A New Bar Opens in Northside


Solid Color Fields 021

Tillie’s Lounge is a new bar located at 4042 Hamilton Avenue in Northside. About four weeks ago it opened in a building that dates back to 1881. In other words, it has some history, and its name reflects that: Tillie’s is named after a circus elephant who paraded down the streets of Northside in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


Solid Color Fields 016

When I walked into Tillie’s last weekend I’d heard nothing about it. I was just going there to hear a friend’s band. Generally I don’t like bars; usually after ten minutes my eyes glaze over as I think about how bored I am. But I quickly warmed to Tillies for these reasons:

  • Atmosphere: Talk about intimate. Tillie’s is a relatively small inside (although a good-sized patio out back adds some size); it seems like all the bars I actually like are smaller and more intimate. It has soft lighting and a nostalgic vibe enhanced by the old-school furniture, chandeliers, candelabras, and other details like the ceiling tile that gives the impression of a stamped-tin ceiling. I was also happy to see that the two large-screen TVs were both playing (with the sound off) old black-and-white movies; very appropriate.
  • Volume: There was a good-sized crowd that evening, but I didn’t have to raise my voice to be heard. That I attribute to room acoustics plus the fact that the psychedelic sounds of Kite and String were at much more moderate volume than with most live music.
  • Cocktails: The owner of Tillie’s are passionate about cocktails, and they’ll be happy to serve you a drink you’ve never had before, or even heard of for that matter. They like champagne cocktails, including the purple elephant, which combines Absolut Citron, Cointreau,  creme de violet, lime juice, and sparkling wine. All specialty cocktails are paired with macaroons from The Macaroon Bar in Over the Rhine. And note that on Throwback Thursdays cocktails are $5 all night long.
  • Patio: This offers an opportunity to smoke without leaving the bar, plus you can take in the night air.

Tillies 3

This Saturday, July 18, the self-described “eclectic torch pop singer ” Annette Shepherd will be performing duets at Tillie’s with Bob Ross from 8pm to 10:30pm ; there’s no cover charge. Annette is a very talented singer with an interesting mix of songs, as I noted in a previous blog entry.


Tillies 2

Hours are Thursday through Sunday from 4pm to 2am and the phone number is 513.541.1414. It’s run by the owners of Below Zero Lounge in OTR, and like Below Zero it looks to be a hit. While I was there last weekend, I videotaped the closing section of a Kite and String song, and while will accuse me of being a video pro, I like how it turned out, partly because the music sounds so good!


Northside Rock and Roll Carnival Returns


Gaslight Property is a proud sponsor of the 2015 Northside Rock and Roll Carnival. This all-ages free event will take place from Thursday through Saturday, July 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. The music takes place at Hoffner Park, where the pavilion will be a Beer Garden. Along with music, carnival-goers will be treated to fire breathers and a carnival side show features sword swallowers and a bed of nails.

This year’s carnival definitely features a strong and varied lineup, with some of Cincinnati’s best bands as well as a slew of out-of-town groups. No doubt a huge crowd will be on hand on Thursday night when Wussy, a Cinci band that now has a national audience, takes the stage at midnight.  Of the out-of-town groups, the one I like best is Wildhoney, who start at 8:05pm on Friday. Here’s the schedule for the event:







Don’t forget, of course, that the main event that weekend will be Northside’s July 4th parade; here’s a link to more information on that, and here’s a video of the dark shoegazing sounds of Wildhoney:



First Annual Northside Record Fair


Cincinnati has long had a reputation for notoriously bad record shows—yet Columbus, which is only an hour and half away, has long had a good national reputation.

So I was pleased to see, on Facebook, people chatting about the 1st annual Northside Record Fair starting at 11 am on Sunday, December 1 at Hoffner Masonic Lodge at 4120 Hamilton Ave. Because I know some of the people who have signed up for tables, I can guarantee that this record show will be a mind-blowing breath of fresh air.

If you’re interested in selling records, be aware that the record fair only has about 15 tables left for sellers. It costs $20 to reserve a table; half tables are $10. If, like me, you’re going there as a buyer, you’ll pay a $5 entry, although the $10 Early Bird Special will get you in an hour earlier. Also, the event will include live music and DJs. You can find more information if you visit the website for the event. (Also, for more information on the event, contact Jon at domepresents@gmail.com.)

The rest of this week will be devoted to the record fair as well as records in general, with a brief detour into the world of CDs. I’ll close with a reminder to folks that you can subscribe to my blog on the right side of this webpage, and I encourage you to do so in order to keep up with things going on around Cincinnati.

Purity Ring at Mayday This Saturday

When I was growing up my mother always told me if you can plug two things in a blog entry that’s better than one, and three’s even better, and today I get a chance to do that. The dream pop duo Purity Ring is coming to Mayday at 4227 Spring Grove Avenue in Northside this Saturday, August 25. Purity Ring is on the 4AD label, whose recording artists also include The National, St. Vincent and Bon Iver. Tickets for Purity Ring are $10 in advance and $12 the day of the show. Mayday hosts some interesting shows that come and go very quietly, so I encourage you to keep checking their website, www.maydaynorthside.com. Continue reading “Purity Ring at Mayday This Saturday”

The Northside Rock ‘N Roll Carnival is On…Now!

The Northside Rock ‘N Roll Carnival started at 2:30 pm today at Hoffner Park, but worry not if you missed the opening act, because the final band won’t take the stage until after midnight. Due to July 4th falling in the middle of the week, the music only lasts one day this year, which means fewer groups overall, but the folks running the show went out of their way to pack the event with a strong lineup that includes The Big Sleep (from NYC) at 11:00 and Pujol (from Nashville) at 12:20. I have a hunch that the crowds will grow as the temperature drops for this event, and nothing’s going to stop people from attending the July 4th parade taking place at noon. There’s also an all you can eat pancake breakfast at 9 in the morning on July 4th at North Presbyterian Church, located at 4222 Hamilton Avenue. Continue reading “The Northside Rock ‘N Roll Carnival is On…Now!”

The Listing Loon in Northside: Craft Beer and (Soon to Be) More

Quite often the challenge for a new business is staying afloat until people start walking in the door.

That seems to be a non-issue, however, at the Listing Loon, a new craft beer and more store on the main drag (4124 Hamilton Ave.) in Northside.

When I dropped in the first time to ask how business was, our conversation kept getting interrupted by people buying beer—which was impressive considering that the Listing Loon had been open less than a week. Continue reading “The Listing Loon in Northside: Craft Beer and (Soon to Be) More”

Farmers Market in Northside

Every Wednesday from 4 pm to 7 pm there’s a Farmers Market in Northside. Being as I’m kind of a hard-nosed reporter—picture a grumpy guy with a cigarette dangling out of the side of his mouth and a crooked tie as he barks out questions in an old black and white movie—I recently posed some challenging questions to Sara Mulhauser, the Northside Farmers Market Manager. The first question was probably the toughest: so what’s so special about the farmers market in Northside?

Continue reading “Farmers Market in Northside”

Sharon Van Etten at Mayday April 27

I’m not sure if there’s anything more frustrating than discovering after the fact that a musician came to town who you would have seen if only you’d known…Often the surprise element comes because you hadn’t dialed in some venues that bring in names that you wouldn’t expect in such a small venue – and as you know, those are often the best concerts. There are two clubs you especially have to watch out for that are close to Clifton – one neighborhood away, basically, although in different directions. Continue reading “Sharon Van Etten at Mayday April 27”