Review: Bagpipes

Nachos at bagpipe'sI really, really want downtown businesses to be successful, but take note: you have to help me out by allowing me to like you– have good service and good food, please! Bagpipes, whose future is in question due to unpaid rent, occupies the former Sully’s space on 7th street.  The Better Half wanted to try it out, so I acquiesced, on a rainy Friday a couple of weeks ago.

Bagpipes has the vibe of an Irish or Scottish pub– but with a light hand.  They  added some brick and switched up some artwork, but it feels very much like Sully’s interior.  The staff is dressed in pseudo-Irish outfits, and serve a big selection of Irish and craft beers, as well as a Pub-style menu.

We sat down on that rainy Friday with few (if any) people in the bar.  A female bartender approached us to see if we wanted anything, and we needed a minute.  Another bartender approached us a couple of minutes later, but being courteous, we said, “Oh, she’s got us.”

And then we waited. And waited.  For about twenty minutes.  I still don’t know where she went.

The bartender noticed that we still hadn’t gotten a drink, and he very kindly got us our beers and said that they were on him, because of our wait.  He brought us a menu as well, as waiting had made us hungry.

The atmosphere, despite the waiting, is pleasant– not too loud, with mostly Top 40 music playing.  It seemed like many of the customers were there for happy hour, or on their way to the Reds game.  Sort of neighborhood-y, sort of sports-bar.  It was odd to see two guys in chefs’ chalk stripe pants playing Golden Tee in the back (something a  Yelper noticed as well– I hope we were just there on the same night), but I didn’t think much of it until we ordered the food.

We decided to split some nachos– seemed safe, but hearty enough for the two of us to split, and it sounded good on the menu.  Cheese, salsa, “Bagpipe’s Chili”– what’s not to like?  Unfortunatley, everything.  They were severely underwhelming– the chili tasted canned, the cheese was congealed in some parts, unmelted in others– just not that great.  It took a while to get and, considering it didn’t seem like anything was cooked or made fresh, took longer than it should have.  I guess I know what the kitchen staff was doing instead of making great bar food.

The one redeeming factor is their beer selection, which includes a wide variety of craft beers and imports at good prices.  That made me really want to like the place.  We debated if we would go back again before I wrote about Bagpipes, but I don’t think we’ll bother.  Stop in for a beer if you have some time to spare, but eat elsewhere.

BagPipes Irish Pub on Urbanspoon

  • Jeff

    While the food is less-than-desirable as you pointed out, the place can usually accommodate our work group of 12-15 diners and offer something to fill our stomachs. However, we tried to go for lunch earlier this week and the doors were locked at 12:05pm with no sign or any indication of hours changing. I can’t imagine they only stopped lunch service… I’m afraid they may have fallen victim to the “7th & Race Curse”.

  • paul

    Sadly, the food was horrible from day #1. I continued going back – hoping, supporting – but after being served a soggy, bloody mess of a burger-cooked-medium, I had enough. I hardly ever complain to the server but that time I did and I haven’t gone back.

    The beer selection – yeah it’s fine. If you can get one. This may have been the same time as the burger, but I remember waiting ten minutes for a beer to be poured — eying my half-full glass sitting under the tap, waiting for someone — anyone! — to finish the pour.

  • http://www.who2.com Fritz Holznagel

    Hi Julie–

    Fritz H. here — we met at CES last year. Just a note to say that Bagpipes is definitely closed. We live across the street and can see the hasty-looking handwritten CLOSED signs on the doors. The outside furniture has been stacked and locked down. Inside it looks fairly normal, if empty, except all the liquor bottles have naturally disappeared.

    We had a bad feeling about the place as soon as they named it “Bagpipes.” It’s like naming an American food place “Trombone.”

    • Julie

      Walked by today and noticed the same thing, though the flowers were being watered!

  • Brian

    Why bother writing a review about a closed restaurant?

    • Julie

      It hadn’t been confirmed when I posted.

  • Craig Hochscheid

    Anyone have some thoughts as to why the business on 7th has dried up suddenly?

  • Gavin

    The reason Bagpipes closed down had nothing to do with the location of the restaurant and everything to do with terrible management. Its not hard to find a lot of people who are owed a lot of money by Mr. Johnson. As for the back of the house, how many restaurants has their former “executive chef” closed down now? 3? 4? When food comes out of a kitchen as consistently inconsistent as it did there it falls on the chefs. But when your chief pursuits are playing video games, taking smoke breaks, and not cooking can you really be classified as a chef? I really hope something positive happens with that property as downtown is in sore need of places to hang out.

    • http://winemedinemecincinnati.com julie

      I’ve heard tell of staff not being paid pretty much from the beginning.

  • Gavin

    100% true. The numbers never added up. A restaurant that size cannot stay afloat with the covers they started with. Once that first paycheck was delayed several people walked. If you have been in the business for any length of time the writing was on the wall.

  • NONAME

    This restaurant closed due to Greg Johnson. When there is only one paycheck that cleared the bank, and every other check after that the employees have to find a new check smart to cash their checks it severely kills morale. Every employee that was there at the end is owed three weeks pay from Greg Johnson still; some are owed more. It is extremely hard to care about quality service or food when you know that you aren’t going to be payed. Could have been a quality spot downtown if it hadn’t been bled dry by Greg. If you see him, tell him to learn to pay people

  • ed felson

    Please stop all that talk about the 7th and Race curse.  Redfish lasted 9 years and the Blue Wisp Jazz Club (soft opening in January 2012) hopes to be there forever.  Sorry I can’t get the kitchen open until February.  Also sorry the music room won’t be ready until February.  The bar will, however open 1/6/12 and I will have live music 7 nights a week from Friday January 6th.  This is the only way I could think of to keep the musicians working and make some money to finish the kitchen.  I sure hope everyone will come by and have a drink.  We are accepting great recipes for the future menu.  Ed Felson