Fries Cafe

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Fries CafeFries Cafe
17 Ratings
Fries CafeFries Cafe

Type: Bar, Eatery

3247 Jefferson Ave
Cincinnati, Ohio, 45220-2216
United States

(513) 281-9002 | map

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Added by mcallister on 03-12-2007

View: Place Reviews
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Ratings: 17 |  Reviews: 15
Photo of Beersnake1
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

Cute little place near the university. Has an upstairs with a bar and a downstairs with pool tables. Fine selection of beers, but the ambience is the reason to visit. Staff is nice and helpful, and definitely worth a visit if in Cincy.

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Photo of thsSAMO
5/5  rDev +24.1%

Photo of evergreen_machine
5/5  rDev +24.1%

Photo of brown2cu
4/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

A: Pretty laid back. Lots of area to enjoy yourself. Pool tables in the basement and a nice jukebox selection.

Q: was impressed by everything I bought that night.

Serv: Knowledgable staff! Knew a lot about beer from the obvious (styles etc.) to the more complicated (glassware and comparisons between breweries).

Selection: Immense bottle selection, however, I wished they had more on tap. Some off the wall stuff can be found here

V: Good price decent selection and good service; you can't go wrong by going here!

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Photo of amidabha
4.01/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

this is a beer geeks bar for certain. they always have a superior amount of quality beer on tap anytime i've been there over the years. they keep enough of similar styles tapped that i never feel like i need to stick with one particular brand for the night.

i'm a big fan of IPA's and Bell's Brewery, they are too which explains why i like to drink there fairly often. this was the first place i had hopslam on tap and the bartender was nice enough to pull the first glass for me.

the bar gets lively which i expect and can tolerate as long as i can get a table somewhat early. my biggest and it is a large complaint is the smell of the men's room fills the entire bar. for this reason in particular i prefer to spend time on the patio when it's open and comfortable.

when i feel like driving fifteen minutes across the river from kentucky to drink in a bar, it is almost always Fries Cafe.

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Photo of Kelly88
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Stopped in for a pint on my way back home from a Friday night drinking expedition from the nati. Pretty crowded for 11 at night. Mostly uc students which makes for a loud and boisterous crowd. I like the decor seems to have a classic feel. Quality wise the beer is great but the place is typical college bar, a little dirty and a Tad smelly. Service was pretty good for a really crowded college crowd. Selection is really good on tap :
2 hearted
Greenflash hop head rye
Noble pils
Brew kettle red eye ipa
Racer 5
Bell's Porter
Fries also has a great selection of bottles.
Didn't have any food.
Prices are pretty good from what I can tell. My racer 5 only cost me 4 bucks.
I would like to visit this place on a more mellow night but overall nice beer bar, it Just happens to bel next to a campus of 20000

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

A sort of dive bar populated primarily by grad students and a variety of characters. A positively amazing selection of taps that rotate quickly. They often have hard to find beers on two and run amazing beer events. I the summer they have a grill out back which is tasty. Otherwise you can bring in food from outside without a difficulty. Service is pretty shitty but it's about normal for a bar like this. I would recommend stopping here for one of their events. Especially if it's one of the stone nights!

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Photo of ColdPoncho
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

This is the first bar I've been to in Cincinnati that I liked since moving here two months ago. They had a really good, albeit small, tap selection, and a pretty solid bottle selection. Service was friendly and quick.

I think that since this place seems to have a pretty quickly rotating tap selection and the reasonable prices, I'll probably make this my regular spot.

It's a little bit louder than the kind of bar I like, but it's not awful. They've got some cool old school decorations. A nice bar to be at, and drink at.

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Photo of Beejay
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3

Nice atmosphere, I enjoy the outdoor seating. Good if you want to sit down with a beer and a cigar. They are currently undergoing some renovations.

The Bartender is always friendly, and willing to give you a sample of what is new. They have a good amount of craft beers, and their taps are always rotating. That being said, I feel like the majority of the beers there are wheat/IPA's. Though they have a few darker ones in bottle form.

Prices are pretty good, and the staff knows a good deal about the beer scene..

Good on a lazy afternoon... friendly and nice.

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Photo of bamadog
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

I love this place. Been there a few times and I'm just getting around to reviewing it - sorry to say that. This is the type of bar that I would like to be a regular at.

Atmostphere: Nice and largely quiet (provided there isn't a University of Cincinnati sporting event being televised). It's non-smoking so it doesn't kill you to be there, but if you want to go upstairs and outside, there's a little fenced in lawn with a fire pit where the smokers can go and it's nice and cozy. Not a ton of room if gets a little crowded, but it's all good as people there are pretty laid back. There's a good mix of college students and locals and there's really no pretention there. Also, I'd like to mention that it seems to be pet friendly as there were three dogs in there at once.

