Courting the Queen City

Cincinnati is home to more than the Reds. Waste Age provides ideas so that your itinerary during WASTECON is more than fit for a queen.

If the WASTECON trade show, being held October 23-26, isn't enough to entice you to visit Cincinnati, then perhaps the pigs will.

More than 350 decorated fiberglass pigs will be hogging the streets of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky until October 31, 2000, as part of the Big Pig Gig, a community-wide public art event celebrating Cincinnati's pork heritage.

This heritage dates back to 1835, when Cincinnati was the nation's chief pork packing center and pigs were herded through the streets hundreds at a time on their way to the slaughterhouses. Pigs have been a humorous mascot of Cincinnati, named Porkopolis, ever since.

A more popular nickname, however, is the Queen City, which Cincinnati has been called since 1826 when Benjamin Drake and Edward Mansfield referred to the city as “Queen of the West,” in their book “Cincinnati.” But regardless of whether the city is fit for royalty or the masses, Cincinnati is sure to provide something for everyone — museums, theatrical productions, riverboat cruises, the Newport Aquarium, plus a host of dining options representing almost every type of cuisine.

Your first stop, most likely, will be the Doctor Albert B. Sabin Convention Center, host for WASTECON, located downtown on Fifth and Elm streets. From there, feel free to navigate the city's five districts — downtown, Backstage, Over-the-Rhine, Mt. Adams and Northern Kentucky — each accessible from the show headquarters.


Cincinnati's most famous landmark, the Tyler Davidson Fountain, is located in the heart of downtown in Fountain Square near Fifth and Walnut streets. A gift to the city from businessman Harry Probasco in honor of his deceased brother-in-law, Tyler Davidson in 1871, the fountain now is one of the city's popular gathering spots.

Also, visitors should not miss a stop at the winding steps of Serpentine Wall, which run along the Ohio River. They're the perfect spot for relaxing, and you can mingle with local residents while watching the river traffic.

For a more cultural experience, visit the city's Contemporary Arts Center, located across from Fountain Square on Fifth and Walnut. “An Act of Life,” which contains interactive works of art, will be on exhibit during WASTECON. You also can take your trade show trip to new heights with the flying machine, located in the gallery. Children are allowed and encouraged to climb and jump on the big Styrofoam leaves in the “Leaf Leap” exhibition.

The Taft Museum, on Fourth and Pike streets, houses a permanent collection of 690 examples of fine and decorative arts. Former residents and museum founders Charles and Anna Taft assembled the collection between 1901 and 1927. Paintings include works by Rembrandt van Rijn, Frans Hals and John Singer Sargent. Also, see Qing dynasty Chinese porcelains, French Renaissance Limoges enamels and antique European watches.

The crown jewel of the Queen City, however is the Carew Tower — Cincinnati's tallest building. Located on Fourth and Vine streets, it provides a panoramic view of the city's skyline. Admission is $2 for adults.

For a real taste of the Queen City, you have to try the local specialty, Cincinnati-style chili. True enthusiasts flock to one of two main local chains: Skyline and Goldstar. Both offer this spicy specialty five ways: Five Way with chili, spaghetti, grated cheddar cheese, finely diced onions and kidney beans; Four Way without the beans; and Three Way without the beans and onions; Two Way, a combination of chili and spaghetti; and Plain is only with chili, which is made with cinnamon and cocoa.

Several other restaurants offer this one-of-a-kind chili. In fact, Cincinnati has the largest number of chili parlors per capita in the world. However, locals suggest the Plum Street Cafe, which, in addition to spicy homemade chili, also sells soup, sandwiches, salads and burritos.

If that sounds too spicy, then perhaps seafood will suit your taste. For elegant continental dining with a breathtaking panoramic view of the city, try Seafood 32. This revolving restaurant sits 32 stories high and offers tableside preparations.

Cincinnati's oldest tavern, Arnold's Bar & Grill, established in 1861, offers a more relaxed setting. There you can enjoy Italian and American cuisine, soups, salads and desserts, accompanied by nightly music.

After dinner, head over to the Spy Club. This bar's theme is that of the Gatsby era. It serves classic cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.

The Blue Wisp Jazz Club also is a favorite nightspot offering performances by national and local musicians. A 16-piece band jams on Wednesday nights.


The Backstage area is the heart of Cincinnati's artistic community. It starts at the Arnoff Center for the Arts and encompasses the banner-lined city streets and brick-paved alleyways in a several block radius. Centrally located downtown, this part of the city is a short walk from most of the hotels.

The Arnoff Center showcases visual and performing arts, including the Cincinnati Ballet, and the Fifth Third Bank Broadway Series “Riverdance,” which will be performed at the Arnoff Center during WASTECON.

Cincinnati Art Galleries sells paintings by local artists. They specialize in mid-19th to mid-20th century art.

