UPDATE April 18, 2011: This restaurant has closed.
Bulldog's Roadhouse on the Levee
1 Levee Way - Plaza Level at Third Street
When I heard a restaurant/sports bar called Bulldogs was opening in the former Jeff Ruby's Tropicana space at Newport on the Levee, the first thing I thought of was the annoying sports radio host on the television sitcom Frasier. An intense womanizer, Bob "Bulldog" Briscoe's coarse humor and unrefined, boorish behavior made him a believable but unlikable character, and I couldn't believe that someone would name a restaurant after the guy.
Well duh. The restaurant is NOT named for a loutish character on a TV show, and while owner Eric "Bulldog" Deters also hosts a radio show, that's where the comparisons between the fictitious sports jock and local attorney Deters end.
As is typical among local sports bars, there isn't a great deal of choice for vegetarians at Bulldogs but they get good marks for the effort. There are a couple of pizza options, a grilled cheese sandwich, and a pretty good veggie burger. Special perks are reserved for bald patrons: all burger toppings are free.
While our initial visit to Bulldogs was a pleasant surprise, our second excursion was at lunch during March Madness and the restaurant was short of servers. At least we think that's the reason we waited for 20 minutes before anyone came over to our table to ask if we had been helped yet. When we said no, the harried server said he'd be right back. After a further 10 minutes of waiting without having even our drink order taken, we walked out and instead gave our patronage to Hofbrauhaus up the street. A third trip found them slightly back on track however, so the jury is still out on this joint.
The restaurant boasts a decent happy hour (M-F 4-7 p.m.), with buckets of domestic beer - 5 bottles for $10, and well drinks are $3 each. There are plenty of half-price appetizers that are veggie-friendly as well, but they are mostly of the fried variety. Happy hour prices don't apply to the giant mugs of Hudy Delight; they are $2.50 all the time.
The large patio, in close proximity to the Purple People Bridge, is a great place to people watch, and there's live music most evenings. The establishment is also smoke-free, which is a big plus in Northern Kentucky.
Bulldogs is open Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-2:30 a.m. and from 10 a.m.-2:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Also on weekends a brunch buffet - including pastries, pancakes, French toast and other breakfast items - is served until 1 p.m.