“The hot water’s on the right!” shouted one of the older gentlemen sitting down at the end of the bar. I turned a little and waved, thanking him for the tip as I stepped into the bathroom at Crowley’s Irish Pub (also called Crowley’s Highland House Cafe, or just Crowley’s). It’s one of the little things that jump out about a bar that was built in 1937 and that has been family owned ever since. Don’t get me wrong – while the bathroom is a little rough – and a little backward, too, with the whole water thing – Crowley’s isn’t a dive bar… it’s a neighborhood bar tucked into one of my favorite Cincinnati neighborhoods, Mt. Adams.
Why Crowley’s Fits Perfectly In Mt. Adams
Mt Adams is an excellent example of a Cincinnati neighborhood, a little island perched upon a hill overlooking the city. When you spend time there, eating or drinking, it’s easy to forget that you’re still in Cincinnati – it feels like a little city somewhere else.
Crowley’s is a perfect example of that, too. When you walk in, the bar will probably have a few regulars perched on their stools sipping something cold. The day I stopped in this week, the windows were open and a breeze blew through the room, making me feel like I had found a place to escape from the chaos that I know was waiting for me after my beer.
In this way, Crowley’s isn’t even really a bar in the traditional sense – though I’m sure it probably feels more like one in the evenings or weekends when things get a little busier. Crowley’s is built as a place to hold a neighborhood together, and you can feel that in your bones when you climb onto your barstool.
What To Expect When You Belly Up
There are plenty of things to drink – the tap list is short but nicely done. It’s a rotating selection of craft and “big” beer. You aren’t going to be out of place sipping on a glass of whiskey, either.
At its heart, Crowley’s is an Irish pub, though. The overabundance of shamrocks and Irish flags will not let you forget that. Because of that, I can’t help myself but recommend a pint of Guinness – which I can only assume is always on the tap list.
The bar is laid out simply – designed to support crowds of thirsty drinkers. It’s a large open room, with a big bar on one side and some tables and chairs on the other. A fireplace greets you when you walk in the door with pictures of the Crowley’s above it.
I love drinking here, but this is one of those places that makes me want something more than that. I want to sit and talk with people. Far too many bars are losing this. It’s not that there aren’t televisions or a jukebox in Crowley’s – because there are.
It’s something else that gives the bar its ability to do that. It’s history, personality, and a soul that you can’t ignore.
I’ll be back to Crowley’s many more times in my life, and I have a sneaking suspicion that it will look and feel the exact same way it does right now.