Historic architecture reimagined as iconic Cincy attractions 

Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky have no shortage of historical buildings and stories. Over the years, many of the region's historic buildings have had new life breathed into them bringing the historic into the modern era. These former churches, train stations, and historic houses now welcome visitors into their restaurants, hotels, breweries, and attractions. Enjoy exploring these reimagined places in Cincy.

Carlo & Johnny and The Precinct

Jeff Ruby's Carlo & Johnny (photo: Provided by Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment)
Jeff Ruby's Carlo & Johnny (Photo: Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment)

Jeff Ruby’s restaurants are known to have some of the best steaks in Cincinnati. Two two with rather interesting pasts. The historic mansion that is now home to Carlo & Johnny was once a casino and gangster hideout. While you don't have to worry about “swimming with the fishes,” you can indulge in the restaurant's raw bar offering six varieties of oysters, Alaskan king crab, and cold-water lobster—not to mention, the award-winning Ruby steaks. The Precinct is aptly named as it resides in the former Cincinnati Police Patrol House Number 6. The historic space provides an intimate white-tablecloth experience in Cincinnati's East End neighborhood.

Cartridge Brewing

Cartridge Brewing (photo: Instagram user @rvp_photo, @plattearchitectureanddesign, @cartridgebrewing)
Cartridge Brewing (Photo: Instagram user @rvp_photo, @plattearchitectureanddesign, @cartridgebrewing)

Where gunpowder and ammunition were once produced in the early 20th century, now craft beers are brewed on the banks of the Little Miami River in the historic Peters Cartridge Factory. Long a favorite for ghost-hunting fanatics, the complex is on the National Register of Historic Places and produced ammunition cartridges for Allied troops during World War I. Focusing on tradition, Cartridge Brewing serves a selection of old-world beers alongside easy-drinking specialty styles that are brewed on-site. The brewery is right off of the Little Miami Scenic Bike Trail in Maineville, OH, so you can take a ride and cool off with a nice cold brew at the brewery.

Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal

Cincinnati Museum Center (photo: @yessiedesign)
Cincinnati Museum Center (photo: @yessiedesign)

One of the finest examples of Art Deco splendor, the Cincinnati Museum Center once welcomed home soldiers from World War II when it was known more simply as Union Terminal and functioned primarily as a busy train station. The USO also used the venue as a lounge during the war. After a brief two-year stint as a shopping mall in the early 1980s, the venue then was transformed into Cincinnati Museum Center. While it still services Amtrak, the National Historic Landmark is packed with things to do. The center houses three different museums with fascinating exhibits, an Omnimax theater, a stunning rotunda lobby, and a historic ice cream parlor. Learn more about the Cincinnati Museum Center and its incredible architecture

Hotel Covington

Hotel Covington lobby (photo: Provided by Hotel Covington)
Hotel Covington lobby (photo: Provided by Hotel Covington)

Hotel Covington now sits in the spot that was once Coppin's Department Store, Kentucky's first "skyscraper" at seven stories tall. The region's largest department store in the early 20th century is now one of the most luxurious places to stay in Covington, Ky. The boutique hotel incorporated vintage style and character into its decor and guest rooms and Coppin's Restaurant pays obvious homage to the space's history. The restaurant offers modern American cuisine, and signature cocktails, and is a spot on the popular B-Line bourbon tour.  

Taft Museum of Art

Taft Museum of Art (photo: CincinnatiUSA.com)
Taft Museum of Art (photo: CincinnatiUSA.com)

The Taft Museum of Art, a National Historic Landmark, boasts a rich two-century history. Once the home of notable Cincinnatians like Nicholas Longworth, it showcases renowned landscape murals by African American artist Robert S. Ducanson, deemed the most significant pre-Civil War domestic murals in America. Named after its benefactors Anna Sinton Taft and Charles Phelps Taft, who resided there from 1873 to 1929, the museum, alongside their private collection, was given to the people of Cincinnati. Today, it stands as one of the country's premier small art museums.

Tousey House Tavern

Fried green tomatoes and hanky panky at Tousey House (photo: @_bridge_t)
Fried green tomatoes and hanky panky at Tousey House (photo: @_bridge_t)

Indulge in tasty Southern dishes and hospitality at Tousey House Tavern, a pre-Civil War building that dates back to 1817 and is considered one of the most accurate examples of Federal-style architecture in Northern Kentucky. Reinvented as a tavern and livery, boarding house, gift shop, and consignment shop, the Tousey House restaurant now dishes up southern fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, and more. It is also part of The B-Line, serving up an extensive selection of bourbons.

Urban Artifact

Urban Artifact (photo: Provided)
Urban Artifact (Photo: Urban Artifact)

You'll want to try one of the fruit or sour beers that this brewery is known for. Located in the former St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Northside, Urban Artifact's taproom is in the basement of the historic church with the brewery in the old gym. The owners incorporated parts of the church into the new decor, such as old radiators that now decorate the front of the bar and 1930s lamps hanging over the bar. 

The View at Shires' Garden

The View at Shires (photo: Lisa Colina)
The View at Shires (photo: Lisa Colina)

In 1842, an English aristocrat opened Shires Garden, an urban amusement resort with a theater (that birthed the matinee), magical gardens with plants from around the world, a hotel, and a grand restaurant. Six years later, a fire consumed the resort. Paying homage to its history, today's The View at Shires' Garden, located on the 10th floor of the City Club Apartments, offers a delicious seasonally-driven menu, craft cocktails, and breathtaking views year-round of the riverfront from its panoramic rooftop space. 

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