Going to a game at Great American Ball Park is not complete without visiting The Banks. Especially on Opening Day, Reds fans take over Freedom Way and
fill every bar. While there are multiple establishments on the Banks, none of them are the same. They all have different values and specialties, much like the different players that wear the wishbone C every day. So to properly rate these bars, we will compare them to current Reds players.
Joey Votto – Holy Grail
We start our comparisons with the veteran leader of the team, Joey Votto. He has been in Cincinnati for 13 seasons now, and much like the Holy Grail, people keep coming back for more from him. He’s also the face of the franchise. When you think of the Cincinnati Reds, you think of Joey first. When you think Banks, you think of the Holy Grail first. The two go together, even if Joey hasn’t signed his lineup card at the bar yet.
Nick Senzel – AC Upper Deck
AC Upper Deck is the only rooftop bar at the Banks, and is the brightest prospect on Freedom Way. That sounds very similar to the Reds’ #1 prospect, Nick Senzel. Although he has had a few injuries in the past two years, that’s just like being rained on at the Upper Deck. Sure, they suck for the time being, but you wouldn’t give up on either just because of one drawback. Senzel is the next Reds star, and the Upper Deck is the next big bar.
Yasiel Puig – Galla Park
Galla Park is the hot place to be right now. The same can be said for our close personal friend Yasiel Puig. Puig and Galla are both flashy, fun and are there for a good time. Puig also loves dancing, and Galla is the only place to really dance on the Banks. Hopefully Yasiel Puig can have a breakout year, get signed to an extension by the Reds and party with all of his friends (us) at Galla Park for years to come.
Jose Peraza – Moerlein
Moerlein Lager House isn’t talked about as much as the other Banks bars, but what the Lager House has that others don’t, though, is the riverfront view. You can enjoy an ice cold beer while watching the river. It’s a very under-the-radar place to be. Jose Peraza also isn’t talked about much in terms of the Reds or major league shortstops, but he has shown flashes of greatness and has the right outlook to be an exceptional player for the Reds.
Scooter Gennett – Tin Roof
Tin Roof is a perfect comparison for Scooter Gennett. Tin Roof is great for live music and doesn’t take itself too seriously. There is sometimes a cover charge, but it’s worth it every time. Scooter, who prefers the nickname “Dale”, is also laid back, but knows when he needs to bring his A game. The Reds have had Gennett for the past few years on a team-friendly deal, but they will have to decide this year whether or not they want to pay the cover charge for Scooter’s services long-term.
Jesse Winker – Jefferson Social
Jefferson Social and Jesse Winker are both a little bit different from the rest of the crowd. While Jefferson Social is on the same street as all of the other Banks bars, it has a different vibe inside. It’s not as much of a sports bar as the other places, and clears out the dining room at night to make a dance floor. Jesse Winker is also a little different from his teammates in that he keeps a lower profile. He definitely has a fun side to him as evidenced by some of his celebrations over the past few years, but he likes to keep things close to the vest.
Luis Castillo – The Stretch
How could I not pick a pitcher for a bar called The Stretch? Castillo pitches out of the windup more often than the stretch, but the young arm has been nothing but filthy in the past three years. The Stretch probably has the second best bar location on The Banks, and the bar in between the patio and the inside is a great touch. Castillo and The Stretch have also been in Cincinnati since 2017, and both want to keep adding to their successful starts.
Raisel Iglesias – Yard House
Iglesias and Yard House are both good – if not great – closers. While Iglesias is throwing heat in the ninth inning, Yard House is a great place for drunk food if you’re willing to pay a little extra. Iglesias is also flexible, as he can mix up his fastball with a nasty sinker that tops out around 91 mph. Yard House can be flexible, too, as it has the most beer options on the Banks.
Eugenio Suarez – Blind Pig
Jon Heyman doesn’t think Eugenio Suarez is a top-ten third basemen, and you might not think that The Blind Pig is a top-ten bar near GABP. You have to cross 3rd Street just to get there from the Banks. It has a great name, awesome drink deals and a great view of the skyline from its porch. Suarez also has a great name (aye-who-hay-nee-oh) and had an all-star season last year with even more to come.
Tucker Barnhart – O’Malley’s In The Alley
I asked our guy and number one fan of O’Malley’s, Rob Hole, to pick the player that best matches the comparison for the Irish bar. He chose Tucker Barnhart, and had a simple explanation for it: “Gritty bar, gritty player.” Well said, Rob.
Adam Dunn – Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar And Grill
For our last player-bar comparison, I wanted to go back in time. Dunn was a fan favorite in Cincinnati solely from hitting massive home runs into the Sun Deck in right field. Hell, he’s the only player to ever hit a baseball into the Ohio River, which is a healthy 530+ feet from home plate. Dunn is as country as they come, and he would have loved hanging out at the deceased Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill. I also picked this based on the fact that as both Dunn and Keith have aged, they have started to look like long-lost brothers.
You really can’t go wrong with liking any of the bars at the Banks or any Reds player, but everyone has a preference. The only problem is that we don’t get to enjoy the Opening Day experience for every Reds game. Maybe it would make Opening Day less special, but I’m of the belief that Freedom Way should be closed for fans to walk on before, during and after every Reds game. The Banks has the potential to be that crazy for every home game, especially if the Reds can get back to the postseason.