Friday, December 7, 2007

Insert Stale Ohio Joke Here: A Club Nationals Visitors Guide

Cincinnati: the Queen City. Home of the first Loews movie theater. Home of the original professional baseball club. Home of the least-funny commentary-driven running blog on the web. Run by two of the homeliest SOB's you've ever seen. And, at long last, home of the USATF Club Cross Country Championships.

Yes, we get it. Traveling your entire club team here is expensive. That's a bunch of airfares to buy, a bunch of hotel rooms to rent, a bunch of Quaker Chewy Granola bars to pack for your meals. But Cincinnati? Perfect location. Why? It's going to be expensive wherever Club Nationals is, but in Cincinnati EVERYONE will have to undergo the same financial hardships to get there -- so no bitching from East-Coasters about San Francisco, and no bitching from West-Coasters about anywhere else... if it's equally unfair for everyone THAT MEANS IT'S FAIR. And the PLUS side is that once you're here, Cincinnati's a pretty inexpensive city. Taking just one example: accomodations are inexpensive enough that, say, when it's 2:30 in the morning and you've been out drinking all night, say, at the sparkling new all-you-can-eat Brazilian style steakhouse, and, say, that girl you worked with last summer at the Montgomery Inn Boathouse, where the ribs are world-famous, has been all over you, and say, she still lives with her parents and you're staying with your parents because you're just home for Thanksgiving, let's just say you probably wouldn't think twice about getting a room at a place as respectable as say, a Days Inn, maybe, just for the night, because, hey, it's Cincinnati: shit's priced around here like it's Mexico.

Ultimately... you're coming in town for this little race. Might as well enjoy it, right? After the jump, find out everything you need to know to make your trip Cincitastic.

You've heard the hype, you've seen it featured in every national broadcast of a sporting event in Cincinnati...

Skyline Chili, first off... You remember "Snapple: Made from the Best Stuff on Earth"? They were required by law to start including a little Skyline in each bottle before that campaign ran. False advertising and all that shit. So yeah, when it comes to Skyline folks seem to pretty much love it or hate it, which is to say you will either love it or you're stupid. After your post-race debauching, go to the one on Ludlow Ave near the University of Cincinnati for a late night heart attack courtesy our town's brown ambrosian nectar topped with a mountain of cheese to rival Olympus. And don't bother with a menu - just order a cheese coney or four, or a three- four- or five-way. (Beans OR onions make a 4-way, beans AND onions make a 5-way... boo-yah Boolean logic.) The bottom line is that if you leave Cincinnati without having tried this stuff, you might as well have not bothered coming at all. Oh, and if you think, Oh, I'll just go to Gold-Star Chili - it's pretty much the same, then next time you go to 'put it in' some broad, I recommend you go slam your dick in a hot waffle iron instead, because Oh, in the same way Gold Star is like Skyline, it's pretty much the same.

I know it's winter but go get some Graeters Ice Cream. This stuff is so good it's been ruining ice cream for Cincinnatians for decades - we can't be bothered with Baskin Robbins or Haagen Daaz or whatever sorry excuse for frozen dessert you call your own. When you go, just be sure to get a chip flavor. You'll probably end up with a chocolate piece the size of your... thumb. Matter of fact, be warned: you eat Graeters once and you might start feeling the need to start ordering it online, and shipping ice cream so it doesn't melt ain't cheap...

I admit: I was tempted to put "life" in sarcastic quotes like I just did. And until recently that probably would have been a true statement about this fairest of river cities. But the landscape is much improved:

Cadillac Ranch Bar/Grille. Two words: mechanical bull. Their website calls it the "baddest mechanical bull in town" but thankfully, I can pretty confidently say it's the ONLY mechanical bull in town. I know... a shocker to most of you, with your misconceptions about Cincinnati.

Hofbrauhaus. Too bad it'll be too cold to really enjoy the garden out back, but grab a huge stein of their delicious liquid gold and get ready to swing it around while standing on a wooden bench and singing along in a Beer Hall so authentic they mention it in the guided tour of the original Hofbrau in Munich.

Want your Saturday night to have a pretentious East Village feel? Find coffee shops, good ethnic food, and dive bars in Clifton, near the University of Cincinnati. Like things simple? Movies, bars and restaurants down at Newport on the Levee - everything's in one place, with great views of Cincinnati from the Kentucky side of the river. Like your evening to feel shiny and new? Lots of newly-opened bars in the downtown/Fountain Square area are attracting a young, professional crowd. (Or so I'm told - they're so new I've never even been.)

Cincinnati's a good looking town, especially at night. I've been 90% of America's biggest cities. Maybe four have a better skyline. See?

Most people look at Cincinnati and make a Bengals joke. I look at Cincinnati and see a world-class zoo that tigers -- both bengal, and Siberian -- call home. Most people look at Cincinnati and make a race-relations joke. I look at Cincinnati and appreciate the culture: the Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the two national-caliber universities, the beautiful Krohn Conservatory with its great holiday displays which are now showing (free), for those of you who want to get in the Christmas spirit. Most people look at Cincinnati and make a Larry Flynt joke. Me? I look at Cincinnati and also make a Larry Flynt joke. But why shouldn't I? After all, like the subjects of Hustler, Cincinnati is curvy, with lots of hills and bottle-blond hair. And it looks best when it's jumping up and down. Or taking a shower with another city.


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