The B-List

Bellevue, Kentucky

The B-List - Bellevue Cincinnati Dive Bar - Exterior

Field Rating


out of 10

Old floors, orange felt and an ornate chandelier.

The Basics

343 Division St
Bellevue, KY 41073



In Short

Across the Ohio River from Cincinnati sits B-List, the quintessential neighborhood dive bar nestled in the northern Kentucky community of Bellevue. A classic exterior, vintage interior and an array of old school architectural elements (including the bar’s trademark window chandelier) make for about as authentic a neighborhood dive bar experience as can be found in the Cincinnati area.

Field Note

Because Cincinnati’s set of extended suburbs bridge the Ohio River, a dive bar tour of the city can sometimes neglect northing Kentucky’s contributions. Owner Ben Haggerty has called B-List in Bellevue just across the river from Cincinnati proper “the world’s nicest dive bar” and that sentiment has some support in the clean, classic interior crafted on the corner of two residential streets. Set back a couple of blocks from Bellevue’s more heavily trafficked streets, this is a neighborhood corner bar in every sense.

Haggerty purchased the bar in 2004 and inherited a full smoking, northern Kentucky staple typical of the smoker friendly state south of Cincinnati. Hopping over the river meant hopping into what were at that time nonexistent regulations on smoking, making for a very different dive bar experience than a trip through Cincinnati’s northern stretches. After Haggerty converted B-List to allow smoking only after 10 PM, a citywide ban on smoking in Bellevue went into effect in May 2023.

A black & white picture of the bar’s exterior could pass for a pub of any generation.

Many online reviews of the Cincinnati dive bar often cite the presence of smoking late at night, a characteristic that B-List has thankfully shed, allowing a larger population to enjoy what is one of the more classic dive bar interiors in the area. Outside, massive windows frame a double set of doors underneath a simple wooden sign reading “The B-List” anchored to the corner of the building. A black & white picture of the bar’s exterior could pass for a pub of any generation, testament to the timeless design of the building.

The vibe inside matches the classic exterior thanks to ancient wooden floors that add a sense of authenticity to a space that has naturally seen a handful of updates over the years. The signature visual element inside B-List is no doubt the chandelier that hangs in the front window above a small ledge that looks like it might have been used as a stage at one time. The official t-shirts sold by the Cincinnati dive bar make use of this notable fixture, a depiction of the chandelier across the front.

The shotgun-style space is filled by a long bar backed by what looks to be a well-aged fixture behind it featuring inset lights and multiple mirrors that add to the bar’s timeless feel. Immediately apparent is B-List’s extensive bourbon selection, a dive bar requirement in the state of Kentucky, but in contrast to other nearby establishments, these sometimes hard to find varieties are sold at affordable prices. Rare is the dive bar that pairs desirable, often scarce liquor varieties with dive bar-grade pricing, but B-List fits the bill and provides a unique value proposition to Cincinnati-area bourbon drinkers.

Not to be outshone by the bar itself, the freshly refinished tin roof overhead is the perfect pairing to the weathered wood underfoot.

Not to be outshone by the bar itself, the freshly-refinished tin roof overhead is the perfect pairing to the weathered wood underfoot. Molding that runs just under the roof along most of the bar’s walls is also a must-see element, the sum total of B-List’s architectural elements delivering on the exterior’s promise of a classic drinking environment. Steel tip dart boards and a pop-a-shot installation certainly don’t hurt when it comes to creating a communal drinking feel to the B-List space.

Thanks to B-List’s Cincinnati location, operating as a Bengals supporter bar comes with the territory, a trait seen through a number of the decorations throughout the bar that includes a ‘game ball’ from the Bengals themselves. Started as a tradition in 2022, the Bengals send community ‘game balls’ to bars and businesses after each playoff win as a nod to season-long support. The B-List ball can be seen perched above the bar next to a large television and a proudly displayed bottle of Tito’s. In keeping with the Bengals theme, the B-List pool table features rarely seen orange felt.

Owner Haggerty has also referred to B-List as an “old school meeting hall” and it’s easy to see where that sentiment comes from thanks to the residential location and vintage vibe. A handful of tables stretching along the bar’s sidewalk space in the middle of a walkable portion of Bellevue adds to the dive bar’s community credibility, as does B-List’s standing as a dog-friendly business.

Related Reviews

Stanley's Pub

Cincinnati, Ohio
Mario Kart & live music.

Crowley's Irish Pub

Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincy’s oldest Irish pub.

City View Tavern

Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincy’s unmissable view.