Christkindlmarkt Returns for Three Full Weekends This Holiday Season

Organizers are bringing the Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt back for its second holiday season this year, starting Thanksgiving weekend and operating each weekend until December 15.

Last year’s Christkindlmarkt took place every weekend on Fountain Square. This year the festive seasonal marketplace will spend its first weekend on Fountain Square and then move for its final two weekends to Essen Strasse on the south side of Findlay Market in historic Over-the-Rhine.

“It was decided to move the Christkindlmarkt to Findlay Market for the following two weekends because it is the most iconic market place in the city, and is representative of Cincinnati’s German culture,” explained Lisa Bambach, marketing and creative director for Cincideutsch. “It is a link not only to Cincinnati’s German past, but also to the vibrant German-American culture which continues to permeate the city today.”

Cincinnati Christkindlmarkt
Visitors at Cincinnati’s inaugural Christkindlmarkt on Fountain Square in 2012. Photograph by Paige Malott.

Christkindlmarkt have been a holiday tradition in town centers throughout Germany and Austria for hundreds of years.

“It is a place for people to get together with family and friends to enjoy the seasonal weather and celebrate the holidays,” explained Olaf Scheil, a native of Lübeck, Germany and president and co-founder of Cincideutsch. “We are thrilled to be able to bring this tradition to the people of Cincinnati for the second year in a row.”

After more than 15,000 people visited last year, Scheil expects a similar number of visitors to come and enjoy the Christkindlmarkt this season. To help keep things interesting and active, organizers have coordinated live music, glass blowing, holiday sweets and baked goods, drink, decorations and crafts for sale within half-timbered houses.

In addition to the European baked goods, a hot spiced wine called Glühwein is also considered to be a holiday favorite amongst visitors. And in Cincinnati and German fashion, there will also be plenty of beer to go around.

“Glühwein is something I look forward to making each year since I first tried it in Switzerland,” Bambach confessed. “The aroma of the spices reminds me of Christmas just like the smell of pumpkin makes me think of Thanksgiving. It is a consistent feature at Christkindlmarkt in Europe, no matter which city you visit.”

Cincinnati’s Christkindlmarkt is sponsored by Christian Moerlein Brewing Company and will kick off in coordination with Macy’s Light Up The Square and DCI’s Downtown Dazzle on November 29 through December 1. The seasonal market will then move to Findlay Market December 6-8 and December 13-15. Both locations will have heaters to help keep visitors warm on cold days.

“We received both positive and negative feedback from 2012, and we have worked diligently to improve visitors’ experiences based on those comments,” Bambach noted. “The market is completely organized and run by volunteers, and in our second year we wanted to expand while also ensuring the growth was manageable.”

The Christkindlmarkt will be open from 11am to 9pm on Friday and Saturday, and 11am to 5pm on Sunday at Fountain Square. The market will then be open in coordination with normal Findlay Market hours when it moves there for its final two weekends.

Dive Bar set to open this week on Short Vine in Corryville

A new neighborhood tavern is slated to open in Corryville soon along Short Vine. The new establishment, Dive Bar, occupies the space previously used by Submarine Galley and is scheduled to open this Thursday just in time for Cinco de Mayo.

Those familiar with the location may not recognize the space from the street as the building has undergone a significant renovation that has completely restored the historic structures exterior and interior spaces.

“It was a disaster inside,” said Dive Bar partner John Pedro. “We started working, on the space, in January and have used five big dumpsters to clean it out inside.” Pedro says that while he and his business partners have focused on the 1,800-square-foot interior, the Uptown Consortium assisted financially with exterior renovations including roof repair.

The bar will include lounge seating, free wifi with plentiful electrical outlets, simple street food prepared by Flop Johnsons, and a rotating menu of beer and wine. The beer, Pedro says, will include $1 Pabst Blue Ribbon cans all the time, but also a large selection of craft beers including Dogfish Head, Anchor Steam, Great Lakes, Mt. Carmel, Christian Moerlein and Hudepohl. In total he expects there to be between 30 to 40 different beers, and 15 to 20 different wines available at any given time.

