Patio weather has finally arrived in Ohio and from now through September, we’ll have days with some of the most glorious weather you can find — not too hot, not too cold ... juuuuuust right.
Over the next few weeks I plan to focus on my favorite patios — in the Oregon District, downtown Dayton, the suburbs and hidden gem patios, as well as one of my favorite outdoor dining spots I fell in love with in Southern Ohio last year. There is such a wealth of locations to enjoy that it’s going to take more than one sitting for me to write and for you, in turn, to digest.
But before we dig into patios, a lot of questions have come up regarding what’s happening in the Oregon District, enough that I felt an explainer might be in order.
Last week was the opening of Out on 5th in the Oregon District. This program, launched by the Oregon District Business Association, opens Fifth Street up for guests to shop, dine and relax in the open air. Every Friday night through Sunday evening, Fifth Street is closed to vehicles between Patterson Boulevard and Wayne Avenue, allowing restaurants and bars room to expand patio seating into the streets, filling Fifth Street with public seating. This allows visitors room to spread out on a pedestrian mall, socially distancing and enjoying outdoor dining and drinking. Hours are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays, and noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
This is not to be confused with DORA or “Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area,” a program that is in effect from noon until midnight 363 days a year. Exceptions are St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) and the last Saturday in October for Hauntfest. DORA allows customers who are 21 and older to purchase alcoholic beverages in a special cup from permitted establishments and to then carry and consume these beverages within the DORA boundaries.
The boundaries basically go from the Convention Center and Crowne Plaza at Main and Fifth streets (the Levitt Pavilion is not part of the DORA boundary) up Fifth Street to Franco’s at Bainbridge Street. From Wayne Avenue it goes just past East Fourth Street up to Wheat Penny at Jones Street.
The rules of DORA are pretty simple:
1) Stay within DORA boundaries.
2) Drink your drink before you go into another DORA restaurant or bar establishment selling DORA drinks.
3) Feel free to take your beverage into any OD business with an official “DORA beverages allowed here” sticker on the door or near the entrance. If a business does not allow a DORA beverage inside, they will display the “No DORA allowed” sticker.
4) One beverage per cup use, please don’t forget to recycle.
5) Drink responsibly.
Here are the businesses where you can purchase your beverage of choice, along with a few suggestions of a drink you might consider ordering.
Belle of Dayton - Van Buren Room
122 Van Buren St., Dayton
www.belleofdayton.com/vanburen or (937) 250-1837
Order up!: The Penicillin ($10) made with blended scotch, maple smoke, ginger syrup, lemon and candied ginger.
430 E. Fifth St., Dayton
blindbobs.com or (937) 938-6405
Order up!: You can order a drink, but if I were going to sip on something, it would be their amazing pickle soup ($4 for a bowl, $2.50 for a cup) that’s a creamy chowder potato soup made with grated dill pickles. It’s not for everyone but I absolutely love it, and if you love pickles you will too.
33 E. Fifth St., Dayton
www.cpdayton.com/dining or (937) 224-0800
Order up!: I would order a drink and stay at the bar or restaurant, View 162 at the top of the Crowne Plaza. It’s one of the best views of the city, especially as the sun sets.
The Dublin Pub
300 Wayne Ave., Dayton
www.dubpub.com or (937) 224-7822
Order up!: A perfect pint of Guinness Dry Irish Stout. Dublin Pub’s draft system uses 75% nitrogen and 25% carbon dioxide in the Guinness pour for which they have received the only “Perfect Pint Award” from Guinness. That’s high praise.
Franco’s Ristorante & La Taverna
824 E. Fifth St., Dayton
www.francos-italiano.com or (937) 222-0204
Order up!: A shot of Sambuca with three coffee beans termed “con la mosca” or with fly in Italian. The three coffee beans symbolize health, happiness and prosperity. They can be chewed to help neutralize the flavor of the Sambuca or left in the glass.
