Restaurant Review of Washington Platform Saloon and Restaurant in Cincinnati - Cincinnati Articles
Experience Cincinnati's Best Live Jazz at Washington Platform Follow @nyccitiview
By: Kirsten E. Silven
Since its 2012 inception, the Jazz Night Series at Washington Platform Saloon & Restaurant in downtown Cincinnati has been a must-do for music lovers of all ages, offering a unique live experience unlike any other in the Queen City. I recently attended the Friday night show with my husband, enjoying a delicious Valentine's Day dinner package and romantic date night against a colorful backdrop of authentic live jazz, performed by guitarist Greg Shako and flutist Sandy Suskind.
With performances on Friday and Saturday nights from 9 p.m. to midnight, the weekly lineup spans a wide variety of different jazz styles. Expect to hear everything from Latin to vocal performances, from groove to straight-ahead jazz, all of which is all sure to please even the most discerning ear.
Held in the Historic Canal Room, which lies in the 1860's-era Washington Platform Saloon & Restaurant located at the corner of Elm and Court Streets downtown, the no cover music series has featured a wide variety of the area's top performers. It builds upon the Queen City's close historic relationship with the larger jazz community. Since the 1920's, jazz music has played an important role in the fabric of Cincinnati's nightlife scene, attracting big name musicians like Louis Armstrong to record at Gennet Studios, and serving as the birthplace of popular acts like Zack Whyte's Chocolate Beau Brummels.
The restaurant's prime location just south of Central Parkway between Over-the-Rhine and downtown makes it the perfect place to stop in for a delicious dinner before (and after) local arts and entertainment events. Music Hall, Memorial Hall and Taft Theatre are just a few of the nearby attractions, and patrons also have access to plenty of parking.
Featuring an impressive variety of innovative homemade soups, salads, sandwiches, pastas and entrees, the menu has a distinct Creole influence. It also reflects current owner and Head Chef Jon Diebold's talent for serving up delicious American comfort foods with a Southern flair and emphasis on seafood.
Dale and I really enjoyed the dozen fresh shucked oysters, potato leek soup and fresh salads, while the savory salmon picada over wild rice and quinoa, as well as the Cajun grilled snapper with cheese grits, were both out of this world. We were also blown away by the dirty martinis, which we both agreed were the best we could recall.
Washington Platform is also home to the Annual Oyster Festival in April, Lobstapalooza in June, Wingfling in August and the Annual Crab Carnival every October. The Traditional New Orleans Jazz Brunch, held the first and third Sunday of every month, is another popular ongoing event, while the full bar is always ready to serve up a wide variety of cocktails, fine wine, craft and local beers.
Housed in a three-story building that first served as the Johan Armleder Wine & Lager Beer Saloon, the location has long been a lively gathering place in downtown Cincinnati. Johan Armleder owned and operated the saloon until his death in 1872, when Fiedel Bader took over. He changed the name to Washington Platform in 1875, inspired by the newly designated Washington Park just a few blocks away.
A series of other owners followed, until Prohibition closed the saloon's doors in 1919 and the building was reimagined as a grocery store and hand laundry, to name just a few of the businesses that operated in this location until 1986 when Diebold came into the picture and rechristened it as Washington Platform Saloon and Restaurant.
Since then, the establishment has served as a popular dining destination for locals and visitors alike to gather and enjoy great fantastic food, drinks and live jazz. Whether you're just in town for a few days or live in the Tri-State area, make sure Washington Platform is high on your list of the best things to do in Cincinnati!