Downtown's Bay Horse Cafe Celebrates the 140th Anniversary of Its Name This Weekend

A bay horse walked into a bar 140 years ago... it's been dubbed the Bay Horse ever since

click to enlarge Bay Horse Cafe - PHOTO: HAILEY BOLLINGER
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Bay Horse Cafe

Downtown's historic Bay Horse Cafe is celebrating the 140th anniversary of its naming with a weekend-long party.

The business dates all the way back to 1817 when it was located along the riverfront on Water Street. 

As the name may have foreshadowed, the bar had to move to Longworth Street due to frequent flooding, eventually claiming a spot on Fifth Street. 

Back then, Fifth Street was a place where horses were sold. One day, 140 years ago, a horse got away and walked into the bar (according to current bar co-owner Fred Berger, he wanted a stiff drink) and the name stuck. Before that, no one remembers the name. In 1962, the Bay Horse moved to its current location on Main Street and then closed in 2004. Berger and his partner Laurie Meeker purchased it and re-opened the Bay Horse in 2017.

The saloon will celebrate its unique namesake with a weekend of fun from Sept. 26-28. 

The weekend kicks off early with a jockey costume contest on Thursday evening.

Friday will feature a prohibition-era celebration to commemorate the 13 years the bar closed due to the prohibition. Flapper costumes are encouraged and the best costumes of the night will win prizes. 

Saturday, the party heads over to Over-the-Rhine mainstay Japp's, which is celebrating their founding year with a Taps to Japps event, featuring a stick horse race and specialty cocktails prepared by bar owner/mixologist Molly Wellman.

Bay Horse Cafe, 625 Main St., Downtown.

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