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Whispers From Columbus’s Storied Past: A Journey Through Its Historic Bars and Saloons

In the heart of Columbus lie tales soaked in beer, whiskey, and the rich tapestry of local history. Through a collection of captivating old photographs, we’re taken on a nostalgic journey back to the days when bars and saloons weren’t just places to drink but were pivotal to the community’s social fabric.

Each photograph, a black and white testament to the past or a burst of color capturing a moment in time, offers a glimpse into the soul of Columbus through its historic watering holes.

Charles H. Hayes Saloon

charles h hayes saloon
The polished wood of the Charles H. Hayes Saloon bar gleams under the watchful gaze of four men, posing as if aware of their moment in history. Behind them, signs promise Hoster’s beer, a local brew that epitomized Columbus’s taste. This interior snapshot, taken around 1910 at 1405 Livingston Avenue, serves as a bridge to the early 20th century, when community life often revolved around such establishments.

Der Munich

der munich, old german rathskeller
Der Munich’s meticulous arrangement of round tables, surrounded by four chairs and walls adorned with vases suggests an anticipation of lively evenings. Known as an Old German Rathskeller, this basement beer hall featured stone walls, embellished with decor, whisper tales of gatherings and camaraderie, encapsulating the spirit of 26 W Gay Street in a single frame.

Stadt Lindenau

stadt lindenau bar german village
In the bustling corner of Thurman Avenue and South 4th Street, the Stadt Lindenau stands as a testament to the evolution of local businesses. Initially a saloon owned by Ernst Seufer of Hoster Brewing, it later transformed into Barrick’s Pharmacy and then a confectionary. The photograph, capturing two young men by a street light, seems to freeze time around 1905-06, offering a window to the past.

Boyd’s Cafe

boyds cafe
The elegance of Boyd’s Cafe is undeniable. Intricately carved wood saloon doors and stained glass hint at a bygone era of opulence. The massive bar, stretching the length of the room, speaks of stories shared and friendships forged within the walls of 692 N. High Street in Italian Village.

M. Trope Saloon

m. trope saloon downtown columbus
An exterior view of Mendel Trope’s grocery store and the adjacent saloon, owned by John Baltz and Charles Amend, captures a slice of life at 344 East Mound Street. The juxtaposition of daily necessities and leisure, encapsulated in black and white, reflects the multifaceted nature of community hubs in 1909.

First and Last Chance Saloon

first and last chance saloon columbus ohio
Posing in front of the First and Last Chance Saloon are two men and a woman, embodying the essence of an era. There’s something about this photo that feels modern, as if you could see it in an article profiling a new restaurant today! Owned by Salvatore Presutti, this establishment represents the beginnings of a legacy that would later include TAT Restaurant and Presutti’s Villa, marking its place in Columbus’s history.

Kings Rose Garden Restaurant

kings rose garden restaurant
The simplicity of the Kings Rose Garden, with its vintage 7Up signs and shuffleboard table, belies the rich history of the corner of East Beck and Mohawk Streets. This photograph, capturing the essence of communal joy and leisure, represents a lineage of establishments that shaped the local culture. Since the establishment served as Kings Rose Garden, it’s also been home to some of the area’s most iconic spots, including Lindey’s.

Jai Lai

jai lai interior
The opulent Jai Lai, with its colorful interior, stuffed animals adorning the walls, plush seating, and an array of cigars and liquor, showcases a different facet of Columbus’s nightlife. Founded by Jasper E. Wottring in 1933, its story of grand openings, ownership changes, and eventual closure mirrors the dynamic nature of the city’s social establishments.

Each photograph, with its unique story and ambiance, serves as a portal to a bygone era.

They remind us of the importance of bars and saloons in the tapestry of Columbus’s history—not merely as places of leisure but as crucibles of community, culture, and memory. Through these windows into the past, we’re invited to appreciate the rich heritage that has shaped the city’s character, one drink at a time.