The Backstage district also offers the most diverse selection of restaurants in Cincinnati. You can find Italian, Indian, Cajun, French, Thai, Mandarin, Spanish, Scottish, Japanese and many varieties of American cuisine. Plus, there are a slew of specialty shops, coffee houses, ice cream parlors, basement pubs, brewhouses and outdoor cafes.

But don't miss the Maisonette, which has been awarded Mobil's Five-Stars for 36 consecutive years. This restaurant specializes in French cuisine.

For more traditional fare, you can sample dry-aged steaks, fresh fish and rack of lamb at La Normandie Taverne & Chop House, a Cincinnati tradition for almost 70 years. Or, snuggle into the cozy atmosphere at the Trattoria Roma. Complete with candlelit wine bottles atop red checked tablecloths, its menu offers seafood, veal, pastas, and both Northern and Southern authentic Italian cuisine.

For after-dinner fun, the Havana Martini Club serves more than 350 different styles of premium cigars and more than 70 martinis. Nightly live music includes jazz, rock-n-roll and rhythm-and-blues.

The Palace Restaurant and Cricket Lounge also offers live entertainment. A pianist keeps the place jumping during the week. The Herb Kirschner Trio plays on the weekends.


Traveling to Main Street, between Central Parkway and Liberty Street is the 1840s neighborhood known as Over-the-Rhine. This area includes many architectural styles such as Greek Revival, Italianate, First Renaissance Revival, Queen Anne and Classical Revival. But its name came from the Miami-Erie Canal, which was nicknamed the Rhine because many Germans settled north of it.

Keeping the German tradition, this area hosts breweries and beer gardens, which were built by the dozens in the mid-1800s.

For example, the Courtyard Cafe, a popular lunch spot, offers burgers, a full bar, plus draft root beer.

Jefferson Hall at 1150 Main Street is a bar that was erected in 1860, and served as the meeting place for a number of groups in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

But if you want to be surrounded by artists while enjoying your eats, then join in with the crowd at Kaldi's Coffeehouse & Bookstore. There you will find an eclectic menu, a full bar, nightly jazz and poetry readings.

For an after-dinner drink, head to Neon's Cigar Bar and Tavern. It features a large selection of single malt scotch, port and cognac, and a walk-in humidor with more than 4,000 cigars. From there you can dance your way to The Overflow for live blues and jazz.

If you'd rather enjoy a friendly game of pool, Westminster's Billiard Club is the perfect spot. Happy Hour, where you can enjoy half-priced pool and drink specials, is Monday through Friday, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

For high-brow fare, the Marta Hewett Gallery is one of the many art studios in the area. Located at 1209 Main Street, the building was constructed in 1872. The house is one of several examples of the First Renaissance Revival style on Main Street.

Another architecturally important building is Old St. Mary's Church. Located at 123 East 13th Street, it has been a spiritual and cultural center for the neighborhood since 1842. This Greek Revival brick building was the first Catholic church built in Over-the-Rhine by the German community. The stained glass windows feature floral motifs, which is a Bavarian custom. The church provides Latin, German and English masses. Free guided tours are available on Final Fridays or by appointment.

Mt. Adams

Rising 818 feet above sea level, historic Mt. Adams has shared a rich history with the Queen City. The area received its name after President John Quincy Adams delivered the dedication address for what was then the world's most powerful observatory in 1843 (now the site of the Monastery). More than 1,300 current residents now fondly refer to Mt. Adams as “the hill.”

Mt. Adams enjoys a history of fine wine, art and entertainment. For example, during the early 1800s, Nicholas Longworth cultivated the Catawba grapes used to make his famous “Golden Wedding” champagne.

In 1892, Maria Longworth Stroer moved her pottery factory to the Hill, introducing the arts to the district. She named her style of ceramics “Rookwood Pottery,” and it quickly became internationally proclaimed for its jewel-like porcelain finishes. The Rookwood Pottery building is now a restaurant and bar where guests are welcome to eat in a pottery kiln.

Entertainment spiced up the area with the opening of the Highland House in the 1870s, featuring concerts, three-day bike races and prize fights. Today, nightlife and entertainment still are the best reasons to visit the hill. This hip district is only a five minute cab ride from downtown.

Be sure to visit the Krohn Conservatory — a rainforest-under-glass. One of the country's largest public greenhouses, it has 5,000 varieties of exotic tropical, desert and orchid plants.

Built in 1881, the Cincinnati Art Museum was known as the Art Palace of the West when it opened its doors as Ohio's first art museum. Today, the museum has a collection of more than 100,000 permanent works, including paintings, decorative arts, costume and sculpture, and Cincinnati Rookwood pottery.

Or, try Longworth's, a sidewalk cafe, perfect for people-watching. But if you're searching for seafood, try the Mt. Adams Fish House, the only all-seafood restaurant in Cincinnati, complete with a sushi bar.

