We here at meetNKY know that Northern Kentucky is home to many of the Cincy Region’s best restaurants, bars and attractions, but it’s always nice when an outside entity confirms it. Local altweekly CityBeat just released its annual Best Of Cincinnati issue and these NKY spots were named the best in the city, as voted on in a reader poll. 

Best New Restaurant

The image is of a table set at Mama's on Main which includes a light, two glasses of wine, two glasses of water, cheese bread, olives, a pasta dish and a salad.Mama’s on Main was named the best new restaurant in the entire Cincy Region. Located in the heart of Mainstrasse Village in Covington, Ky., diners can enjoy delicious New York City-style red-sauce Italian cuisine while nestled in the eclectic, highly-instagrammable decor, inspired by Botticelli’s and Andy Warhol’s “Venus.” Mama’s features romantic red interiors, vintage plates dotting the wall and a large stained-glass window salvaged from a nearby church that was destroyed by fire in the 1980s. To drink, there’s an impressive Italian wine list and housemade limoncello. It’s another gem from the dynamic husband-and-wife restaurateur duo of Emily Wolff and Paul Weckman, who also own Frida 602, Otto's, Larry's and The Standard in Covington.

Best Overall NKY Restaurant

Image is of a plate of oysters, a plate of crackers and a glass of white wine.

Walt's Hitching Post took home top honors in this category. This classic Northern Kentucky steakhouse has been open in some iteration since 1942. They specialize in steaks “dusted” with a secret-recipe seasoning blend and “charred to perfection” at 850 degrees. You’ll also find a raw bar, legendary fried chicken, smokehouse ribs and Southern-style favorites like fried green tomatoes and chicken livers. Each meal starts with a basket of their cult-favorite salted rye bread. The bourbon list ain’t too shabby either. Walt’s also recently became a favorite of celebrities Austin Butler and Tom Hardy when they were in town filming the movie The Bikeriders.

The rest of the top 10 are as follows:

2. Pompilios

3. KungFood Chu’s AmerAsia

4. Agave & Rye

5. Bouquet Restaurant

6. Libby's Southern Comfort

7. Greyhound Tavern

8. Otto's

9. The Baker's Table

10. Coppin’s at Hotel Covington

Best Menu (Most Innovative)

A table with two crunchy tacos topped with cheese and a white bowl of queso dip

Covington’s epic taco and tequila joint Agave & Rye was awarded the No. 1 spot in this category. Their menu innovations include over-the-top tacos with fillings like kangaroo, lobster, jackfruit, tater tots and Flaming Hot Cheetos.

Best Bourbon Selection (Bar)

A wall covered in bottles of bourbon with a chalkboard menu at the center at OKBB

Covington’s Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar won this title. With an ever-expanding selection of Kentucky’s native spirit, OKBB features more than 700 different bourbons and 200 different American whiskeys. The bar opened its doors on Kentucky Derby Day 2012 and has since been recognized as one of the nation’s best bourbon bars by the Bourbon Review. The bar is staffed by a group of expert bartenders, who can answer all your questions about Kentucky’s native spirit.

Northern Kentucky took home many more honors. Check out the categories and winners below.

Restaurants & Food

Best Goetta

A hand picking up a sandwich made with a glazed donut, goetta, and cheese

Glier’s Goetta

Best German

Hofbrauhaus Bier Girls

Hofbrauhaus. Covington’s Wunderbar! took home No. 3 in this category.

Best Hotel Restaurant

bowl of fried corn fritters with silver cup of sauce on a plate at coppins at hotel covington ky

Coppin’s at Hotel Covington

Best NKY Neighborhood Pizza Joint

Goodfellas pizza

1. Goodfellas Pizzeria

2. Strong's Brick Oven Pizzeria

3. Dewey's Pizza

Best NKY Neighborhood Restaurant

Image is of the outside facade of Pompilio's including their front door and over hanging sign that say's "Pompilio's".

