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Old 06-18-2011, 08:36 PM
 
Location: Cambridge, MA
4,730 posts, read 10,931,493 times
Reputation: 6449

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Inside the new Grammer's | Photo 1/31 | Metromix Cincinnati


And they saved the awesome leaded-glass foyer! It's looking bee-yoo-tiful. (I'd stop in to "tinkle" just to see the Rookwood crow tiles in the men's room. LOL) But in all that great atmosphere you get sandwiches, roll-ups, and beer? Here's hoping that was just 'cause this was the "soft opening." Grammer's would not be Grammer's without schnitzels and tortes.

Regardless, it's good to have them back! 1440 Walnut St was looking sad after the fire.
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Old 06-18-2011, 08:49 PM
 
2,492 posts, read 3,652,150 times
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I'm going to have to stop in there this week. I've actually never been inside.

On a side note, I was downtown on Friday night before, during and after the Reds-Toronto game and wow was downtown looking good. Crowded bars and restaurants from The Banks north to Vine Street in OTR; sidewalks packed; fairly heavy vehicle traffic all night; and Fountain Square was jammed for a really cool band that I wish I had a CD of (they were that good). I talked to a group of guys at the Square after the game who drove in from Ontario (they're following the Jays on this road trip to Cincy, Atlanta and St. Louis) and they were very impressed with the ballpark and the Square area. One of them said he wishes they had something like this where he lived.

Impressive!
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Old 06-18-2011, 09:01 PM
 
10,139 posts, read 22,409,188 times
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Grammers has been open for quite a while. I guess this is the official "grand opening." I'm curios as to why Marty Wade would want to run this. I thought when he bought it, they had something more elaborate planned. Nothing remarkable differentiates Grammers then or now. Maybe decent German food 4 decades ago, but nothing in recent memory. I'm sure that Marty will make it a nice enough neighborhood pub with German "theme." That's what he knows how to do. Its right around the corner from me but I haven't been over there. Will report if I go.
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Old 06-18-2011, 10:45 PM
 
1,130 posts, read 2,023,021 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilson513 View Post
Grammers has been open for quite a while. I guess this is the official "grand opening." I'm curios as to why Marty Wade would want to run this. I thought when he bought it, they had something more elaborate planned. Nothing remarkable differentiates Grammers then or now. Maybe decent German food 4 decades ago, but nothing in recent memory. I'm sure that Marty will make it a nice enough neighborhood pub with German "theme." That's what he knows how to do. Its right around the corner from me but I haven't been over there. Will report if I go.
You've been asleep at the wheel, Wilson. Grammers closed suddenly a few months ago amid a very contentious firing of the entire staff. It's undergone some much needed renovations, and reopened again to the public only this weekend.

I've watched the Grammers situation very carefully since it reopened just months before the unfortunate fire during Hurricane Ike. With the fire, I think many of the plans for Grammers were shelved, and the the post-Ike bar became, in my opinion, an embarassment.

Grammers was pretty much left to rot. A makeshift biergarten was created among the ruins of the adjoining two buildings, separated from the neighboring parking lots by a rather uninviting chainlink fence. It had more in common with a prison yard or Dresden in 1945 than a festive place to hang out for a cold German lager (A+ to Mecklenburg Gardens for that).

Supposedly, the Rathskeller had to be sealed off after the fire. I never really got that, since reportedly the damage was mostly from water. I was told all of the woodwork and stained glass was saved. It's a shame then that they never restored it.

Inside, the building was being abused by a clientele that seemed to be looking for a new edgy place to hang out with the demise of OTR clubs like the Warehouse and the Cellblock. Hip Hop nights and and other official events were rather out of character in one of Cincinnati's iconic German saloons. There was a definite anti-yuppie, anti-establishment vibe fomenting there.

I witnessed on more than one occasion vandalism occuring within Grammers. An antique painting defaced, the restored murals in the main bar room with posters duct taped to them, patrons and staff members jumping and dancing on the original 1872 bar. I once spoke to a staff member before things got too crazy and she said she was a historian and mainly worked there to ensure that the many artifacts in Grammers were not destroyed. I never ran into her again after that, and so whether or not she was successful at all, I don't know. Based on what I saw, maybe not.

As the months wore on, the scene there got weirder and weirder. Some of the staff members were just out and out rude and disrespectful. I brought some out of town friends there to show off the reopened Grammers about a year ago or so, and we left after witnessing what appeared to be some anti-neocon tirade by one staff member. Who cares about politics, I just wanted a beer and to show off Cincinnati history to my friends! Other staff members were odd simply because they would never speak to you. I once saw the bartender spit at a patron. Friends I have who live just blocks from there quit going as the scene morphed into something bizarre on certain nights. Indeed, it was a strange atmosphere, and based on some of the blog traffic and outbursts I read from people after the firings, some of these were not nice people, or perhaps they were just profoundly immature. Frankly, I wasn't surprised when the Wades fired these people.