Hole in the Wall
423 E. Fifth St., Dayton
www.facebook.com/holeinthewalldayton or (937) 818-2033
Order up!: You’re not going to want to leave this place with its wall of free video games to play, so order up whatever you like and hang out a sec.
225 E. Sixth St., Dayton
www.jays.com or (937) 222-2892
Order up!: A refreshing classic cocktail like a Gin Rickey made with gin, lime juice, club soda and muddled mint. Perfect for a summer walk about.
329 E. Fifth St., Dayton
www.lilysdayton.com or (937) 723-7637
Order up!: You can’t go wrong with Lily’s cocktails starting with the Mahalo Margarita at the top of the menu made with Mi Campo silver tequila, Wahaka mezcal, Aperol, fresh lime juice and fresh cucumber juice ($9).
Lucky’s Taproom & Eatery
520 E. Fifth St., Dayton
www.luckystaproom.com/index.html or (937) 222-6800
Order up!: One of the local drafts they have on tap.
419 E. Fifth St., Dayton
http://nedpeppers.com or (937) 224-4888
Order up!: Get a Tiki drink at the bar in the back.
130 E. Fifth St., Dayton
www.neonmovies.com or (937) 222-7469
Order up!: If it’s early in the day get yourself a spiked coffee.
418 E. Fifth St., Dayton
www.newcomstavern.com or (937) 223-2470
Order up: An Absolut Moscow Mule made with vodka, ginger beer, simple syrup and lime.
336 E. Fifth St., Dayton
www.new.oregonexpressdayton.com or (937) 223-9205
Order up!: The OE makes the baddest and tastiest Long Island out there, but be warned it will knock you down. When they say drink responsibly, they mean don’t have more than two of these in a sitting.
Roost Modern Italian
524 E. Fifth St., Dayton
www.roostitalian.com or (937) 222-3100
Order up!: Buy yourself a drink and then buy the kitchen one for $9. The Kitchen Cool-Aid option on the menu is some good drinking karma for the day.
Salar Restaurant & Lounge
410 E. Fifth St., Dayton
salarrestaurant.com or (937) 203-3999
Order up: A smoked margarita made with Jalapeño Infused Tequila, Mezcal, fresh lime, basil, cucumber, agave and celery bitters.
11 Brown St., Dayton
www.thai9restaurant.com/dinner.html or (937) 222-3227
Order up!: A seat on their patio and hang out with your drink.
Toxic Brew Company
431 E. Fifth St., Dayton
toxicbrewcompany.com or (937) 985-3618
Order up!: The Practice Yoga IPA. This 5.1% beer is light, tasty and crushable.
216 Wayne Ave., Dayton
www.trollpub.com/dayton or (937) 723-7709
Order up!: A Troll Fashioned ($10) made with Old Forester Signature, a touch of brown sugar syrup and a couple dashes of bitters and garnished with an orange zest.
530 W. Fifth St., Dayton
trolleystopdayton.com or (937) 461-1101
Order up!: A seat on that back patio!
454 E. Fifth St., Dayton
Order up!: An old school beer to go, or take it up to the second-floor balcony and hold court for a while.
Wheat Penny Oven & Bar
515 Wayne Ave., Dayton
www.wheatpennydayton.com or (937) 496-5268
Order up!: A Basil Smash ($10) made with Tito’s Vodka, St. Germain, Lemon, Basil and Grapefruit Cordial.
Wiley’s Comedy Club
101 Pine St., Dayton
www.wileyscomedy.com or (937) 224-5653
Order up!: A cocktail that sounds like a punch line ... sex on the beach maybe?
Yellow Cab Tavern
700 E. Fourth St., Dayton
(937) 424 3870
Order up: A boozy milkshake — choose from a Grasshopper, Bushwacker Screwball Peanut Butter and Chocolate or a Fruit Loop and Rumchata ($10 each).
Visit www.downtowndayton.org/outon5th to see more information on parking and how to plan your visit.