New Spots to Visit in NKY
Whether you want to shake up your routine or welcome NKY’s latest businesses, this list of 10 new Northern Kentucky restaurants, bars and things to do is a perfect place to start.
Nestled along the Ohio River in Bellevue, Ky. MRBL steakhouse promises an elevated fine-dining experience served with a side of Cincinnati skyline views. Feast on classic U.S.D.A Prime steaks or try one of their sushi rolls made by chef Michael Kim. The restaurant also has a delectable list of appetizers, including tempura shrimp, a caprese salad and ahi tuna tacos. Located on the fourth floor, the views start as soon as guests step onto the glass elevator. Once at the top, they can unwind in MRBL’s elegantly-decorated space, making it a perfect choice for a date night, celebratory dinner or other special occasions.
Covington’s Mainstrasse Village welcomed a new gin and tapas bar in early 2023: Juniper’s. Complete with eclectic decor, the bar has a cozy vibe and boasts over 100 varieties of gin. Their rotating tapas menu dips into global and local flavor profiles, from Spain to the Middle East to the Czech Republic and all the way to Cincinnati. Located in the original John R. Green Company building, Juniper’s is the brainchild of Lesley and Vic Hugo, who also founded Covington’s Crafts & Vines wine bar.
Can’t get enough tapas? Consider Conserva. Located in Ludlow, Ky. Challis and Lauren Hodge — who also own market/cafe Taste on Elm and food truck lot Ernie’s Yard — opened Conserva in November 2022. Inspired by Spain’s tapas culture, the restaurant is built on the belief that food and wine bring people together. Their menu features a varied selection of over 30 wines, sherry, sangria, vermouth and more imported from Spain and Portugal. Guests can also opt for classic cocktails. Small plates include Patatas a la Riojana (chorizo, potatoes, onion, garlic, paprika), Ensalada de Queso Murcia (frisée, radicchio, drunken goat cheese, walnuts, membrillo, vinaigrette) and Aceitunas Calientes (olives, garlic, fennel, thyme, orange zest, chilies). Along with tapas, Conversa’s menu includes preserved seafood and pintxos, or appetizers served on a skewer.
Turfway Park Racing & Gaming
Florence, Kentucky’s Turfway Park Racing & Gaming underwent major renovations since being purchased by Churchill Downs in 2019. Now guests can take a spin at over 800 games, including “Buffalo,” “Wheel of Fortune” and “Lock it Link.” Horse race enthusiasts, rejoice! Place bets and watch live racing at Turfway Park’s The Homestretch, which also offers food service. Turfway visitors can also eat at restaurants Serena’s Pizzeria or Churchill’s Bourbon & Brew.
Covington neighborhood bar The Well wants you to be well and make memories. Kick back on the patio when the sun is shining or find a seat in their spacious, cozy lounge on game day and grab a beer or try one of their fun cocktails, like the Antibody, a pinkish concoction of tequila, strawberry, lemon juice, elderflower, jalapeño and basil. Their food is provided by Grub Local, a concept headed by chef Mitch Arens that pulls inspiration from American staples. Chow on everything from Memphis-style belly ribs (complete with Ale-8 ginger glaze) to Chicago-ish-style hot dogs and po'boys. Bar-goers can also soak up suds with crispy Philly cheesesteak tots, pimento mac-n-cheese, soft pretzels and more. The Well also hosts live music and trivia nights.
Shiners on the Levee
Channel your inner cowboy and head to Shiners on the Levee, in Newport, Ky. Billed as a casual barbecue eatery, their menu offers shareable appetizers, salads, sandwiches, smoked meats and more. Not carnivorous? The barbecue joint also has vegetarian options, including a plant-based sausage. Enjoy live country music every weekend, line dancing and karaoke. Having opened in December 2022, Shiners is one of Newport on the Levee’s latest additions. And their cocktail menu stays true to Shiners’ country roots by serving up moonshine-based drinks. Yee haw!
Located across the street from Madison Theater in Covington, Maki Mono offers a full sushi and sake bar. Whether you dine in or take out, their grub is fresh and sourced from local farmers’ markets no matter the season. An Asian-fusion restaurant, Maki Mono’s menu includes lunch deals and entrees like customizable spicy ramen; grilled salmon; traditional-style fried rice; and crispy chicken (or pork) katsu served with steamed rice and veggies. Sushi options are divided into specialty, classic, vegetarian and deep-fried. Sake fans will also find a lot to love. Alongside wine and bottled beer, they offer over 20 sake selections.
Taj Mahal Bar & Grill
Also neighbors with Madison Theater is Taj Mahal Bar & Grill, which serves up modern takes on classic Northern Indian food in Covington. No matter your taste buds’ preferences, you’re sure to find something to love in their chicken, lamb, fish, shrimp, rice or vegetarian specialties. Taj Mahal also offers dishes cooked in a tandoor, a charcoal-fired oven made from clay that yields juicy, tantalizing results.
Take a stroll in Covington’s Mainstrasse Village; you can’t miss Japanese restaurant Nagomi’s bubblegum-pink exterior. Owned by Yukio and Reiko Fukunaga, the quaint restaurant aims to serve authentic Japanese food with plenty of vegan and non-vegan options. Grab a bento box for lunch, which includes miso soup, a salad and your choice of salmon, chicken, vegan teriyaki or karaage. Nagomi also offers dunburi, miso ramen, udon noodles and sushi. Wash it down with Ramune (Japanese 7-up) or a selection of Japanese tea.
The Post is a family-friendly taproom and bottle shop located in downtown Fort Thomas, Ky. From IPAs to Irish lagers, The Post has 19 beers and ciders on tap along with a smaller selection of wine and other cans, including Flying Embers Hard Kombucha, Mom Water, High Noon and non-alcoholic sips. Customers are welcome to bring food in but the bar also sells light bites. The spacious taproom includes a play area for children, making it a perfect spot for parents to relax. Keep an eye on their social media or website for events like trivia, food truck Fridays, storytimes for kids, movie screenings and more.
Need some inspiration on where to stay in NKY while trying out these new spots? Take a look at our Places to Stay page.