Explore Cincinnati’s Boozy Side: MOTR

Another week, another bar from the Roadtrippers article.

In every city there is at least one bar that serves up good music, good food, and good beer in a slightly beat up but loved atmosphere. Here in Cincy, I am certain it’s MOTR pub.

I’ve been meaning to get to MOTR much sooner. Every time I walk by with Samantha, I give myself a mental note that I really need to stop by here and try the burger & a Hudapohl.

Tall, Cold, Hudy
Tall, Cold, Hudy

Finally, the day we watched Lumenocity seemed like a perfect opportunity to do so, especially because we knew all the restaurants on Vine were going to be swamped.

We bellied up to the bar and I ordered a Hudapohl as the article recommended. I was quickly corrected – A Hudy? – and the bartender poured us two brews. For $2 drafts, this local beer was actually quite tasty. It reminded us both of a Yuengling of sorts – an ‘every day’ beer that has enough taste without being super complex.

Inside MOTR
Inside MOTR

It went perfectly with a MOTR burger, by the way. Since I figured we would end up snacking at the festival, I didn’t want to have too much at dinner. Keith & I decided to split a burger and then see if we were still hungry. It was pretty awesome to have the burger already divided up with our own basket of fries – without even asking. As another bonus, this burger was pretty great. Very juicy and you can never go wrong with a burger topped with an onion ring, ever.

Half Burger
Half Burger

The owners of MOTR bought the Woodward Theater across the street to have a larger venue for shows & I asked how that was coming along and when it might be open. Sadly not until October, and by that time we will be gone. The bartender offered up that if we were ever in the bar when one of the owners were around, he was sure they would let me take a peek inside.

We also found out that they filled growlers which we took advantage of a few days later.

We both loved the bar, enjoyed the Hudy and plan on a trying to take in a show before we leave. So many gems in OTR, so little time!


Once another Lumenocity was announced, I knew I was interested in going. Live music in my favorite park and a light show on my favorite building? Absolutely!

The tickets went on sale quite a few weeks back and in 10 minutes they were sold out. I was one of the lucky ones, snagging two tickets for Saturday night. There was a lot of controversy about that so ultimately the event was streamed live, along with being on tv and shown in other areas in the city like Fountain Park.

Overall, it was a nice event so first I will focus on the positives.

We wandered around the Lumenocity village and I finally got my Cincinnati t-shirt I’ve wanted. We also had a few ‘plastic pints’ of a beer that Moerlein specifically brewed for this event – not surprising called Lumenocity. It was a pale ale and not too bad of a brew.

The music was amazing and there is nothing better than listening to an orchestra live. We previously got to see the CSO play during the May Festival, and they were just as brilliant for this event.

The light show had some neat moments, even though they generally aren’t my favorite thing. I really loved the tribute to Charley Harper, a Cincinnati native and I love his work. In fact, there is a mural here in Cincinnati he did just a few blocks away and it’s one of my favorites. We heard after the show that it’s the first time his art has been animated and needed to go through approval from his son. I guess he loved it, and so did we.

Charley Harper's work animated on the Cincinnati Music Hall
Charley Harper’s work animated on the Cincinnati Music Hall

I loved the idea of the ballet piece – with live performers dancing on the balcony and the same dance as a light show on the building, but unfortunately the timing was off & it was a bit distracting.

Dancers live & animated
Dancers live & animated

I really adored how the show ended – with sections of the building taking a bow. If you are interested in more information about the Cincinnati Music Hall (and Union Terminal), visit Save Our Icons. These are two beautiful buildings in Cincinnati in need of repair and attention, and this group is helping raise awareness.

Cincinnati Music Hall
Cincinnati Music Hall

The biggest negative for me was that people were allowed to set up their chairs hours & hours before the event. We live 3 blocks away so had we had known, we could have done the same. So, the view when we walked through the gates when they ‘officially’ opened was the entire lawn was completely full of chairs already.

Luckily we still were able to find a spot along the edge without blocking the walkway & ended up having a good view, but that came with snotty people sure that everyone around them moved their chairs. (P.S.  no one touched your precious chairs and if it was really important – you should have camped out since you placed your chairs before the gates were supposed to open, alright?) As a current city dweller, there is nothing more annoying that suburbanites cranky about not have an acre of space around them.

Another annoyance (that unfortunately happens at a lot of events, not just this one) is people more interested in shouting to each other about the latest sale at the mall, instead of listening to the music. I feel there is nothing more rude that ignoring or talking over a live performance. There were so many people in the city that wanted to see this event, so it chaps my ass to have people ignore the talent & fail to appreciate the hard work.

Lumenocity overall was a great experience, and I am so excited to been able to attend live. I think they need to reevaluate the ticketing along with really locking down the event. That being said, if we were in Cincy again next summer, we would try to attend again.

Although, I will say one more thing. I’ve gotten used to OTR as my neighborhood and the pluses and negatives that surround it. Having the neighborhood overrun by non-city dwellers was a bit exhausting. The morning after Lumenocity was over, I walked to the dog park with Samantha and saw the usual homeless guys. I always say good morning, they said good morning, shouted hello to Samantha & we both seemed happy the park was again ‘ours’.

Using Mint & Budgeting for Travel

Back in 2011, when this crazy idea of moving around the country in an RV actually became a reality, we knew we needed a way to manage our budget better. We started using Mint, and have continued to use it to monitor what we spend.

The way we started our travels was without employment, and we spent 6 months on the road. I wasn’t used to being without a job, and definitely not without a job for 6 months so this time, while awesome, was also nerve-wracking for me.

We landed in Portland – I already had a job and Keith got one soon after – and we went nuts eating out & visiting breweries. About 6 months in and due to several reasons, we decided we just needed to embrace our nomadism and figure out a way to incorporate travel more.

We saved up again, and this time, while still diligent about keeping track of our spending, I enjoyed the time off much more, knowing that it wasn’t impossible to find employment again.

We’ve entered a new way of traveling now, as I work full time, fully remote. Keith is looking for remote work as well, but in the meantime contracts to still bring in money.

Our chart doesn’t look as dramatic as this anymore, but the visual was still something we wanted to share. It’s possible to live off savings with a budget in place! For those that are curious, our budget when we weren’t working was ~$5,000 a month which gave us plenty of wiggle room for eating out, paying bills, etc. Sometimes we would spend less, sometimes more & we found that really depended on how much we moved. Gas & ground rent easily became our high categories! We’ve met people that survive on much, much less and much, much more. It’s all about making & staying within a budget – and finding a method that helps. Mint really did that for us.

Finances for a year
(Green is income, red is spending.)

What do you use to track your spending habits?

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