But let's face another fact... the Wade's track record of managing restaurants lately has not been so great. The Enquirer website has been littered with articles about closures of their ventures and doubts about the ones still in business. At one point, there seems to have been a petty argument between Wade and Moerlein's Greg Hardman which led to Grammers pulling all of the local beers from the menu (once the taps were empty). Controversy seems to follow them everywhere, not only in the restaurant business, but look at the shakeup at Rookwood Pottery that they were involved in.

I do think the Wades were fed up with how Grammers was being run and woke up to the fact something had to done, but I wonder if the current effort will be enough? My understanding is that the new management includes a group from out of town, and I sincerely wonder if they "get it" when it comes to respecting Grammers role in Cincinnati. Seriously, what are are "Arizona Wings?"

Apparently, there is no kitchen in Grammers, so the food you will have there is prepared at a commissary and then heated on site. Doesn't sound very tasty to me, but I would go there to mostly partake of an adult beverage anyway.

I also have to call the city out for bad form in forcing Grammers to paint over its iconic mural sign. During the renovation of the building, the wall it was painted on needed repair, and that repair negated the grandfathering of the sign under the current code. So, out came the paint rollers and the "World Famous Over the Rhine Restaurant Since 1872" banner was wiped from the Liberty streetscape. It's been replaced by a somewhat smaller vinyl knock off.

I am forever hopeful that Grammers will survive and be a place where you can experience a true Cincinnati flavor. I'm willing to give it another try. Grammers is a special place and should be respected as such.
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Old 06-19-2011, 03:00 AM
 
10,139 posts, read 22,409,188 times
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This ^^ is a pretty informative post. The question remains. What is the point. Martin et ux are not going to hang out there, it will not become a destination, and what does it add to the community? People coming to an unsafe streetcorner at night to drink? No offense to present company, but despite the City bosses mistaken ideas, another bar is not what an emerging neighborhood needs for improvement. Didn't they learn that on Main Street already?
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Old 06-21-2011, 04:52 PM
 
1,130 posts, read 2,023,021 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilson513 View Post
This ^^ is a pretty informative post. The question remains. What is the point. Martin et ux are not going to hang out there, it will not become a destination, and what does it add to the community? People coming to an unsafe streetcorner at night to drink? No offense to present company, but despite the City bosses mistaken ideas, another bar is not what an emerging neighborhood needs for improvement. Didn't they learn that on Main Street already?
I'd say the point is that it creates positive activity in the area IF it attracts the right crowd. I agree, the area needs more than just another bar. But better that than nothing if the aforemention requirement is met.

I disagree that Main Street was some sort of failed experiment. It's demise had more to do with the 2001 riots than anything else. I'd argue that the entertainment district was showcasing OTR to a lot of people who wouldn't have otherwise gone down there. Unfortunately, the riots set back the momentum that the area had gained by a decade or more.
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Old 06-21-2011, 06:31 PM
 
10,139 posts, read 22,409,188 times
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Originally Posted by t45209 View Post
I'd say the point is that it creates positive activity in the area IF it attracts the right crowd. I agree, the area needs more than just another bar. But better that than nothing if the aforemention requirement is met.

I disagree that Main Street was some sort of failed experiment. It's demise had more to do with the 2001 riots than anything else. I'd argue that the entertainment district was showcasing OTR to a lot of people who wouldn't have otherwise gone down there. Unfortunately, the riots set back the momentum that the area had gained by a decade or more.

Bars are not a positive addition to any community unless the community has all of the other amenities first: residents, parks, safety, stores, food, etc.

People with money come down two nights a week and put their valuable stuff in front of people for whom a new gym bag with a pair of shoes is worth breaking into a car and maybe harming someone. Then a bunch of drunk people exit at midnight to 2:15 AM, pee on everything in sight and split leaving trash behind. That was Main Street. We don't need it in OTR. We need people who want to live there, sweep their sidewalks, pick up the trash, call the cops when someone does something wrong.

Grammers will not benefit anything in OTR.
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:08 PM
 
Location: Cincinnati
577 posts, read 1,003,907 times
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I don't understand the negativity behind that comment but Grammer's is as much Cincinnati as Arnold's is. It's an institution and with a new direction will become what it once was. We are no longer living in 2001 - there has been a rebirth of Over-The-Rhine over the past 10 years - Findlay Market is better than ever, Neon's is back, Japp's just opened its doors once again and places like Mr. Pitifuls and Nicolas never closed. I for one support all of them and these places represent a lot of what is going on in the area and part of the draw to the area.
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Old 08-06-2011, 02:14 PM
 
1,130 posts, read 2,023,021 times
Reputation: 700
So, I've been meaning to post for a few weeks now my impressions of the reopened Grammer's...I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that the new management "gets it." The place got a nice face lift. It's clean, they've sensitively repaired much of the damage done and permitted under the previous regime. And the clientele has cleaned up too.

Now the bad news. Grammer's was robbed at gunpoint last night and is (I hope) temporarily closed.
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Old 08-06-2011, 04:14 PM
 
Location: Clifton
34 posts, read 63,784 times
Reputation: 24
They are re-opening on Wednesday per their Facebook page.
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