To further the experience, Pedro says that patrons will be able to purchase a mug for a quarter. The purchased mug will then have the patron’s name etched on it and hang behind the bar for only their use, and will get them $3 drink specials. The whole idea is to create a neighborhood-oriented feel that caters to regulars.

“All of our places are neighborhood joints, and this place is no different,” said Pedro who is also involved with Hang Over Easy and Village Idiot in Columbus. “We think it’s great when you can walk into these neighborhood type dive bars and know the people working there.”

In order to accomplish that Pedro and his partners have hired all local individuals to operate the bar, and value their business model on being able to serve as an incubator, of sorts, for local talent. Additionally, Pedro says that the group is excited to enter the Cincinnati market and become a part of the evolving Corryville neighborhood, but that recent streetcar setbacks have been disappointing.

“We felt the connectivity to downtown, and the activity down there, would have been great, but at the same time the neighborhoods surrounding the university are great,” Pedro explained. “We’re hugely disappointed because that connectivity to downtown, and all the activity happening down there, would have been great. Slowly but surely things will connect, but in Columbus it’s taken 20 to 30 years for Short North to connect with the downtown there.”

Dive Bar (map) will be open Monday through Saturday from 11am to 2:30am, and will be closed on Sundays except during football season. Stay connected with Dive Bar for details on future specials and weekly events.

Dive Bar exterior photograph by Jake Mecklenborg for UrbanCincy.

Live Jazz & Wine Tasting on Fountain Square – 5/7

Fountain Square will play host to a wine tasting and sampling event with dozens of wines from around the world Friday, May 7 – making it the place to end the work week.

Event organizers state that knowledgeable staff will be on hand Cork ‘N Bottle to help guests explore the wine selection and learn about each wine they taste. There will also be food available for purchase and live jazz by the Faux Frenchman (5pm to 8pm) and the Chris Comer Trio (8pm to 11pm) filling Fountain Square with music.

The wine tasting will start at 5pm and last until 11pm. Admission is free, but those wanting to engage in the wine tasting will have to purchase wine tickets that can be exchanged for small tastings or full glasses. For those not interested in the wine, then the music and calm spring night should be enough to get you out and out on Fountain Square for the evening.

Fountain Square Wine Tasting photograph by PicNewbie.

Craft beer tasting at Market Wines – 4/10

For many people Findlay Market is a frequent destination year round, but when the weather becomes warmer there is just something different at the historic market. There are more vendors, more patrons, more events and just an overall more festive atmosphere and sense of camaraderie. As it stands, Ohio’s oldest open air market serves as the weekend activity epicenter in Over-the Rhine, and up until a couple of years ago, the one thing the market lacked was somewhere for patrons to gather and easily engage in conversation. Sure you see familiar vendors and friends in the aisle of the market house, or you may grab a coffee and take a seat at an available table, but nowhere could you go to satisfy the yearn to truly interact.

Thankfully Market Wines has provided this piece of the puzzle. Aside from the carefully selected retail offerings of wine and craft beers to take home and pair with your next meal, their weekend wine and beer tastings inside the cozy space offer an inviting venue to take a break from the task of shopping and actually become part of the Findlay Market experience.

Having just celebrated a two-year anniversary and fresh off a Best of Cincinnati award for “Best Wine Tasting” in the city, Market Wines is switching gears from wine to its other focus this Saturday. Teaming up with local beer connoisseur Gregg Wilson, for $5 Market Wines proprietor Mike Maxwell is offering a delicious assortment of five hand-crafted brews to taste from 11am to 3pm.

The tastings add a different dynamic to the market Maxwell notes, “Often times customers come in to just to do a tasting, but by the time they leave they have found themselves discussing wine, food, beer, current events and even politics with people whom 10 minutes prior were complete strangers. It is such an added dimension to your Findlay Market visit that helps build the sense of community that we are all striving for in Cincinnati and OTR.”

