Person bartending at Opa Grill & Tavern in Delaware (photo by Opa Grill & Tavern)
Food + Drink

Behind the Bar: Opa Grill & Tavern and Longfellow’s Other Room

One is a charming spot in downtown Delaware. The other is a hidden back-room bar in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. Don’t miss either of them. 

Spirits enthusiasts know that sometimes the best finds are in the most unexpected places. From a hidden back-room bar in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood to a Mediterranean outpost in charming downtown Delaware, here are a couple bars with collections that make them must-visit destinations!   

Opa Grill & Tavern: Where Mediterranean Cuisine Meets Bourbon

Downtown Delaware is full of great finds, from boutique shops and breweries to old-school diners and art galleries. Nestled amongst the historic storefronts is Opa Grill & Tavern, an eatery known for hearty Mediterranean fare, good drinks and great camaraderie.

When guests enter through the glass door at the front of the restaurant, their eye will immediately be drawn to the many shelves behind the bar layered deep with bottles of all sizes. In addition to their enticing menu, Opa Grill & Tavern is noted for their expansive bourbon and whiskey selection. Guests are already drawn to Opa for its rich and filling fare like fried calamari, Greek salads, saganaki, giant gyros and spicy chicken Argos, but the dynamic and ever-changing list of bourbons keeps them coming back again and again.

It would take dozens of visits to explore the full spirits menu, but on top of its constantly growing selection, Opa often features special tastings, one-of-a-kind whiskeys, barrel-strength spirits and other rarities. Every month they highlight a different flight of four whiskeys, often built around a theme.

The team behind Opa Grill & Tavern takes their love of bourbon and whiskey beyond the walls of the restaurant, often visiting different distilleries and bringing back their new-found knowledge to make your cocktails memorable.

18 S. Sandusky St., Delaware 43015,

Longfellow’s Other Room in Cincinnati (photo by Catherine Grace)
Longfellow’s Other Room: Not Just Another Place for Rum

Owner Mike Stankovich describes Longfellow’s Other Room, the smaller back bar behind Longfellow in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine, as having “the feel of your grandparent’s basement.” You can access the Other Room through a separate entrance off the back alley or through the back of Longfellow, and once inside you’ll discover a delightfully cozy and eclectic hangout with a gorgeous wooden bar, exposed brick walls and floral-themed pictures covering every vertical surface.

Open only Fridays and Saturdays, Longfellow’s Other Room features one of the largest rum selections in Ohio. The list easily tops 100 different types of rum at any given time, with selections coming from around Ohio and across the world. The team there is dedicated to showcasing the large variety of rums available globally and how the sugarcane-derived spirit can be just as dynamic as whiskey, tequila or gin.

In addition to offering tastings, the crew behind the bar at Longfellow’s Other Room also concocts amazing libations that showcase rum. So no matter what time of year you’re visiting, the little back room bar can transport you to breezy tropical locales. And on top of the vast rum collection, the Other Room also features classic cocktails and absinthe.

1233 Clay St., Cincinnati 45202,

Proof Magazine is for Ohio spirit lovers. It is produced by Great Lakes Publishing three times a year. Dont miss an issue by subscribing to Ohio MagazineView a digital version of the Proof Magazine Summer 2023 edition here