The Best of Hot Springs’ Restaurants | RTX Traveler Magazine

Highlights of eating in Hot Springs

Hot Springs offers some of Arkansas’ finest dining options, from award-winning barbecue and traditional Southern fare to upscale eateries serving adventurous plates.

The smell of ethnic flavors can also be found permeating throughout the town as Vietnamese, Mexican, German and Italian restaurants are deeply rooted in the community.

No matter what your palate desires it can be found in Hot Springs, so pull up a chair at a diner and enjoy the company of locals, eat lunch at one of President Bill Clinton’s favorite spots or enjoy a romantic dinner in a historic establishment as you explore the many options.

87779251wThe Ohio Club

One of Hot Springs’ most historic sites, The Ohio Club has been open since 1905, serving the likes of Al Capone, Babe Ruth and Bill Clinton.

Good food and history collide at this Hot Springs landmark, providing a casual dining experience that is not to be missed.

The Ohio Club may appear like any other bar at first glance, however it is the last remaining saloon open from the illegal gambling days of Hot Springs’ past, and most notably the hideout of choice for notorious gangster Al Capone. While the walls can’t talk the wait staff does a good job of translating the stories of events that have unfolded over the years so grab a chair at the bar, ask questions and relax.

While browsing the extensive craft beer selection a quick glance down to the floor reveals the foundation of a false wall that once stood during prohibition. Knowing the correct password granted patrons access to an upstairs casino and bar. Just beyond the false wall a set of stairs have been covered up with another wall, concealing Capone’s secret escape passage and underground tunnel that leads across the street to the Arlington Hotel. The history lesson continues with a glance up where distinctive bullet holes are still present in the original tin ceiling from a firefight between Capone and local authorities.

Just as impressive as the stories is the massive ornate back bar. Made of rich mahogany, it towers over the room. Two large carvings resembling sea maidens adorn each corner of the centerpiece while two horse heads serving as sentinels occupy the center of the structure.

Believed to have been carved in Cincinnati around 1870, the behemoth of a structure could only be installed by removing the entire front wall of the Ohio Club and is quite an impressive work of art in itself.

Of course the food at the Ohio  Club is as good as the  intriguing history. The menu may at first glance appear like any typical bar menu, but it is the quality of the ingredients that really elevates the dining experience.

Appetizers such as the Jalapeno Corn Nuggets, Breaded Spicy Green Beans and Mini Pork Rolls are a perfect way to start but be sure to leave room for the main course.

Plenty of classic sandwiches are available; however, any selection other than one of the Ohio Club’s famous burgers would almost be criminal. Consistently listed as one of Arkansas’ best, the top secret blend of beef has a distinctively rich flavor that is to die for.

336 Central Avenue
Hot Springs, AR 71901
(501) 627-0702
Mon – Sat, 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Sun, 12 noon – 12 midnight


McClard’s Bar-B-Q

155745731wConsidered to be one of the best barbecue joints in the USA, McClard’s has been serving up a variety of smoked meats to the Hot Springs community since 1928.

It can be said that a trip to Hot Springs is not complete without exploring a few of the town’s famous barbecue joints, and as the original smoke house in Hot Springs McClard’s is at the top of the must-do list.

Widely considered to be one of the best barbecue restaurants in the country, McClard’s has been featured in multiple national publications and has even been highlighted on a variety of television shows. While the accolades and publicity are welcome, McClard’s recipe for success has stayed the same since 1928 and won’t be changing anytime soon.

As the story goes, Alex and Alice McClard ran a tourist court in town that included a gas station, small diner and hotel. When a patron could not pay his $10 bill for a two month stay he offered up what he claimed to be “the world’s best barbecue sauce” as a form of payment. Tomato based with vinegar and peppers, the spicy McClard’s sauce is now sold in stores around the country, confirming the patron’s claim.

Just as good as the sauce is the hickory-smoked beef and pork available, from ribs and brisket to chopped and sliced barbecue. Enjoy your selection of meat on a sandwich or try the house special, tamale spread. McClard’s homemade tamale is served with chopped meat, cheese, beans, chopped onion and Fritos.

No matter what you choose you’re sure to leave McClard’s with a smile and a bottle of sauce.    

505 Albert Pike Rd.
Hot Springs, AR 71913
(501) 627-0702
Tue – Sat, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Good to know: Bring cash, no credit cards are accepted.





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