12 November 2010

The Haps: Queen City Underground Tour (Thanks Kiss107)

A special shout-out needs to be made to Kiss 107 FM's morning fellas, Tim and MMCMG (my mom calls me George) for those of you who don't listen in the mornings (which you should!--They're hilarious-- you can check out their website here.)

One morning, on my normal drive up 71, I was listening to Tim and MMCMG on my way to work and they were talking about this awesome tour they did where you go UNDERNEATH THE CITY!!  The tour takes you around OTR, into some buildings that were the hot spots (German beer halls) of the earlier part of last century.  It is all about breweries in OTR when it was a hoppin' place.  Beer and History?  I'm in.

So, a few weeks ago, my Mama, uncle, and I went on the tour, which is hosted by the guys at Queen City Underground.

So first we went into a building that used to be an old German beer hall.  All the wood work is original.  It is really amazing to walk inside a building that I drive by weekly- almost daily- and see how amazing it is inside. From the street you would never guess that inside is a hundred years and seven floors of history.

Another stop is in St. Francis Church & Friary on the corner of Liberty and Vine.  Have you ever been inside this place?  It is amazing.  Originally built by the Irish, the courtyard was used as a grave yard until the Germans bought the building.  Some of the grave stones, dating all the way back to the 1700's are still in the building.

Next, we moved onto the best part.  Over the Rhine is one of the largest historic districts in the country-- bigger than anywhere in Savannah, Charleston, or the French Quarter.  At one point, there were over 130 bars and beer gardens, and a theater on every corner.  In one of the buildings, some folks cut through the concrete floor in the basement and underneath they discovered thousands of square feet of tunnels.  Buildings are popping up all along Vine street, McMicken, and I would venture to guess others with these cavernous tunnel systems underground.  They were originally built as breweries!  Underground beer heaven.  

These photos hardly describe what it is like to go down there and see this.  The stories told by the guides are interesting and entertaining.  I would definitely recommend that you check this out-- tickets are only $15!  It is no secret that Cincinnati loves drinking-- so take some pride in your city's pastime and learn a little about why it seems beer is in our blood here in the Queen City.


  1. Denise, I just read this blog and I loved it! The history of OTR is overlooked because of media reports. Did you know that during the "brewery era" the total population of OTR was 40,000, and today the population is only 7,638. Those numbers alone baffle me! (Is it obvious I've written MANY papers on the evolution of OTR ha). Check out my friend's site for pics and such it's pretty cool