Big City Meets Small Town at Incline Public House


The nighttime view of downtown Cincinnati from the Incline Public House offers a spectacular light show. Photo by Peyton Gigante.

By Peyton Gigante

As a small-town girl from rural Indiana, I’ve always had an infatuation for skylines. The lights, the tall buildings, and the neon signs that light up the streets are a different kind of beautiful than the soy fields I’m used to.

Even still, I love the small-town feel of the local restaurants in my town. The restaurants that are one-of-a-kind, and that somehow make it feel personal to you even if it’s your first-time dining there.

The Incline Public House, located atop Price Hill just to the west of downtown Cincinnati, morphed my local-big-rural-neon-city restaurant all into one. And what’s more? The food is delicious and reasonably priced—the highest priced entrée on the dinner menu is only $18 (a grilled boneless pork chop). That’s perfect for surrounding college students with minimal funds like me, who still want to feel fancy and are willing to drive down into the big city.

Featuring a gracious menu that caters to all kinds of tastes, the Incline Public House is a sightseer’s dream. You can sip on Sea Glass Pinot Grigio while you munch on fried calamari, watching boats on the Ohio River and cars far below you.

The Incline Public House first held this spot in the 1880s, right at the top of the Price Hill Incline, where customers stepped off the street car onto level ground. After closing during the 1930’s and then reopening 80 some odd years later, long after the incline’s demise, the restaurant now holds its’ own as one of Cincinnati’s best places to view the Ohio River and downtown.

Nestled on a quiet section of W. Eighth Street, I was struck by how high the restaurant sat up on the hill—and I was a little skeptical about how “off the beaten path” it was. In putting aside my aversion to trying new things, I loved how homey the atmosphere of the restaurant was.

The steep hill takes you past colorful old townhouses, and leads you almost directly to the Warsaw Federal Incline Theater.

Personally, I think that there’s nothing better than dinner and a show. Through May 26, you can enjoy pink spring sunsets on the patio of the restaurant and catch a production of Mamma Mia at the theater just after.

The view from the deck at the Incline Public House atop Price Hill, shows off downtown Cincinnati. Photo by Peyton Gigante

Offering a spacious dining room and bar, and large windows overlooking the city, even sitting inside you can have a view of the close skyline of Cincinnati.

However, if the weather is nice and it’s just before sunset, the 1400 square foot patio—that can accommodate around 60 people—is where you should enjoy your blackened mahi mahi fish tacos and Rhinegeist Bubbles Ale.

With gluten free options, the menu is well-rounded and can satisfy your seafood or pizza craving. Also, for the planners out there that like to know what they’re eating before they step foot into the restaurant, the menu is easily accessible online.

If you’re looking for a bite during the day, or brunch to finish up the weekend on Sunday, the Incline Public House is open for both. Mimosas, three cheese and bacon quiche, and a view? Sounds like the perfect Sunday before heading to experience the rest of what Cincinnati has to offer.

For someone who doesn’t know Cincinnati, just sitting on that patio made me feel like I did—or at least made it feel familiar. Something about sitting so high up over the city, made it feel a little smaller.

Being in the company of great people, sipping on a delicious margarita, and looking off into the gorgeous hills that border downtown, made me feel like I was right home in Indiana—just with a far better view.

With its ambiance, fantastic service, and mouthwatering menu, the Incline Public House is the perfect place to go for a Monday night date night, during your lunch break on Thursday, or to catch up on your weekend with friends for Sunday brunch. And, with summer right around the corner, what better place to sit and watch the trees bloom than directly above the rolling hills surrounding Cincinnati?