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Popular Cincinnati Restaurant & Bar to Open Second Location in Newport

A popular Cincinnati restaurant is expanding with a second location in Newport.

O'Bryon's Bar & Grill, a go-to spot for wings, beer, and good times in Cincinnati's O'Bryonville neighborhood, hopes to be open in early March at 736 Washington Avenue, in the renovated historic bar building recently vacated by Katharina's Cafe, the Newport's East Row.

"Whether we'll be known as a neighborhood pub or a sports bar or a place to go to listen to live music in the summer on the patio, I just think ultimately we want to be part of that neighborhood and feel of yesteryear when you could walk to your neighborhood pub and it was a place where people communicated and shared some laughs and let some steam roll off," said co-owner Jason Esterkamp.

The building, which was restored by Newport-based Mansion Hill Properties to make way for Katharina's just last year before that German restaurant abruptly closed at the end of November, is undergoing another remodel for the Irish-themed pub, which would like to have guests inside by Saint Patrick's Day, naturally.

And with a couple of weeks of practice, Esterkamp said.

"We'd like to not open within like twenty-four hours of Saint Patty's Day, in my mind that's a recipe for disaster," Esterkamp laughed. "We'd love a two-week buffer."

Fans of the O'Bryonville location will find a familiar vibe, he said, and those who have never been will find something new to love.

"Coming to Newport is really quite perfect because, being from Cincinnati, I kind of understand the logistics of the geographic nature of Greater Cincinnati in that east doesn't go west and vice versa, and north doesn't go south," Esterkamp said. "South goes north more than north goes south.  They're close in mileage but in reality they're really far away."

Esterkamp has been busy, having just opened a barbecue kitchen in Blue Ash, Oh., but when Mansion Hill's Jim Bush told him about the Newport opportunity, he jumped

"(Mansion Hill) did a fantastic space last year and I think it's an under-served market," Esterkamp said. "As much as Newport wants the Levee to be their anchor, I don't think that's what these residents are looking for on a nightly basis. I think the trend is small, independently owned and operated businesses that are neighborhood-driven. We want to be part of that fabric."

Partner Ryan Stacy will run the kitchen as he has in O'Bryonville and Jeremy Bowman will come from Jefferson Social to be the general manager. "(Bowman) has a great palate for beer and I think he'll put together a really nice beverage program that the neighborhood will appreciate and like a lot," Esterkamp said. That will include cocktails and craft beers. Braxton Brewing Company is creating a special brew just for O'Bryon's, which will be on tap at both locations. And, of course, there will be Guiness on tap, too.

"We think it's a great fit for the historic building to bring an Irish pub and restaurant," said Mark Ramler of Mansion Hill Properties. "Some of the renovations we are doing will restore some of the original historic elements. This is going to be a really good use of the building and I think it's going to be a good local pub for the neighborhood."

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher