The historic restaurant, Arnold’s Bar and Grill in Downtown Cincinnati is known for being the oldest bar in town but that’s not all they’re known for! For over a hundred years this special establishment has been a gathering place for creatives of all kinds! Not only can you see live music by local musicians every night in their beautiful courtyard but you will find yourself meeting poets, writers, musicians, actors, dancers, performers, and artists of all kinds enjoying themselves while sharing stories of their experiences at Arnold’s. One of the many highlights to this space is the collection of art that they have on the inside and outside of the building. From the 1800’s to now you’re sure to discover new things with each and every visit!
Before heading in, take a minute to admire the architecture, stained-glass, and the impressive neon signs that are displayed in the windows! They recently added new ones that were made by, Neonworks of Cincinnati which is located in the fabulous American Sign Museum!
Another cool feature about the outside of the building is that one of the world’s most well-known street artists, Shepard Fairey has a large piece on the wall in the alley to the right! The piece, “Global Warning” is 15 feet tall and was part of his “Supply and Demand” exhibition at the Contemporary Art Center in 2010. Fairy put up several other pieces throughout the city that year but Arnold’s is one of the only places where you can still see his artwork in public in Cincinnati and they take great pride in continuing to preserve his incredible screen-printed wheatpaste mural.
As soon as you step inside you can’t help but to be mesmerized by the ambiance and aesthetic of this place! The bar features historic nostalgia all over the walls that helps your imagination envision what it was like throughout time. Everywhere you turn you will find something interesting and even quirky little details that will make you smile! Behind the bar on the top shelf are five ceramic bottles that you don’t want to pass up taking a look at! These interesting pieces of pottery depict faces of people but it’s a mystery as to who they are. A fun game the bartends like to play with the patrons is guessing who they might be, so next time you’re there make your bets on who you think they are! The artist, Scott Wynn created them, as well as the amazing carved double doors that lead you in and out of the courtyard that the former owner, Jim Tarbell commissioned.
The courtyard itself is a work of art with its unique stage that looks like a front porch and features a variety of vintage signs. On one of the walls you can find a second wheatpaste mural by another popular street artist, JR. This piece is of waitresses that worked at Arnolds in the 1930’s and the original photograph to compare it to is inside the dining room! https://www.jr-art.net
Adjacent to it is another wall piece that was also created by a famous graffiti artist! This piece is of local legend Peanut Jim and was made by Alexandre Manuel Dias Farto, also known as Vhils.
Chris Breeden, the current owner is a huge advocate for art and continues to support creatives from all over by showcasing their work in his business. He has kept the art scene alive through this revitalization of incorporating art into the experience of what Arnold’s has to offer! So keep going back to see what he collaborates on and curates next!