Following Prohibition, the first liquor license issued in the state of Ohio went to Mount Adams Grill. More than 80 years later, the hilltop institution—now Mt. Adams Bar and Grill—sits beneath a nostalgic patina of heirlooms, signed portraits, and accumulated bric-a-brac.
It’s a flattering atmosphere for every Queen City native, one where you feel at home saddling up to the bar and ordering a Truth—or one of their double margaritas.
The food doesn’t disappoint either. In fact, it’s very good. The burger is scrumptious, the fries are heavenly, and the menu offers myriad healthy options like salads, steamed vegetables, and a veggie sandwich.
A big shoutout to the Southwestern black bean veggie burger, too. The patty is outstanding: black beans, oats, tofu, wheat germ, sesame seeds, and seasoning. It's served on a toasted onion roll with avocado, tomato, pickle, onion, pepper jack cheese, and salsa. Just goes to show how eclectic their menu really is.
But thinking about Mt. Adams Bar and Grill, it's the history to which you invariably return. Because even before it received that first liquor license in 1933, it was one of the most important places in the city. And for that, we have to thank the man himself, Mr. George Remus.
GEORGE FREAKING REMUS
Yes, we’ve written about this bootlegger’s exploits several times before, including his Louisville shenanigans as well as his literary portraiture in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby as the titular character, Jay Gatsby. At this point, Remus is basically a Monty Python cut-out that pops up like the Spanish Inquisition—that is, where we least expect him.
Mt. Adams Grill was one of his Prohibition-era speakeasies. It produced legal bonded whiskey for, ahem, medicinal purposes. As in, you could only get it if you had a prescription, which does seem a tad Orwellian considering people got drunk anyways, but such was life in the 1920s.
Remus reaped $45 million in profits from his operation, which eventually caught the eye of federal agents. Then the stranger-than-fiction weirdness begins: backstabbing, Ophelia complexes, insanity pleas, and one very dead wife.
Not that we’re gonna get into that stuff. For now, just know Mt. Adams Bar and Grill stands as it does today, thanks to this infamous bro from Chicago. And even if we shouldn't thank him for his otherwise sordid legacy, we should at least thank him for that. Because 80 years later, it's still a standout in the Queen City.
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Mt. Adams Bar and Grill is located at 938 Hatch Street, Mt. Adams.