Opening Day for The Holy Grail at The Banks downtown

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email|Facebook

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - It's a project that's taken some 15 years to get off the ground, but the first to open at The Banks downtown is The Holy Grail.

Contractors whipped-it into shape in just 60 days. It was supposed to be ready for the Reds opening day in two weeks, but it opened ahead of schedule, just in-time for St. Patrick's day.

Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory said this is just the beginning of all sorts of great things to come.

"This is the first restaurant that's opening," Mallory said. "There are many more to come, the apartments are being leased, people will start moving-in in April, the energy is here, so I'm real excited about what's happening at The Banks."

Country singer Toby Keith and Cincinnati's own Nick Lachey, are both expected to open restaurants at The Banks as well.

People were lined-up around the block to get into The Holy Grail.

Most folks were donning their best Irish green garb on this Saint Patty's day.

The Holy Grail owners invoked a famous movie, while pouring their very first beer.

"During our first pour, the Indiana Jones Last Crusade, when they're searching for the Holy Grail," said Tom Heitker, who is one of four owners of The Holy Grail. "And they're dodging blades and walking over canyons, and that's what we feel like, it's been a long road here."

Wires are still sticking out where a lighted sign will soon hang. Still, people had no trouble finding their way in.

The garage door walls are open and people were spilling out all sides. And with Reds opening day, just two weeks away.

"We wanted to create an open-air feel, so when people leave the ballpark, or going to the ballpark, they got that feel that they're actually part of the crowd," Heitker said.

And for this crowd, it was all about wearing the green, from the hats on their heads, to their beads around their necks.

"I'll tell ya'," said one man named Daniel, who was celebrating his birthday. "I've been to Ireland and they never celebrate like they do in good old Cincinnati."

And we ran into one man, who hands-down, had the best pants ever. They were a creamy pair of corduroy pants with tiny shamrocks embroidered all over them. Hey, if you gotta wear the green you've got to commit!

"Got my green on, got my bling, bling," said a woman from Monfort Heights.

We ran into a group of fine Irish lassies, who started getting their green beer groove on, at nine Thursday morning. They're loving The Holy Grail.

"We think it's pretty awesome," said her friend.

"I think it's a great place!," said another woman.

"This is a great start," said Mike Peck of St. Bernard.

"I'm actually a bar tender, I'm enjoying watching other people tend to me," one woman laughed.

Heitker said his staff really stepped-up their game for their opening day.

"I'm really proud of the staff we have and the food's coming out and it's good and the beer is cold," he said. "So I think everybody's happy."

"Spring time is gonna be great down here on the banks," said Mayor Mark Mallory, who stopped-in to see what the buzz was about and took time to take pictures with lots of folks.

"So today, are you Mayor Mark O'Mallory?," we asked.

"Well, you know I've always had a little bit of Irish in me, you know, having the name Mallory," he quipped. "I'm sure there some kind of Irish tracer in there somewhere."

There are still patios on the way, plus awnings and signs. The Holy Grail promises to be a great place to hang out, now that the weather's getting warmer. There are more than 30 TV screens surrounding the bar inside, so there's not a bad seat in the house, to catch your game of choice.

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