Six or seven bars are within walking distance in Mt. Adams. The Mt. Adams Pavilion offers magnificent river views and live entertainment, while the Monastery Wine Bar is a quiet place to enjoy an evening. The Blind Lemon also adds a touch of old world charm.

Northern Kentucky

If Cincinnati isn't enough, you always can head across the Ohio river to Kentucky. The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge — begun in 1856 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 — connects Cincinnati and Covington, Ky. For only 50 cents, WASTECON attendees can catch the Southbank Shuttle in front of any downtown Cincinnati hotel.

The Newport Aquarium is located in Kentucky, housing more than 11,000 marine animals, including alligators, 16 King penguins and 50 sharks. There are 16 galleries to transport you to a humid subtropical marshland, the Antarctic, the ocean's floor, etc.

The aquarium also showcases a jellyfish gallery, Manderinfish, Flashlight fish, Monkeyface eels, and a color-changing Giant Pacific octopus.

You can also take a trip down the Ohio river from Kentucky. BB Riverboats leave from the Covington Landing and offer one-hour sightseeing luncheon and dinner cruises.

If you can't get enough of the water, South Beach Grill floating restaurant at the Waterfront specializes in seafood, and grilled and rotisserie selections. The restaurant also houses two night clubs and a piano bar. It is the only Mobil 3-star restaurant in Northern Kentucky.

For additional after dinner fun, sing along to your favorite songs with dueling Baby Grand pianos at Howl at the Moon Saloon. Or, push on over to Jillian's Entertainment Inc. for your pick of many entertainment possibilities. There you can enjoy one of the nine bars, shoot pool or even bowl. There also are two dance clubs to keep you on your toes.

As the conventioneers will see, with so much to see and do, Cincinnati provides the perfect backdrop for this year's WASTECON.

Misty Milioto is Waste Age's Editorial Assistant.

Cincinnati Dining


Arnold's Bar & Grill
210 E. Eighth St.
(513) 421-6234
Plum Street Cafe
423 Plum St.
(513) 651-4341
Seafood 32
150 W. Fifth St.
(513) 352-2100

Mt. Adams

1108 St. Gregory
(513) 579-0900
Mt. Adams Fish House
940 Pavilion
(513) 421-3250
Rookwood Pottery Restaurant
1077 Celestial
(513) 721-5456

Northern Kentucky

South Beach Grill at the Waterfront
14 Pete Rose Pier
Covington, Ky.
(859) 581-1414


La Normandie Taverne
& Chop House
118 E. Sixth St.
(513) 721-2761
114 E. Sixth St.
(513) 721-2260
Trattoria Roma
609 Walnut St.
(513) 723-0220


Courtyard Cafe
1211 Main St.
(513) 723-1119
Kaldi's Coffeehouse
& Bookstore
1204 Main St.
(513) 241-3070

Cincinnati Attractions


Doctor Albert B. Sabin
Convention Center
525 Elm St.
(513) 352-3750
Carew Tower
441 Vine St.
(513) 241-3888
Contemporary Arts Center
115 E. Fifth St.
(513) 721-0390
Taft Museum
316 Pike St.
(513) 241-0343


Arnoff Center
650 Walnut St.
(513) 621-2787
Cincinnati Art Galleries
225 E. Sixth St.
(513) 381-2128


Jefferson Hall
1150 Main St.
(513) 723-9008
Marta Hewett Gallery
1209 Main St.
(513) 421-7883
Old St. Mary's Church
123 E. 13th St.
(513) 721-2988

Mt. Adams

Cincinnati Art Museum
953 Eden Park
(513) 721-5204
Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
962 Mt. Adams Circle
(513) 421-3888
Krohn Conservatory
2100 Eden Park Dr.
(513) 721-5707

Northern Kentucky

BB Riverboats
One Madison Ave.
Covington, Ky.
(859) 261-8500
Newport Aquarium
One Aquarium Way
Newport, Ky.
(859) 261-744

Cincinnati Nightlife


Blue Wisp Jazz Club
19 Garfield Pl.
(513) 721-9801
Spy Club
301 W. Fifth St.
(513) 684-0123


Havana Martini Club
580 Walnut St.
(513) 621-2800
Palace Restaurant/Cricket Lounge
601 Vine St.
(513) 381-6006


Neon's Cigar Bar & Tavern
208 E. 12th St.
The Overflow
1207 Main St.
(513) 651-2582
Westminster's Billiard Club
1140 Main St.
(513) 929-4400

Mt. Adams

Blind Lemon
936 Hatch
(513) 241-3885
Monastery Wine Bar
1101 St. Gregory
(513) 241-9009
Mt. Adams Pavilion
949 Pavilion
(513) 744-9200

Northern Kentucky

Howl at the Moon Saloon
101 Riverboat Row Newport, Ky.
(859) 581-2800
Jillian's Entertainment Inc.
522 W. 12th St.
Covington, Ky.
(859) 491-5388