I should say – I didn’t have the highest hopes for The Public House in Cheviot before I stopped in for the first time. The bar, which used to be called ‘The Black Sheep’, is a bit of a local celebrity. It appeared on Spike Tv’s Bar Rescue with Jon Taffer back in 2012. If you’re not familiar, that’s the same season that another local bar was on before closing before the show even had a chance to air.
There seems to be a lot of folks out there that feel like the show is a bit of a sham – putting just some fancy touches on a bar that is doomed to fail regardless – which might be why I was a little hesitant about being let down by a trip out to the Public House. Luckily for me – I sort of love the place.
Finding Your Spot In Cheviot
Cheviot is a strange place in Cincinnati. For a small-ish neighborhood, it boasts a population of bars that without looking at specific stats can’t be beaten by many neighborhoods (except maybe OTR). In an area like that, it’s hard to find your place and to have a bar that stands out while still fitting it.
I think that’s exactly what the Public House does – it stands out while at the same time fitting into Cheviot perfectly.
If you want to have a bar in a place like Cheviot, it has to be a neighborhood bar first and foremost. It has to be comfortable, classic, and not too full of itself. That criterion is sometimes not what Bar Rescue excels at.
What To Expect From Cheviot’s ‘Public House’ Bar
The bar sits in an excellent spot right in the heart of Cheviot, with plenty of parking right nearby. The building is super strange looking, a huge bonus for it to stand out amongst the neighborhood. When you walk in the door you have a big communal table space front and center, and a big J-shaped bar along the left side of the room. The back of the space is filled with a dining area with a mix of high and low-top tables.
I tend to belly up to the bar when I’m checking a place out. They always keep a nice rotating tap list with both German and Irish imports alongside a few local staples as well. This is one of those places where I bounce back and forth with what I want to order. Does a pint of Guinness seem more appropriate than a tall glass of something from West Side Brewing? (Helpful hint… you can do both).
The food is good… burgers, pizzas, wings. It’s the standard type of stuff that you’d find in a bar – but done well. It’s a nice mix of handheld bar snacks while you’re drinking and bigger meals if you want to fill your belly up before you start.
Out back, behind the bar is a nice big patio – it’s perfect for warm summer evenings. They have a bunch of picnic tables which makes sure that you can always find a seat when you want to relax in the sunshine (or under the stars and a canopy of string lights).
I keep finding myself being drawn back to the ‘Black Sheep Public House’ when I’m in the area. It’s a problem when you’re obsessed in the way that I am about trying out every possible bar in the city – but it’s a good sign that they’re doing something right.
Are there things with the place now that I’m sure Jon Taffer would rant about if he walked in? Sure there are. In my honest, professional drinker’s opinion, though – I like it. I’ve never had bad service, never had bad food, and the drinks are always on point.
If you find yourself in the Cheviot area, while a bar crawl might certainly be in order, I think a stop at the Public House is required.