NorOnTour Hell is Real: The Nordecke Invade Cincinnati

Welcome to the Nordecke Travel Guide for those brave souls journeying south to the Hell is Real Away Match (AKA NorOnTour Committing Cins in Cincinnati). Here we will layout all the things going on and some things you can do while in Cincinnati for the match.

It is important to realize that the following is not a paid endorsement for any product, company, or organization by the fine leadership of the Nordecke or anyone associated with the organization. It is merely a general guide to the activates, transportation, places, and venues that NorOnTour may visit during their trip into enemy territory.

As such our guide and recommendations may not include every subgroup that populates Crew SC fandom. We did our best to ensure it is referential of the requests we have had from those traveling south but can only anticipate so much.

Now that we have dispensed with the formalities, on to the show.


Saturday (8/24) transportation is up to each traveler heading south to organize.

Sunday (8/25) NorOnTour has organized a bus provided by Columbus Coach & Supreme Limousine that will be shuttling Crew supporters around downtown Cincinnati throughout the day between Noon and 3pm, prior to the start of the game (the final stop will be Martino’s).  To board the shuttle all you have to do is be at the pick up spot when the bus is there and be wearing Crew gear.  On Sunday we will tweet and FB out a link which will show the location of the bus so you know where it is in the circuit.

It will be on a 30-40 minute rotating schedule and making regular stops at:

  • Martino’s On Vine by UC
  • The Corner of Vine and W McMicken Ave in OTR
  • The SkyStar Wheel on E Freedom Way
  • There will be a link so people can track the bus


The FC Cincinnati front office assures us that there will be ample parking for the game provided we arrive an hour to an hour and a half before game time. The suggested parking garage for Crew fans is Eden Garage.  After the game, there will be shuttle transports to the garage as it is quite far from the stadium. They have reminded us that this is the second largest University in the state and as such, the three law enforcement agencies tasked with crowd control and parking are very professional and can quickly arrange for everyone to enter and exit the three lots safely. However, we are Crew fans, with the largest university in the state, and as such we don’t believe people when they tell us parking won’t be a problem. Our advice would be to park at one of the lots downtown either take the Nordecke shuttle, take a transit bus up to the stadium (the 17 runs every fifteen minutes from Fountain Square) or, rideshare.  Carpooling from a central location would also be an option but that would mean we like each other enough to sit in a car together. If you do that, be kind and kick in a couple of bucks towards the $15 parking fee.

Food & Drinks:

Breakfast Options:

Breakfast options in Cincinnati have exploded in the last few years with a branches of Columbus staples Hang Over Easy (13 W Charlton) and Taste of Belgium (16 West Freedom Way) having built themselves strong followings. Additionally, BUSKEN BAKERY (8 convenient locations) has donuts and bagels strongly recommended by many Cincinnati natives.


Maplewood Kitchen (525 Race) or Sleepy Bee Cafe (3 locations but my sister likes the one downtown at 8 E 4th St)


Lunch in Cincinnati is a big deal and the Greater Cincinnati Area is proud of the accolades bestowed upon its restaurants.


No trip to the ‘Nati would be complete without a trip to a chili parlor and Cincinnati has a multitude of them. The chains of Skyline and Goldstar will not be on this list of suggestions as you are able to get them in Columbus. Our suggestion is Price Hill Chili (4920 Glenway Ave) which is a bit out of the way for a game at the University, but the food makes up for it. They make their own goetta, a local pork delicacy, and serve tasty gyros since it, like all the original chili parlors, is a Greek restaurant first and foremost.


Zip’s Cafe (1036 Delta Ave) will always have a place in locals’ hearts. They regularly won best burger in Cincinnati and are one of the best restaurants in the area. Their prices are good, with a simple burger costing about 6 dollars, and the fries are best when covered in their famous chili and cheese.

Steak and Salad:

Taft’s Ale House (1429 Race Street) came into the West End of Cincinnati with all the heft and ferocity of its namesake. Housed in a converted church this restaurant and Taproom features large communal tables and large sandwiches. The wait times can often be problematic but I was assured by the staff there that wait times on Sundays are not a problem. Recently, cans of their beers have become more readily available in Columbus stores if you want to taste their offerings ahead of your trip.



Ambar India (350 Ludlow Ave) has the best Indian food in Cincinnati and their portions are incredible. Also, if you happen to have parked your car down one of the side streets off Ludlow prior to the game then you can retrieve it before the local residents have it towed.


Ludlow is also home to Sitwell’s Cafe a veggie-friendly coffee house and café.

Cajun & Po’Boy:

J.Gumbo a gumbo and po’boy spot that is open late is also on Ludlow.


Via Vite offers Italian food and is located in Fountain Square right next to the Westin.


Nada, which is also located in the Arena District, also has a location at 600 Walnut St, right next to the Westin in downtown and Fountain Square.

Restaurant & Grill:

Arnold’s (210 E 8th St) offers typical bar and grill food in a historic space, typically accompanied by live music.

Pubs & Bars:

For those arriving Saturday or those who want to explore the city here are some bars that are located around downtown Cincinnati.

