Hollywood Bar The 513 Returns Home to Hamilton

The bar originally stood as an ode to the Queen City in Los Angeles.

Jul 10, 2024 at 5:05 am
The 513, 244 Main St., Hamilton.
The 513, 244 Main St., Hamilton. Photo: Logan Turner

The city of Cincinnati has seen its fair share of highs over the past couple of years. A high that will forever be ingrained in the minds of its citizens is when the Cincinnati Bengals made it to the Super Bowl in 2022. 

The Bengals going to the Super Bowl was memorable because the adventure became so much more than just a football team heading to the big game. Many stories of community and camaraderie emerged as fans across the city came together to show their support for the team. However, one of these tales of community and camaraderie interestingly enough comes from the Super Bowl’s host city of Los Angeles. 

Amongst the madness of the NFL’s marquee event and the backdrop of Hollywood arose a place where Cincinnati’s faithful could congregate. Hamilton native Jay Davis, while living in Los Angeles at the time, decided to open up The 513. The 513 was a bar located in northern Hollywood that paid tribute to the Queen City with its name, decor and menu items. It opened amid the jungle fever that took over the City of Angels in 2022 and ultimately propelled the bar to great success.

Despite this, Davis realized that something was missing. That something couldn’t be found on Hollywood Boulevard. It was then that Davis and his family decided to come back home. Now, the city of Hamilton showcases the new and improved The 513 bar on the corner of Main and N. D streets. 

With such an interesting start, how did Davis and his business wind up back in Hamilton? It was no easy feat, according to the man himself. Davis spoke with CityBeat about some of the challenges he faced while trying to coordinate a bar opening from across the country. 

“I had to go back and forth,” Davis said. “I was still running the bar out there [Los Angeles], but I was looking for properties here [Cincinnati] and buying the properties here. Even after we bought it, I was going through the design process while going back to L.A. for the weekends while we were busy out there with the bar. It was tough. It wasn’t the easiest thing in the world, but it certainly was worth it.”

Davis also spoke about how now that the operations have fully been moved to Hamilton he can now fully focus his efforts on the new bar.

“Now I’m able to focus all of my time on this bar, which it needs. It’s a big, big operation here: three patios, two bars and six different drinking and eating areas. It needs a lot of staff and a lot of supervision. That’s what I’m focusing on now.”

Although the journey may have been chaotic, it’s also come with success. Ever since The 513 opened its doors on May 20, the reception from the community has been overwhelming. With so much hype surrounding the bar’s opening, the community waited in anticipation for months. 

“This is our sixth week and things are going well,” Davis said. “It started off with a bang the first few weeks, and we haven’t let off the gas pedal much. The feedback we’re getting is fantastic. The staff is coming into its own. They’re getting better every day. The food is improving every day. Halfway through our second month, we’re happy with how it’s going.”

The 513 has its lore to thank for a good amount of its current success. However, the bar at 244 Main St. also brings plenty of unique character to Hamilton’s growing downtown area. 

The 513 currently operates out of two different buildings. The buildings are back-to-back from one another with a patio space that adjoins them. The building facing Main Street offers a more quaint and homey feeling. Davis had the idea of preserving the original brick and wood floors, creating a rustic yet cozy aesthetic. 

The patio area is one of the better outdoor dining and drinking options in Hamilton. The space features ample room between a traditional patio area that bridges together the two buildings. It also features a side picnic area that sits just next to the sidewalk along Main Street. If that wasn’t enough, they also have a rooftop dining area that overlooks the main patio between the buildings. 

The second building that runs along N. D Street is much larger in size and scale. The open-area concept feels more like the bar Davis and his family originally opened in Los Angeles. The grand ceilings, upstairs loft area and sizable indoor stage are nothing like anything else in Hamilton. It feels trendy in a way that still feels in touch with history.

The property itself truly is one of a kind. Davis spoke with CityBeat about what he thought of the property and what it meant for The 513 to lay its roots there.   

“You can’t get a better location than this. These buildings are so cool,” Davis said. “It’s 190 years old. When we came in, I looked in these buildings and they were in rough shape. They had been vacant for 12 or 13 years and they needed a lot of work. What we did was just strip them down to the brick and the wood.”

Davis added that they even used some of the original wood to create things like the bartops and liquor shelves. 

The 513 has also partnered with another Cincinnati company favorite to bring good eats to the people of Hamilton. Currently, the bar offers Montogomery Inn food items like pulled pork and chicken, along with a larger-than-average beer selection. 

The 513, 244 Main St., Hamilton. More info: the513bars.com.

This story is featured in CityBeat's July 10 print edition.

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