Dutch’s Bar and Bottle Shop – Cincinnati
I’ve been visiting Cincinnati for almost a decade, and I’m still finding new spots to add to my craft beer map. Most of those locations are new venues, opening in the wake of the craft beer boom. Dutch’s is not a cash-in gastropub or gimmicky tourist hub. It’s been around since 1947 and I feel grateful to have finally discovered it for myself.
Dutch’s has an interesting layout. A horizontal facade with a small parking lot on the left, followed by a restaurant, back-side courtyard, bar and bottle shop. The bar had a nice selection available on my visit, including Mandala Columbus from Jackie O’s. A quick look at their Tumblr site makes it obvious that Jackie O’s is a regular staple of the tap list, as well as a reserved tap for Oskar Blues. The bar was small but well kept, with light from the large windows pouring in at your back while bellied up. If you can’t find something new to you from the eight kegs that rotate through at a time, you’re probably lying. It’s a well curated list to present different styles, seasonal favorites and local rising stars.
To get to the craft beer store, you have to be outside. A large garage-style door is rolled up to reveal a menagerie of exotic bottles. Again, the expert curation is prevalent in what is offered for sale. The back wall housed imports and some easier to find bottles (at least to my eye) and the front bar-height shelves had a wide-ranging, interesting assortment of new releases, local, regional and harder to find beers. The prices are written on the back of the bottles and denote if they’re available as singles or in packs. If you find something you like (and you will) simply ask the clerk to grab it for you from their large walk-in cooler. Yes, many of the beers are cold and ready to go.
This walk-up style beer store is a quaint throw back to a simpler time when the neighborhood shop provided a convenience and service level that is rarely matched today. The knowledge of the clerk was superb. After noticing what I was selecting from the shelves, he was quick to mention a complementary selection of beers that were not on display for public perusal. Those recommendations included limited release Mikkeller and Evil Twin bottles that I was eager to add to my rapidly expanding take-home box. After learning that I was visiting from out of town, he also was quick to promote several local breweries that missed my previous scans.
Dutch’s is a great resource for Cincinnati beer lovers and will become a regular stop on my visits to Ohio’s Queen City.