And we’re continuing our weekend in Cincinnati! You can read about our initial stops for dinner at Salazar, a stroll around Washington Park, and drinks at Sundry & Vice here. The next morning – Saturday – we started out with coffee, naturally. During our last trip to Cincinnati, we stopped by Collective Espresso in Over-the-Rhine. I knew that they have three different locations, and we found one only a block away from the Hampton Inn, inside the Contemporary Arts Center.
The coffee shop is located in the lobby, with its own counter, long tables with power outlets, plus smaller tables off to the sides. It’s wide open but feels intimate, with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out to the street, and easy access to the CAC’s galleries and performance spaces.
And they serve a light breakfast menu! We were planning to eat our way around the Findlay Market, so we didn’t want a heavy meal to start the day. Collective Espresso’s breakfast biscuit was a perfect fit: a soft biscuit with bacon, cheese, a fried egg, avocado, and a dash of hot sauce.
The CAC lobby features a sweeping concrete wall rising two stories. The wall is covered by an installation of hanging the lights. The LEDs are connected to small fans, and they light up and blow back and forth in different patterns, at times all swinging back and forth together, at times quiet, at other times whipping about chaotically. It’s beautiful to watch.
After a couple cappuccinos and a breakfast sandwich, we drove further north into Over-the-Rhine to the Findlay Market. Our stroll through the market brought back memories of over a decade ago, when we used to visit our friends Michael and Mandi. Michael sold his paintings at the market, for one summer we joined them many weekends to sell jewelry Beth had crafted.
Findlay Market has grown considerably since we sold jewelry there, but the crowds give it the characteristic market charm. We strolled past meat markets, bakeries, seafood, a whole range of international foods, flowers, and more. We stopped to chat with a potter, we bought a beautiful jade plant (for only $12!), we picked up an arepa from a Venezuelan stand.
We found a little blue truck from Urbana Cafe, with a couple busy baristas pulling shots of espresso and making cortados from the back.
The neighborhood around the market is simply beautiful, with renovated buildings and huge flower boxes.
We settled for coffee, a fruit shrub (made with drinking vinegars), plus a luscious coconut croissant and both sweet and savory open-faced toasts from Blue Oven Bakery. On the west end of the market is a big collection of cafe tables, and we hunkered down in the shade. Although we didn’t sample it, nearby is a small biergarten selling Cincinnati brews.
Around that time, someone asked us on Instagram, “You’re heading to Rhinegeist next, right?” Yes, yes we were. We can’t be in the neighborhood and not stop by. It’d be rude.
We caught Rhinegeist just as they opened, and eagerly climbed the musty staircase with the waiting crowd into the main room.
I can never get enough of Rhinegeist’s massive space. It’s industrial and cozy at the same time. Since I first visited a couple years ago, they’ve expanded to include a second bar, more seating, more games, and…
…a rooftop patio!
The patio comes with some restrictions: no food, no smoking, no kids. The open air space features its own bar and variety of seating. We walked our sampler of four drinks – from ciders to IPAs – up the stairs and onto the roof.
The day was warm but breezy, so finding a spot in the shade proved ideal. But, my, what a gorgeous space. The building is tall enough that it gives you stunning views of Over-the-Rhine, downtown, and the hilly neighborhoods north of the brewery.
We just wanted to sit up there all day. And nothing was stopping us, except for the promise of further adventures.