to stay a while? When you sit down they place a heaping basket of homecooked popcorn on the table. Some folks come back just for the kernels.

One quibble: the regular order of wings is only 5-7 pieces. Most hungry humans will need to double up that order. Don’t be afraid – no one will make fun of you.

REAL CUSTOMER REVIEW:

“These really are some very impressive wings. Smokey with a great depth of flavor, these wings are a demonstration of how good wings can truly be.” — John M. (via Yelp)

  • Located on 10 W. Seventh St., Downtown
  • Open until 2:30 AM like a real neighborhood bar
  • Google Reviews: 4.5 out of 5.0
  • Yelp: 4.0 out of 5.0
  • Order the Smoked Wings

2. The Holy Grail Tavern and Grille

This is best for ticket-holding fans on their way to the game. The Holy Grail Tavern and Grille is not especially unique (standing inside it feels like you could be in any of 100 cities), but it checks all the boxes for a sports bar.

Large-screen TVs? Check.

Big burger platters? Check.

Hometown team paraphernalia on the walls? Check.

Obnoxious and/or excited fans under one roof? Check and check.

CUSTOMER RECOMMENDATION:

“This is the best burger downtown, period.” — Geoff T.

  • Located at 161 Joe Nuxhall Way, across from Great American Ballpark
  • Adjacent to Streetcar Stion (hop on, hop off)
  • Google Reviews: 4.0 out of 5.0 (more than 1,000 reviews)
  • More from Yelp

3. O’Malley’s in the Alley

Sounds like a place where Norm and Cliff would have hung out if they had lived in Cincy instead of Boston. O’Malley’s in the Alley is no-nonsense, clean, and staffed with knowledgeable bartenders who make you feel like you’re part of the family.

Here’s what the bar says about itself on their website and social media:

Long-standing Irish pub offering sports on TV & classic bar fare such as burgers & sandwiches.

Yeah, take that complexity. Just pop in, angle yourself toward a TV, order a pint, and enjoy the Bengals beating the Browns.

Some people call this a dive bar, some people call it elusive, others call it heaven. O’Malley’s is tucked away between Race and Vine streets, and is self-proclaimed as the “second-oldest pub in the city.” Not sure who is older, but no one could be quirkier and more fun.

  • Located at 25 West Ogden Place
  • Google Reviews: 4.0 out of 5.0
  • Yelp Reviews: 4.0 out of 5.0

4. Yard House

Hat tip to Yard House as the best place for the hipster, Gen-X beer lovers who want a more modern atmosphere. This is the type of place that has a gift shop, where you can buy a frisbee with the logo on it, and so on.

You have to try the Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich. Let’s break that down to explain the thorough nature of this place – it’s “hot” and crispy pieces of “chicken,” as well as a heaping sandwich. Oh, and the chicken recipe is stolen from Nashville, where the phrase “chicken-fried” is basically foreplay.

Expert visitor tip: If it’s game day or a Friday night, expect a long wait for a table.

A REAL CUSTOMER RECOMMENDATION:

” Blackened Shrimp Taco is the best, but I haven’t had a bad taco yet.” — Tia M. via email

  • Located at 95 E. Freedom Way, Cincinnati
  • Has many vegetarian options on the menu
  • Yelp Reviews: 3.5 out of 5.0

5. Rhinehaus

A downtown bar that loves sports so much it’s become the de facto European football (U.S. soccer) bar in Cincinnati. Rhinehaus is the place to proudly don your team scarf and take a seat for English Premier League action. The bar has 14 TV’s and a large beer menu, many of them on-tap.

This is the type of place that you’d think the local curmudgeons frequent. Where the editor of the newspaper, the guy who drives the street sweeper, the woman who teaches fifth grade but secretly has a Guinness fetish, hangs out – and you’ll love it.

Food? Rhinehaus has personal pizzas and wings, as well as a burger. But they also encourage you to bring food in if you want something else. As long as you keep adding to your bar tab.

CUSTOMER RECOMMENDATION:

“No frills, but clean, comfortable, and friendly. Tons of TVs and sports packages to show just about anything. Seems to be a good soccer following here, and they have access to FIFA games.” — Devon A, via Yelp Reviews

  • Located at 119 E Twelfth St.
  • Google Reviews: 4.6 out of 5.0
  • Bring your own food orders
      About the Author

      Dan Holmes

      Dan Holmes has written three books about sports. He previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He enjoys writing, running, and lemon bars. He lives near Lake Michigan with his daughters and usually has an orange cream soda nearby.