Crew Friendly: Both of these bars will be featuring events on Sunday prior to the match and will be heavily frequented by Nordecke members.

Mikey’s Late-Night Slice OTR, we all love Mikey’s and so does Cincinnati.

Martino’s on Vine (upstairs), there will be FCC supporters downstairs, so make sure to head upstairs.

Ordinary Bars:

Queen City Exchange (32 W Court St) is a large bar with a number of taps available in downtown.

Rhinehaus (119 E Twelfth St), is a well-known local soccer bar featuring any ongoing matches and games.

The Lackman (1237 Vine St) is a popular bar in downtown in the Pendleton area.

Off Fountain Square (near the Westin) there is the Horse & Barrel Bourbon House (625 Walnut St) with Nicholson’s Scottish Tavern & Pub next door. 


Rhinegeist, located in Over the Rhine is one of the best known local breweries. Christian Moerlein Brewing is one of the oldest local breweries in Cincinnati and also in OTR. Taft’s Ale House (1429 Race Street) has already appeared on this list but is also a solid local brewery that recently began distributing beer in Columbus. Urban Artifact is slightly outside downtown but is also a well-known local brewery.


If you like running there is a 5k at the Cincinnati Zoo. We are not joking somehow this game was scheduled on the same day as a charity run at the Zoo. The Cincinnati Zoo (3400 Vine St) itself is a very family-friendly location and while not as nice as Columbus’ own, it does offer the chance to see a lovely urban zoo containing a famous hippo and a multitude of other animals. However, leave the Harambe jokes at the door as they are still sore about that.

Newport Aquarium (1, Levee Way, Newport KY) which is not technically in Cincinnati but as it is directly across the river it somehow feels like it belongs to Cincinnati. The Aquarium is extremely good and another family-friendly locale.

Watch an English Premier League and other MLS matches at Rhinehaus (119 E Twelfth St) where locals congregate for many soccer matches. Man City plays Bournemouth at 9, Wolves play Burnley at 11:30, and Tottenham’s loss to Newcastle begins at 11:30 as well.

Findlay Market (1801 Race St) in Over the Rhine is a historic market located in the heart of the city which sells everything from produce to small goods. There are also a number of bars, cafes, restaurants, and shops in the immediate area around the market and south on Race St. and Vine St. into the Pendleton area.

Cincinnati is home to several local breweries and bars you can try if you are looking for an activity, consult the list above for a general breakdown.

Night Before:

Standing Room Only:

MLS is putting on a Rivalry Week Event called “Standing Room Only” in Cincinnati to highlight the Hell is Real rivalry between the two clubs from 7pm-11pm at the Woodward Theater –1404 Main St – You must have reserved a ticket to get into this event and it is sold out.

Hell Is Almost Real! Cincy Crew Pre-Party:

If you didn’t get into Standing Room Only, Cincy Crew is throwing a night before party at Mikey’s Late Night Slice – 2014 Elm St  – starting at 7pm.  If you’re in town the night before come on down for booze and pizza.  Everyone is invited, no reservation needed.

The Match Itinerary:


Martino’s on Vine will be open to Crew supporters around 11:30am.  You will want to head upstairs as Cincy supporters will be downstairs.  We ask that everyone meet at Martino’s on Vine at around 4pm to prepare to head to the match. This game should be one for the archives which is good because it is our only nationally televised game in the Eastern Time Zone. We should all be on our best behavior and keep the profanity to our standard seven curse words per game.

The Nordecke, Crew, and Cincy Front offices have arranged for us to have our toys and noisemakers normally allowed in Crew Stadium for the most part. We are allowed to bring 1 drum into the stadium.  The Nordecke Drum Corp will not be bringing their drums to the match, so if you are someone that wants to bring 1 drum, let us know on facebook or twitter.  Two sticks and flags are allowed, provided they are 3×5 or smaller. This means that you will have to leave your life-size banners of Josh Williams at home, sorry GCGBAG, but everything else is going to be allowed.  All instruments, flags, and banners must be submitted to stadium security by 3pm.  The drop off point for these will be the Dieterle Vocal Art Center along Varsity Village Dr off Corry Blvd.  No instruments, flags, or banners will be allowed in during entrance.

4:45pm March to the Match:

The Nordecke will be marching through enemy territory to the match. The March will begin at Martino’s on Vine and head to Nippert along Corry Blvd.  We will be entering at Gate 2 off of the Lindner Plaza near the Tennis Courts.  Stadium security will be wanding all patrons entering the stadium.

5:00pm Be in your seats:

FC Cincinnati security has asked that we all enter, through security, and be in our seats by 5pm.  The official away supporter section is 213 to 215.  Seats ARE NOT general admission.  You should go to the seat row and number on your ticket.  If you do choose to ignore this and someone asks you to move from their seat, please be polite and do so.  Everyone in the section will be Crew supporters.  Be nice to other Crew supporters (also be nice to Cincy supporters just not during the game)

Match begins at 6pm


Those taking the NorOnTour bus back to Columbus will be picked up on the corner of Corry Blvd and Jefferson Ave.  For those returning, by car there will be shuttles provided to return you to Eden Garage.