Take a tour of Cincinnati’s lively social scene as we present the best happy hours in the city, which offer a delightful blend of atmosphere and flavors. Cincinnati offers a wide range of locations where the happy hour experience goes above and beyond the typical, from hip downtown businesses to undiscovered treasures in quaint neighborhoods. Discover inventive concoctions, handcrafted beers, and mouthwatering bites that encapsulate the vibrant spirit of Queen City. Whether you’re looking for a classy rooftop bar with views of the city skyline or a laid-back location with a local flare, our guide will lead you to the best places for happy hours, where the excitement of exploration and the joy of shared experiences collide.
Located in the heart of On-the-Rhine District, which locals refer to simply as OTR, 16-Bit Bar +Arcade is a veritable adult playground, with over 50 vintage arcade games along with an equally extensive list of cocktails, beer, and mocktails. The large multi-story interior has industrial-chic décor and every possible arcade game plus a bocce ball court and bowling alley. Happy Hour is on weekdays until 7 pm, with discounts on all beer, cocktails, and wine. They have 36 different artisanal beers on tap, not to mention another dozen cans that you can also grab to-go. I loved the Pinball Wizard cocktail, with blueberry vodka, elderflower, ginger ale, and fresh blueberries.
As indicated by its name, rhinehaus is another OTR favorite, located a couple of blocks from the historic Old St. Mary’s Church. Rhinehaus pays homage to its predecessor Rhino’s Pub by using its name in almost every cocktail title. Their mission is to create an all-inclusive Cincinnati sports bar experience where customers can enjoy friendly service while watching their favorite sports on any of rhinehaus’ 14 giant flat-screen TVs. Happy Hour is daily at rhinehaus with discounts on draft beers, cocktails, and their delicious shot menu. I loved the Washington Rhino shot with a fireball, sour apple schnapps, and cranberry juice. They have around 18 craft beers on tap and over 25 cans.
Queen City Exchange
Queen City Exchange is a hip, modern sports bar with exposed brick walls, cool urban murals, and minimalist décor. Located a few blocks from the Cincinnati Art Museum teetering between OTR and the Central Business District, Queen City Exchange has the best prices in town, basing its beer selection on customer demand. Local and national press voted Queen City Exchange the most affordable sports bar in Cincinnati, making their Happy Hour an even cheaper option. They have 41 craft and commercial beers on tap, not to mention dozens of canned beer and hard seltzers. Their massive cocktail menu has classics as well as dangerously delicious alcoholic slushies.
Unwind Wine Bar & Light Fare
Overlooking Hyde Park Square in Hyde Park, Unwind Wine Bar and Light fare is a charming rustic-chic wine bar with a beautiful courtyard and a stone and wood interior with a large fireplace. The lovely atmosphere, delicious wine selection, small plates, and unbeatable Happy Hour have won various reader’s choice awards including best Happy Hour and Best Spot for a First Date. Happy Hour is from 4-7 pm Tuesdays through Fridays with significant discounts on bottles, wine by the glass, and small plates. They make delicious pesto flatbread, and they also have hummus, dips, artisanal cheese boards, and decadent desserts.
The Righteous Room
A favorite spot for creatives and young professionals alike The Righteous Room is an artsy, edgy bar located across the street from Aronoff Center for the Arts. The interior bar room is a ritzy all-red and leather lounge with giant art pieces from well-known local artists, opening out into a giant outdoor lounge with live DJ sets for dancing. Happy Hours are from 4-8 pm Monday through Saturday, with half off all drinks. They have an extensive cocktail and beer list. I loved their creative cocktails, my favorite being the Chocolate, Spice, and Everything Nice cocktail with sweet vermouth, angostura bitters, Xocolatl bitters, and luxardo cherry syrup. It tasted like a boozy cherry cordial.
Lost & Found OTR
Lost and Found is the OTR’s funkiest, most festive spot. Its incredible bar and dining space is a veritable work of urban pop art. Lost and Found’s awesome interior, clever, expertly crafted drinks and delicious bar fare has been featured in countless Cincinnati press including Cincinnati Magazine, Hoodline, City Beat, and Local 12. Happy Hour—which they refer to as “Easy Hour”— is on weekdays from 4-7 pm and weekends from 2-5 pm, with cheap beer, wine, and cocktail pitchers along with discounted sandwich meals. Their amazing menu features some pretty over-the-top gourmet sandwiches and salads. I loved their Cubano, with mojo pork, cottage ham, swiss, pickles, and whole grain mustard on Cuban bread, pressed to a crisp.
Japp’s – Since 1879
Run by master mixologist Molly Wellmann, Japp’s is a popular OTR haunt that pays homage to John and Lena Japp whose famed hair salon and wig store is now a hip cocktail bar. Ms. Wellmann upholds the history of Japp’s not just with artifacts and history lessons around the bar from the original wig store, but also with her own podcast in which she recounts the history of a cocktail for each episode. There’s live music on weekends, and the daily Happy Hour offers discounts on certain cocktails and beer. Cocktails are incredible, and everything you’d expect from a bar owned and run by a master mixologist. I recommend the Espresso Martini with vodka, cold brew coffee, vanilla, and Kahlua coffee liqueur.
Located inside a beautifully preserved historic first-floor lounge in Cincinnati’s iconic Lackman building in the OTR’s Gateway District, The Lackman is a classy yet friendly cocktail, beer, and wine bar. The exposed brick walls, original tile floors, massive handmade chandeliers, and old-school green leather booths make it a charming atmosphere to enjoy expertly crafted cocktails, a unique wine list, and craft beers. Happy Hours are on weekdays from 4-6 pm with discounts on draft beers, wine, and well drinks. They also have a daily Miller High Life special for a cheap tallboy and a shot.
Why should you trust us?
We use our own local experience and contacts in the city to know which places to include in our lists. We also researched the web and read 6 reputable blogs and websites, including downtowncincinnati.com, copelandsjax.com, citybeat.com, everythingcincyblog.com, ultimatehappyhours.com and liquorlaboratory.com. So that you can be sure you’re receiving the best of the best. We compiled all the results in one spot and ranked them according to how frequently they were referenced.