1. Pompilios

2. KungFood Chu’s AmerAsia

3. Greyhound Tavern

Best NKY Neighborhood Coffee Shop

Image is a floral coffee mug with a late in it with flowers that make a heart on top and two plants next to it.

1. Roebling Point Books & Coffee

2. Unataza Coffee

3. Carabello Coffee

Best NKY Neighborhood Burger Spot

red basket of burger and pickle chips from bard's burgers in covington kentucky

1. Bard’s Burgers & Chili

2. Herb & Thelma's

3. Midway Cafe

Best NKY Neighborhood Bakery

Closeup of a tray packed with doughnuts iced with pink, blue and purple icing at Moonrise Doughnuts

1. Moonrise Doughnuts

2. North South Baking Co.

3. Emerson's Bakery

Bars & Nightlife

Best Bourbon Selection (Restaurant)

Woman seated at the wooden, well-stocked bar at Wiseguy Lounge in Mainstrasse Village

Goodfellas Pizzeria/Wiseguy Lounge

Best Bourbon Selection (Retail) and Best Liquor Store

Image is of the front view and parking lot of the Party Source with cars in the lot and people walking during the day.The Party Source

Best Local Distillery

Copy of New Riff Tasting BarNew Riff Distilling

Best Bourbon Cocktail

A short glass filled with a light yellow lemon cocktail with cinnamon and a twist of lemon on top at OKBB

Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar

Best Hotel Bar

the bar at coppins at hotel covington with plates of oranges, lemons, limes and shelves of alcohol with globe lights above

Coppin’s at Hotel Covington

Best NKY Bar/Club

Image is of a stage with guitars and speakers with the wording "Southgate House Revival, Newport, Kentucky, Southgaterevival.com".

1. Southgate House Revival

2. Jerry’s Jug House

3. Rosie’s Tavern


Best Scenic Overlook and Best Public Golf Course

Devou Park View

Covington’s Devou Park tied with Mount Adams’ Eden Park for the "Best Scenic Overlook".

Best Hidden Gem History Museum

behringer crawford trains

The Behringer-Crawford Museum also won this staff pick, with staff writing:

“Tucked away in Devou Park, the Behringer-Crawford Museum is a bit of an overlooked local gem — but it shouldn’t be. Dedicated to showcasing Northern Kentucky heritage, the stated mission of the BCM is to collect, present, study and enjoy the area’s natural, cultural, visual and performing arts heritage. Founded in 1950 as the William Behringer Memorial Museum, it initially showcased the collection of oddities its namesake acquired on his travels, including a stuffed two-headed calf born on a Kentucky farm. (The bi-brained bovine now serves as the museum’s mascot.) Today, visitors can continue to pay tribute to those curiosities while exploring exhibits dedicated to everything from regional paleontology and steamboat history to folk art and fashion. Climb aboard a 19th-century streetcar or watch toy trains whiz by in an elaborate, miniature urban display. Upstairs, the museum has space for rotating attractions, including this winter’s White Christmas exhibit, featuring costumes and ephemera from Irving Berlin’s classic holiday film on loan from the Rosemary Clooney House in Augusta, Kentucky. Check the BCM’s schedule for slice-of-life history lectures, which explore offbeat topics ranging from murders and classic cars to local landmarks.”


Best Green/Sustainable Goods Store and Best CBD Retailer

Image is of a white, painted brick wall with a neon sign that say's Kentucky Botanical Co.Kentucky Botanical Co.

Best Barbershop

Image is of the front door of Bellevue Barbershop with a sign out front that say's "Bellevue Barber Shop".

Bellevue Barbershop


Best Northern Kentuckian

Image is of George Clooney head shot in a black shirt and black jacket.

1. George Clooney
2. Jean-Robert de Cavel (Posthumous)
3. Nick Clooney

Best Northern Kentucky Neighborhood

1. Covington
2. Newport
3. Bellevue

Best Wedding Reception Hall

Courtyard of Hotel Covington set up for a wedding reception with an alter at the end.

Hotel Covington