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Pirate’s Cove Review

September 15, 2013

Some restaurants are simply more than the sum of its parts.  Pirates Cove ( is one of those.  Most every “part” of Pirates Cove is either average or below average.  Maybe even bad.  But somehow, I always enjoy this place.

First, the good.  Located at the Four Seasons Marina on the East Side of Cincinnati (not far from Riverbend), if you were dropped off blind-folded, you may think you were transported to Florida.  The restaurant/bar is literally located on the marina, between a ton of mostly large and expensive boats.  There’s a bar along with a stage for live music (which is almost always taking place).   All around the two main attractions, tons of seats and tables allow you to both watch the music and take in a view of the inlet from the Ohio River and watch the boats come in and out.  There’s even a sandy area in between the stage and the bar, helping it even more to have a very laid back feel.  As a matter of fact, it’s just down the ramp from the Sandbar and 7 sand volleyball courts (which, by the way, is where I met my wife).  There’s always a good mix of the boat owners and after-work “athletes” drinking, eating, and having a good time.

Now, the bad.  The food is just not great.  Mostly bar food like shrimp, burgers, and wraps, the selections are fairly normal.  They’ve even recently added flatbreads.  However, none of it is as good as you can get at other bars.  Although we’ve eaten a few different entrées, on this visit my wife had the Sautéed Grouper Tacos (soft tacos with seasoned grouper, fresh avocados, lettuce, tomato, cheddar jack cheese, and Island Mango sauce) and I ordered the Cove Big Dog (quarter pound grilled Nathan’s all beef hot dog on a pretzel bun with onion, tomatoes, and banana peppers).  The tacos were decent…a little too fishy and more cheese than anything else.  For $13.50, you are MUCH better off eating the tacos at Nada or Bakersfield, which are both 100 times better.  My hot dog was actually pretty good.  The pretzel bun was nice, and the hot dog itself was quality for a hot dog.  No, it wasn’t Senate, but it was good.  My side of black beans and rice that came with the hot dog was decent as well.  There are a few beers on draft, but nothing crazy.  Sam Adams and the generic domestics made up most of the selections.

Cincinnati-20130820-00461      Cincinnati-20130820-00460

Obviously, whatever, you order here will take you far away from a healthy diet.  But hey, it literally feels like you are miles away from real life and work at this place so why not eat like you’re on vacation?  And really, that’s why I said it was greater than the sum of its.  Like I said, the food is overpriced and not great and the beer selection is limited, but it’s just…fun.  Live music, great atmosphere, and fantastic memories of playing volleyball followed by walking down the ramp to Pirates Cove for beers make it worth hitting up when you want to get away for a couple of hours.  Plus, it’s a great place to have a pre-concert drink before heading to Riverbend.

Pirate's Cove Tropical Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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