Secret Ohio: Food & Drink
These hidden-away spots may take a little more work to find, but they’re well worth it.
In Italian, “sotto” literally means “under,” so it makes sense that this dining spot is tucked below street level. Brick walls and a rustic ambiance greet diners, who show up seven nights a week for the menu of upscale Italian cuisine with a modern twist. 118 E. Sixth St., Cincinnati 45202, 513/977-6886, sottocincinnati.com
Strongwater Food and Spirits, Columbus
Housed in a century-old warehouse in the Franklinton neighborhood, this restaurant and event space embraces as much of the building’s historic charm as possible, including its original terrazzo tile flooring, sawtooth windows and antique machinery. 401 W. Town St., Columbus 43215, 614/928-3170, strongwatercolumbus.com
Quintana’s Speakeasy, Cleveland Heights
It’s a barbershop and spa by day, but once 3 p.m. arrives (noon on Fridays and Saturdays), visitors can ascend the rear stairs to a hidden bar and lounge (complete with secret bookcase passage), where bartenders craft old-school cocktails in a cozy space. 2200 South Taylor Rd., Cleveland Heights 44118, 216/262-8288, qbds.net/speakeasy. Note: As of May 2021, weekend hours also open at 3 p.m.