Quality: Good quality beers are readily available there, as well as a macro offering on tap for those that don't care for the craft beers.

Selection: As noted above, a fair mount of beers are available; tap selection is typically decent and if they don't have something there that catches your eye, you can always resort to the cooler (Great Lakes, Founders, Stoudt's, Weyerbacher, etc...)

Food: None available, but there's a great pizza shop a block up the street and you can bring that in if you want.

Value: You get what you pay for and their pretty reasonable. No real price gouging, just fair prices for the beers they offer.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
4/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Ye olde Fries Cafe.

Can't believe I haven't reviewed this place yet! Started going here in my college years playing shuffle board and doing shots. The atmosphere is one of the best in the area. Dingy, old bar, saloon. Worn wood bar is beautiful. Dirty hard wood floors, dimly lit bar area. It just screams pull up a stool and relaxingly drink some pints. They have about 10 taps going with very good beers on at all times. Always represent Great Lakes Brewing so that's a plus. Last time in, they had Blackout Stout on tap for $4 pints!
No food, but Adriatico's Pizza is a couple doors down and they deliver to the bar.
In the warmer months there is an upstairs, outdoor patio, where you can sit at picnic tables and occasionally see a live band.
A great place to meet friends or just grab a good pint by yourself. Very relaxed and very good crowd.

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Photo of beachbum1975
3.38/5  rDev -16.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

If you want a cool, chill place to hang out at while in Clifton, (Near University of Cincinnati), this is the place. It's more like a neighborhood/college bar with pool tables, bocci and darts.

I hadn't been here since my college days (around 2000) until last Saturday night. They hosted a craft beer party and they had an amazing selection of beers to sample.

To my knowledge they don't normally cook, but I know you can have food delivered there. Also, you can walk with bottle beer or growlers if you'd like.

Overall, it's a nice place to hang out casually (wear whatever you want) and watch some sports, get a good craft beer and people watch. Laid back and personal bar...


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Photo of kels
4.26/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Fries (pronounced "freeze" - c'mon we're very German around here) is by far my favorite bar in the whole Cincinnati area. Yes, I've been other places with more selection and more class, but there's just something about this place. I'll say it's not for everyone...

Atmosphere: Atmosphere is by far what I love most about Fries. It is completely unassuming. If you didn't know what you were looking for, you'd miss it. When I walk into the bar, which is housed literally in an old house, I feel at home. The whole place is completely worn-in and beat-up; I like to think well-loved. On the first floor you find the bar, tables & chairs, a few TVs, the awesomely worn-down shuffleboard table, the best jukebox in Clifton and tons of brewerania. Go up or downstairs for pool tables and darts. Off the second floor you can find the awesome patio with a stage for live music and outdoor bar area. Even better - there's rarely a huge crowd at this bar, despite its proximity to the University of Cincinnati. You can typically find a seat and actually take time to enjoy your beer. Lots of locals & regulars make it feel more real & honest than glamorous & trendy. The location is perfect - street parking is readily available, and you can walk to great restaurants, the Ludlow district and Keller's IGA (pretty darn good beer selection) in minutes.

Quality/Service: The quality of the beer & beer service isn't anything spectacular - just good. All beers are pretty much served in/with a pint glass, but beyond that don't expect much. Your stout will come to you just as cold as your lager, which can be disappointing depending on how quickly you want to dive in. The freshness of the beer, however, is always good. Whether I'm having a bottle or a draft, I've never been disappointed in the freshness and quality. The staff is really friendly, too. They're always very helpful, prompt and conversational.

Selection: The selection isn't huge, but I think it's often more interesting than a lot of the places in the area that have a huge number of selections. There are always 6-8 beers on draft and numerous in bottle. On draft you can often find offerings from Great Lakes, Founders, Bells, Rogue and Christian Moerlein with other interesting finds thrown in there. The bottles offer an even wider range of options. And if you're out with your non-craft beer friends, they've got all the favorite macros and a full-service bar as well.

Food: No food at this place (it isn't really a cafe) other than peanuts, crackers and potato chips at the bar. Bonus - this means they let you bring in your own, and nothing is quite as awesome as an Adriatico's pizza from just down the street with your beer.

Value: This is another one of the wonderful things about this place. The beers are definitley on the cheaper side, with $3 pint nights at least once a week. Even full price, they beat a lot of the others out there. I'm also told their liquor pours are generous for the price, but since I'm always drinking beer, I wouldn't truly know.

On a final note, I'm also really impressed with Fries celebration of craft beer. I attended their BeerFest today with my brother, and I really enjoyed sampling from their selection of over 70 offerings. It was a really well-done event with live music, food and really good beer ($1 & $2 3-oz samples).

