As we were standing in front of the court house in downtown Cincinnati, learning about the worst riot in the city’s history and one of the worst in whole country, I noticed some curious onlookers watching us as they walked by. “What kind of crazy person pays good money to walk around the city learning history?” I imagined them asking themselves. After taking Queen City History’s ‘Brothels, Bootleggers, and Booze’ tour out of Arnold’s last Saturday I can tell you that it is not just history nerds who will appreciate the experience.
Queen City History offers walking tours around Over the Rhine. The many of these tours are lead by Michael Morgan, founder of the Queen City History and author of the book ‘Over the Rhine: When Beer was King,’ who as done much of the research to uncover the history found in the tours. This history ranges from the respectable to the bloody with everything in between. Even though I consider myself pretty well informed about history, especially the brewing and bootlegging part of it, I came away from the tour having learned quite a bit. The only part of the tour that gave me pause was when I had to go down about four flights of shaky metal stairs to reach an under ground lager cellar. This is not a tour for kids, people who have trouble walking, or anyone who has a problem with heights or underground spaces. I almost decided to wait up above but I am glad I didn’t because it was like being transported back in time.
There are still plenty of tours left before they shut down for the season. You can take the Brothels, Bootleggers and Booze tour out of Arnold’s every Saturday at 11:00 am through September 14th. Cost is $25 and through the end of August you can pay an additional $5 to do a tasting with a local beer. On Wednesdays at 5:30 you can take the Rise and Fall of Over the Rhine tour leaving from Japp’s. Tours are $25 and include a cocktail at Japp’s.