Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Fine Saturday Night

A little over three years ago, we moved here to Northern Kentucky from Philadelphia. We were spoiled by Philadelphia... by the arts, the entertainment, and the good food to be found in an ever-expanding number of wonderful restaurants. We are still finding our way around here, still looking for good places to go.

We succeeded on Saturday night. We had tickets to Cincinnati's Playhouse in the Park. Twenty-plus years ago, before we moved to Chicago then Philadelphia, we had season tickets. We decided to buy them again this year. The Playhouse in the Park is one of the best things around here. In 2004, they one the Tony Award for best regional theater. In 2007, they one another Tony Award for their revival of "Company", which went on to great success on Broadway.

We saw one of the Tony Awards, which the Playhouse displays in its lobby:

Before the play, we had dinner at Otto's. Otto's is a small, family-owned restaurant in Covington, Kentucky, just across the river from Cincinnati. We were new to Otto's; a neighbor had recommended it to us. A very pleasant surprise... the food was great, the service friendly and efficient, and the atmosphere eclectic, in an old row house. Quite a nice change from the huge number of chain restaurants in our area. We will go back!

Between dinner and the play, we had some extra time. We went to the Blind Lemon for a drink. How can I describe the Blind Lemon? It's a Cincinnati landmark to those of us who lived here in the 1970s. We used to go there when we lived here 25 years ago, and it's exactly the same. It's a tiny bar squeezed between rowhouses on Mount Adams. Mount Adams is the "cool" place to be in Cincinnati. Some have said is reminiscent of San Francisco, with the hills and the narrow, winding streets. The Blind Lemon has a courtyard out in the back, with the same garden furniture and old light fixtures. You can relax with a drink and listen to live music. It's best after dark, when it takes on a candle-lit ambience.

See the shadow in the middle of the photo? That's the stairway you take to go back to the courtyard. It's a narrow stairway with stone walls on both sides... it feels a bit like descending into a dungeon, but it's a short walk, then the courtyard opens up before you. See the plaque on the left side of the shadow? They list the names of all the celebrities who have visited there, including local Kentucky boy George Clooney (before he acquired a villa in Italy, of course) and many old Cincinnati Reds from the "Big Red Machine" era. It was a kind of "blast from the past" for us... visiting a place where we went in our youth and finding it just the same.

So, it was a nice Saturday night. Good things are there, if you take the time to find them.


Bearette24 said...

I like the name The Blind Lemon. At first I thought you were talking about Cincinnati, Ohio.

judy in ky said...

The Playhouse and the Blind Lemon are in Cincinnati, Ohio. Mount Adams is a neighborhood of Cincinnati, and Covington is in Kentucky, just across the river. I know it's confusing because we jump back and forth from one side of the river to the other, with Kentucky on one side and Ohio on the other side.

Sue Jacquette said...

That's so funny because 3 years ago we moved from a NYC suburb to a Philadelphia suburb and I feel like we've left so much culture and art behind in NY. Philly is great, but NY is world class... I guess we need to appreciate what we have!

judy in ky said...

Sue, so true. Another nice thing about Philly is that it's not that far to visit NYC for a weekend. I still envy my Philly friends when they are going to see a show in NYC. It's so far from here!