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Photo of pwoods
3.86/5  rDev -4.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Pronouced 'Freeze' or 'Free's'

This is a pretty good 'overlooked' bar in Cincinnati. The atmosphere is of a friendly neighborhood bar even though it's on the edges of frat central. They have a very old shuffle board table that's great fun, plenty of pool tables and steel tip dartboards and a smoking deck outside. Floors are all wood and they have plenty of historic Cincinnati brewerania(my parents told me this place was a pony keg years ago). Decent sized bar with plenty of tables offset. I believe they have 8 taps but it might be 1 or 2 more than that. They typically have a good selection of Midwest brews with a few from the bigger micros that have good distro. They seems to almost always have Victory Prima Pils on tap and a Bell's and Rogue, Two hearted is very common. Last time I was in there they had Maharaja which was a nice welcome. Earlier in the year they had an 'opening day' for Oberon and also had a surprise in Bell's Deb's Red. I also heard they had Bell's Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout in the past. The 'special' brews seems few and relatively far between but there's always something that's more than worth drinking. Bottle selection can be hit or miss but plenty of GLBC, Bell's, Christian Moerlein, Stone, Avery, and some Founders. Prices are pretty reasonable, certainly not overpriced at all. I believe they have $3 pints on Tuesdays. Service is usually pretty fast but out of the 4-5 bartenders I've talked with, only one new what he was talking about. I was always given a glass without having to ask, though, which you unfortunately can't always exact around here. Overall it's a pretty good place and is close to plenty of things around campus. More than worth a visit for something casual, especially if you're near campus.

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Photo of Yetiman420
4/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

The wife and I made an impromptu stop at Fries after a delightful early Saturday dinner at Floyd's Mediterranean restaurant in Clifton. I've heard bits and pieces about Fries and am glad I dropped in for the evening.

To begin with, Fries is a self-admitted dump of a joint. How do I know? I wound up chatting with the owner, Jerry, for 30 minutes about his collection of Cincinnati-area brewerania. It appears Fries is a historic "pony keg" liquor store which has not changed too much over the years (check out the hard wood floors). If you're able to make it here, check out the three Hudepohl signs behind the bar. As a collector, I estimate they're worth at least $1,000 for the three. He also has an amazing huge Red Top sign with bullet holes in the shuffleboard room next to the bar. Lots of other trays and neat old advertising stuff line the walls. It's like the Comet (Northside Cincinnati beer bar) with better atmosphere but not as good of a beer selection. Jerry says his clients are just not as demanding.

In terms of the beer selection, they had the Avery Maharaja (which the bartender pointed out was $5 a pint and 10% alcohol), Bells Double Cream Stout, Bells Oberon, another Bells, Rogue Anniversary, a Victory (maybe Prima Pils), and maybe one other craft beer I can't recall on tap. "No crap on tap" which is nice.

The bottle selection was notable with representation from Avery, Great Lakes, New Holland, Victory, and Jolly Pumpkin. They had a shelf of empty bottles on display which represented their entire offering but when I asked for the Allagash Gran Cru, they didn't have it (I didn't have much confidence in the correlation between display beers and stocked beers).

Most of the people were drinking BMC light around 9 PM on a spring break Saturday. They have a couple of other rooms with pool tables and they recently abandoned corn hole because of neighbor complaints.

This would be a nice stop if you were in the area for dinner, a concert, or visiting friends at school at UC.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I saw the listing in Beer Fly and that no one had been there so I figured I would check it out. Easy to find, even for someone from out of state, parking was a bit different, but I finally found a spot on the street. Being the first night I was in town, seeing the Great Lakes sign in the window was a welcome treat. Pretty average bar on your right as you walk in with lots of tables as well, this was more then a bar. Food looked and smelled great coming out, but I had already eaten. They had three different Great Lakes on tap, as well as some Macros. I did not see a bottle list but the price was great and I paid nearly nothing for a few pints before I left. Nice friendly neighborhood hangout type of vibe that was really cool and inviting. Overall not a bad place and everyone seemed really nice. Not the best selection, but good things to drink none the less. If I were in the area I would stop by again.

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Photo of becktone
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5

Great bar in the Clifton area. Besides being the host for a recent summer beer tasting/festival this bar, I believe, caters to those who drink better. Fries usually has live music and is geared more towards the laid back crowd, you'll usually not find many Fratties here. Beer on tap is amazing. Last time I was there, about 2-3 days ago, They had Two Hearted Ale, Avery IPA, Bass, Bell's Winter Ale, and others to name a few. I believe there are about eight taps, and just about all of them are filled with wonderful brew. Besides the main bar, on the lower level there is an upstairs bar(from what I gather rarely open, unless its really busy) with a few pool tables in it. Fries also has a biergarten with yet another outdoor bar and stage for live music. This is one of the better bars in Clifton, good place to go and chill out.

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Fries Cafe in Cincinnati, OH
Place rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 17 ratings