Lydia’s has been a part of the Clifton community for nine years now. It is Cincinnati’s only green cafe, apothecary and retail store nestled in the heart of the Clifton Gaslight Business District.
Lydia’s is an eco-café, which means the business tries to minimize its carbon footprint. That includes growing and using local produce from the Price Hill eco-community.
The cafe maintains two composts: one in the bar and one in the kitchen. When the composts are full, owner Lydia takes them to her Price Hill home and uses the compost for her garden.
Lydia’s garden consists of tomatoes, basil, various fruits and herbs that the cafe mixes into its drinks and food.
“It’s always important to know exactly where everything you get is coming from,” said Tom Gabbard, manager of Lydia’s “You want to know its backstory; you want to know it was produced ethically, and everyone should be more conscious about how they affect the world around them.”
The café has a full bar and serves specialty cocktails based on old prohibition drinks, as well as an absinthe drink that bartenders set on fire before serving. Often, alcoholic options come garnished with herbs from Lydia’s garden or dried roses.
The café serves prohibition-inspired drinks named after famed writers and artists. It also offers a line of classic cocktails dating back to the 1800s and still prepares them the traditional way.
Lydia’s features a full bar and can prepare just about anything that piques your interest. The café has several of its own drinks as well, including a homemade coffee vodka. It offers a variety of coffee and espresso-based drinks, and even has different nut milks for dairy-free lattes.
It also features a full menu with vegan options and hosts Sunday brunch. From salads to sandwiches and gluten-free desserts, Lydia’s has it all.
But the business is perhaps best known for its apothecary, herbs and spices. Most of them come from Mountain Rose Herbs, an Oregon-based company that specializes in organic herbs, spices, teas and essential oils. While Lydia’s uses these products in its menu items, customers may buy them separately if preferred.
Lydia’s frequently sells alcohol, food and coffee for events in Clifton Plaza. Live music is performed every weekend, Gabbard said. The café also hosts weekly events, including an open mic night for writers, musicians, comics and anyone feeling brave enough to take the stage.
Students and community members alike are welcome to host events, from talks and poetry readings to live shows.
Visit Lydia’s at 329 Ludlow Ave. from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.