Aside from helping build relationships on the personal level, it seems as though it also helps build synergies between the Findlay Market business owners. Multiple vendors such as Kroeger & Sons Meats, Taste Of Belgium, and Dojo Gelato pop into Maxwell’s store to buy craft beer to use in their respective treats such as beer brats, crepes and….you guessed it, gelato.

When Market Wines first opened, most of the sales were driven by already existing Findlay Market customers willing to support the new kid on the block. Since then however, Maxwell has seen an increasing number of customers come down specifically for wine and beer tastings having never before stepped foot in Over-the Rhine. By the time they leave they are a fan for life, most re-visiting on a weekly basis for groceries, and of course those wonderful tastings. Maxwell couldn’t be happier, “It’s great to feel like we are really adding to the market and pulling our own weight.”

Findlay Market patrons enjoying Market Wines – photos provided.

This Saturday’s tasting will begin with a few lighter bodied and easier drinking beers. “Hopsun” is a delicious, dry-hopped summer wheat from Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, NY, followed by Marshall, MI-based Dark Horse Brewing Company’s “Raspberry Ale”, a very easy drinking ale with a hint of real raspberries and then “Combined Harvest” from Batemans Brewery, located in Lincolnshire, UK and representing the only imported beer of the day. This ale is brewed as a “multi-grain” beer with Barley, Oats, Wheat and Rye as opposed to just the malted barley used in most.

The flavor profiles will then take a step up into a couple of richer beers, starting with the “Slam Dunkel” Weizenbock and its bready notes of banana and clove, from Weyerbacher Brewing in Easton, PA, then moving into the crowning achievement of the day, with Avery Brewing’s yearly release of the highly regarded “Maharaja” Imperial IPA. Savor every sip of this regal ale and all of its intense hop goodness, but be aware of its potency at over 10% Alcohol by Volume (ABV).

The tasting is open to the public and will run from 11am to 3pm at Market Wines’ location at historic Findlay Market (map) which is open from 8am to 6pm every Saturday. Whether you are already headed to Findlay Market, or if you are still looking for something to bide your time, head down to Market Wines and engage yourself. Cheers!

Taste German wines at eight Gateway Quarter shops at first Grape-Vine Friday

The Gateway Quarter Merchants Group will be hosting the first “Grape-Vine” Friday throughout the Gateway Quarter in historic Over-the-Rhine on Friday, October 2 from 5pm to 7pm.

Eight different merchants are encouraging the public to “sip, shop and socialize” throughout the shopping district. The event is the first of what will becoming a monthly happening that will feature a wine of the month in each of the participating stores where visitors can stop in and enjoy a complimentary tasting while they shop and socialize.

The October Grape-Vine will feature German wines in respect to ongoing Oktoberfest celebrations. Each of the merchants this month have worked with City Cellars on their wine selection and will have information to share about each selection. If you like what you’re tasting, then you’re encouraged to visit City Cellars just down the street for your very own bottle (or two).

Metronation, Segway of Cincinnati, Mica 12/v, Outside, A Lucky Step, Joseph Williams Home, Switch and Coffee Emporium are all participating while Lavomatic will feature a wine special on a select German wine. Below Zero Lounge will also be hosting an evening cabaret hosted by Carol Sherman Jones and Sherry McCamley from 7pm to 9:30pm making for a perfect place to head after you finish your sipping, shopping and socializing.

Grape-Vine Friday is scheduled for the next two months on November 6 and December 4. There is plenty of free on-street parking in and around the Gateway Quarter plus parking available at the 12th & Vine parking lot and the Gateway Garage which can be accessed off of 12th Street or Central Parkway. There are also lots of bike racks available and Metro bus service (plan your trip now).

Lavomatic Cafe photo by 5chw4r7z. Yes I used your photo again 5chw4r7z.