The end of my time in college was sad and is still missed, but the education we received opened up the world we live in. Jobs have begun to pull people to a handful of different places and regions. Friends and family of mine are spread out from sea to shining sea and scattered along the coasts, beginning their careers and in some cases furthering their education. It is fitting that my first post-grad trip was to visit a friend I lived with while studying abroad. Gone are the times of me visiting him in Boston to see Sox games, as he now calls Cincinnati home. My trip there is where this tale will begin.
Early on in the trip, I learned that Cincinnati is one of the more conveniently located cities geographically that I had ever been to. Every city we looked into visiting seemed to be within four hours and along routes that rarely see traffic. Most importantly, the flight from BWI to Cincy is only about an hour. I realized this as my beer was served to me, as the plane began descending. Early on, I employed what I learned in college and chugged the beer, \_(ツ)_/¯. Our adventure through the “Queen City” began almost immediately after landing, as we dropped my luggage off and hit our first restaurant.
We led off with Taft’s Ale House in the Over the Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati. Taft’s is named after former United States president and Cincinnati native William Howard Taft and is located inside a converted 19th century church. This brewpub’s architecture is aesthetically pleasing and I would describe the food and beer as “holy”. We started with Loaded Tots (Beer Cheese, Bacon, Green Onions, and Jalapenos) and a couple of Taft’s freshly brewed beers. For my friends from Siena, Taft’s strongly resembled Druthers in its look, along with its menu. The beer cheese complemented the tots perfectly, but left us hungry for more. I had to follow up this tremendous starter with an entree deemed even better…”The Big Billy”.
The Big Billy is your classic cheese steak, with some Cincinnati flavor mixed in. The cheese steak melts in your mouth and leaves you wanting to try more on the wide-ranging menu. Unfortunately, stuffing my face with more food does not mix well with a night out at the bars. We put our hunger to bed and hit the bars in Over the Rhine.
We began at Rhinegeist, which quickly became one of my favorite bars I’ve ever stepped foot in. Rhinegeist is a converted warehouse that has corn-hole, ping pong, multiple bars, and TVs, all on the first floor. It is a German beer hall in the heartland of America. The second floor is what takes Rhinegeist to the next level. Just a short walk up a rusty staircase lies the rooftop element of Rhinegeist. This is where classic German beer hall meets the 21st century, trendy bar scene. The contrast in the styles of the two floors provides a tremendous visual. The night may have become a bit blurrier and jumbled but the build of the bar is definitely unforgettable.
The long night led to a short night of sleep, but a little grogginess could not hide our level of excitement for the second leg of our adventure. Next up: Columbus, Ohio, or more specifically THE Ohio State University. Months ago we purchased tickets to Ohio State vs Maryland, which turned out to be Ohio State’s Homecoming. Columbus, Ohio is a MUST visit for any college football fan, as the pageantry displayed on game day is unmatched by anyone else in the country. I’ve never seen so many students wearing jerseys to a game.
We started off our day at one of the most popular breakfast joints in town, called Hangovereasy. I fell in love with the Chicken ‘N Waffles, which were topped with hot sauce and maple syrup. They absolutely vaulted into my top five breakfasts of all time.
Upon the conclusion of our breakfast, we proceeded to take a stroll around campus to see what Ohio State is all about. Well, let’s just say I wasn’t at Siena anymore. Wow, what a majestic campus in terms of its size. If you walk far enough you’ll run right in to a behemoth of a stadium, known to most as Ohio Stadium. As you can see above, it is massive. I’ll get back to the stadium experience a little later on.
The next best thing about Ohio State is its bar scene on game days. The one we frequented was Out-R-Inn. The majority of the bar was situated outside, but there is still a small section that is inside. It is truly a game day bar and all around, just a fun place to be leading up to kickoff. The drinks were flowing and spirits were high all afternoon long.
The walk from the bar to the stadium was quick and easy, as we followed a sea of scarlet and grey. The game itself was not as exciting as the lead up to the game. It was 55-7 before you knew it and most of the stadium was heading for the exits by the middle of the 3rd Quarter. My one complaint with the stadium atmosphere, was that it never became raucous and loud, which is something I expect from a stadium the size of Ohio Stadium. Yes, I understand it was a blow out and was never that exciting, but I wouldn’t even say it was loud at the beginning of the game. Although, if that’s the only complaint I had, then it was a pretty damn good day.
Lookout in the next few days for part two of my trip, as it became even more exciting.