To be fair, let me preface what I am about to say by proclaiming that this is, aesthetically, a really cool place; probably one of the coolest in the area. That being said, if you like places where people take themselves way too seriously, the 21c Rooftop Bar might be the place for you. The clientele probably isn’t the best (of course, this is in my humble opinion), and the drink menu is extremely limited and very pricy. To elaborate: I felt a little too much like a hillbilly to be spending $25 on two drinks and a tip.
But I’d be dying to check this place out, and the atmosphere—at least of the outdoors persuasion and not the clientele—was almost worth the wallet-busting libations. If you love Cincinnati, trendily designed spaces, and taking in the views, 21c Rooftop Bar is definitely for you. (I only take myself semi-seriously, so I would say I fall somewhere in the latter.)
Location: Perched atop the new and prestigious 21c boutique hotel, the Rooftop Bar enjoys close proximity to a multitude of restaurants, entertainment venues, and other bars. Additionally, there are a number of street parking spots as well as parking garages to cater to anyone who would be driving to this establishment*. The elevator that whisks its patrons to the Terrace Bar Above the City is found inside the entrance from the alleyway between 21c and Nicholson’s Pub, which defines its exclusivity in both the figurative and literal senses.
Atmosphere: The atmosphere is absolutely Rooftop Bar’s most incredible characteristic. And I mean the aesthetic atmosphere. Panoramas of northern downtown, Mt. Adams and Walnut Hills, as well as even part of the Central Business District to the south can be enjoyed from the tenth-floor vistas. While Fountain Square cannot be viewed from our vantage point, we could hear the 4th of July fireworks from our location, which was pretty cool. We also enjoyed sunset, which, well, was as awesome as you could imagine.
Drinks: While the two beverages I opted for were pretty delicious, I’m not sure that a Kiki (Prosecco with hibiscus) and a glass of Prosecco were worth the $21.30 bar tab. The price tag is much better suited for larger cities such as New York or Chicago. But it’s still pretty cool to know that Little Ol’ Cincinnati can compete with the big boys.
While I didn’t love the feel of the clientele, I will say that I didn’t have a terrible time. I’d much prefer to come back during the day when the available drinks make more sense to consume. Ideally, I’d like to go to brunch, have a mimosa or 5, then head to the Rooftop Bar to proceed with my champagne consumption. This certainly is not a place to go if you’re looking to tie one on or if you are looking to head out in a group, as seating can be pretty limited. If you’re looking to get funky around town, take a few jager bombs elsewhere before heading here. This place is much more casual hoity toity in the drink department. You’re welcome.
Overall grade for the views and atmosphere: A+ [out of a possible A+]
Overall grade otherwise: C [out of a possible A+]
*Don’t drink and drive, kids. I suggest finding a DD.