Pompilios: A hot spot since days of FDR


Ever been in a true Italian restaurant in Philly or the Big Apple?  It’s a special experience, no question.  Just such an experience awaits you at Pompilios, here in Newport, Kentucky (a few minutes from Fountain Square).  There’s a very special bonus, too, besides, because the toothpick scene in the movie Rainman, with Dustin Hoffman, was filmed in the bar at Pompilios.

Pompilios features that bar, Colonel Pomp’s Tavern, at the front, a bocci bar out back (complete with bocci-ball court), and an Italian “red-sauce” restaurant in between.

Let’s go to the tavern first, just for drinks if you want.  It’s a great destination hot spot for satisfying a thirst.  For starters, you will see one of the very best tied-house back bars in the Midwest, built the year FDR entered the Whitehouse—1933, when Pompilios opened for business.  Colonel Pomp’s Tavern features period photos of the 1930s, but the bar area itself is that old, so you’ll step back in time.  Also, the scene from Rainman was filmed in that very place, for an even richer taste of history.  Colonel Pomp’s features a good number of Greater Cincinnati’s very best craft beers on tap, which visitors love to try.

Hit the tavern on a Thursday or Friday in June, and you’ll be treated to live music from an assortment of talents featuring boogie woogie, acoustic Americana rock, jazz, blues and more.

Our suggestion at Key magazine is go there and experience Colonel Pomp’s as a great hot spot, but get yourself a table inside or out at the bocci bar, and have a meal too, lunch or dinner.  We mentioned red sauce because Pompilios features some of the best red-sauce dishes in an area with a lot of very good Italian eateries.  Pompilios has a slew of Taste of Cincinnati winners on their menu, so ask your server about the blue ribbon dishes.  Also, the place has been voted into the Italian Restaurant Hall of Fame.