Cincinnati July 01, 2017
The Oldest Tavern In Cincinnati Has A Truly Incredible History
It’s common knowledge that Cincinnati has a fascinating history, and the proof is scattered throughout town in the form of historic buildings, landmarks and remnants of the past. Cincinnati has long been a focal point of the bar and restaurant scene and one particular bar downtown has withstood the test of time. Arnold’s Bar and Grill is the oldest bar in Cincinnati and it has a truly incredible history.
All the way back in the late 1830's, two red brick buildings were built along East 8th Street downtown.
In 1861, Simon Arnold opened his tavern in these spaces that once housed a barbershop and a feed store. The adjacent courtyard was first used as a stable and carriage house. Today, the same brick buildings remain, as does the tradition the Arnold family started all those years ago.
Things were a bit different at Arnold's when second generation owner, Hugo Arnold, lived and worked there in 1902.
As you can see from this photo, there was a separate entrance for ladies. But, in some ways, things remain the same. People of Cincinnati continue to gather outside and inside this landmark; remarkably it's remained an active part of the community.
When you enter the bar and grill today, you walk into the same space Hugo Arnold is standing in, as shown in this photo from around 1895.
The Arnold family, as well as more recent owners, continuously strive to keep the original character of the bar, which is very appealing to the regulars crowd, as well as new visitors.
Here's an image of the bar as it appears today.
As you can tell, aside from the clarity and color of the photo, it's wonderfully difficult to place the exact year that is represented.
In 1976, the then owner Jim Tarbell opened the outdoor patio - the first downtown in many years.
This unexpected spot remains a popular gathering place for eating, drinking and listening to live music, coming from the covered deck stage.
During prohibition, Arnold's added a kitchen and the food continues to be one of the main features of the restaurant today.
Their diverse menu now includes favorites like the Greek Spaghetti and a number of sandwiches that come with Grippo's BBQ Chips. Enjoying one of these meals, along with a locally brewed beer, while sitting at the bar in Arnold's should definitely be on your Cincinnati Bucket List.
The appeal of Cincinnati's oldest bar is simple.
Arnold's hasn't changed much since 1861, especially their atmosphere and mission. Their sense of history and cultural diversity make it an intriguing spot in our city and the delicious food and drink keep it thriving from decade to decade. It's safe to say Arnold's isn't going anywhere and its place in Cincinnati's history will only continue to deepen.
Have you spent time in this landmark bar downtown? What is your favorite thing about Arnold’s? Share your thoughts with us in the comments! Arnold’s Bar and Grill is located at 210 East 8th Street. For more info, check out their website