Five of the oldest spots in Cincinnati

Hhaving a multitude of new treasures to explore makes us appreciate our old favorites even more than we already do. So, for Best of the City 2021, we looked for the oldest favorites.

Oldest library: the merchant library

Sacred ground to bibliophiles, writers and thinkers of Cincinnati, the Mercantile Library is one of the last of its kind, a literary institution reserved for members. For nearly 200 years, the downtown library has been building and preserving its collection, which today numbers more than 80,000 volumes. • 414 Walnut St., Downtown, (513) 621 0717,

The oldest restaurant: the gardens of Mecklenburg

Throughout its vibrant, at times eventful history – it was, after all, a Prohibition-era underground bar – this monument to Cincinnati’s German heritage offers some of the best Bavarian food in town and one of the best beer gardens in the country. Not much has changed since the opening of Mecklenburg in 1865. And that is a good thing. • 302 E. University Ave., Corryville, (513) 221-5353,

Oldest store: Bromwell’s

Back in the days of chimney sweeps and horse-drawn carriages, fireplace retailer Bromwell’s planted its flag in an Italian-style town center. Over 200 years later, Cincinnati’s oldest store still occupies this 10,000 square foot showroom, and its custom-built fireplaces still adorn some of the city’s finest homes. • 117 W. Fourth St., Downtown, (513) 621-0620,

Oldest bar: Arnold’s

Speakeasy. A brothel. A Cincinnati staple. Arnold’s reputation precedes him. And the legends of gin in the tub, paranormal activity, and dealing with crowds are just a small part of why the city’s oldest, and perhaps most beloved, bar still draws a crowd. numerous. • 210 E. Eighth St., Downtown, (513) 421-6234,

Oldest house: Betts house

It has been ages since nobody lived in the Betts house. But Ohio’s oldest brick house, built in 1804, is more alive than ever in its afterlife as a museum. Visit to learn more about the architecture and learn about the lives of the first residents, or join in on a tour of historic Betts-Longworth. • 416 Clark St., West End, (513) 651-0734,

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