The History of 629 York Street

We get a lot of questions from our customers about our beer, our brewing equipment, our history and, most frequently, our building. The building that houses our taproom has a lengthy history that started in 1887.

Bowling Alley (Years Unknown)

When you walk into our taproom you might notice something interesting about our tables and bartop. Your intuitions are right. They are made from the 26 bowling lanes that came from our second floor.

You can go upstairs and still see a couple of lanes that have not been carpeted over yet.

Flamingo Club (1930s – 1961)

Did you know that when you visit our taproom you are in a place that Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe once stood.? Okay, we don’t know that for sure, but we like to think it happened.

In the 1930s, a gambler named Arthur Denner forced the bowling alley out opened the Flamingo Club, one of Newport’s most popular casinos.

The Levinson brothers, Ed, “Sleepout” Louis and Mike forced Denner out and took over the Flamingo Club.

According to Wicked Newport: Kentucky’s Sin City:

“The Levinsons grew up in Chicago, but they made their mark in organized crime in Detroit where they ran a couple of casinos and played an active role in the newspaper circulation wars of the 1920s.”

The Flamingo was in downtown Newport, but unlike the other downtown clubs it was upscale and was about to go further upscale. The Flamingo was a very large club with a bar and cafeteria in the front and the casino in back. The Levinson’s also operated a major bookmaking parlor at the back of the casino. With a huge neon sign in front the Flamingo was hard to miss.”

Credit: Unknown

Jockey Club (1982 – 1988)

When gambling and corruption came to end around the end of the 1960s it was time for a new era for 629 York Street. That new era was punk rock.

The Jockey Club The club was owned by Hallman “Shorty” Mincey and his brother, Haynes “Tiny” Mincey.

It became one of the most famous punk rock clubs in the midwest, bringing famous bands like The Ramones, Black Flag and Dead Kennedys to Newport.

       

The University of Cincinnati, The News Record

This place has always been a center of controversy. There were black groups playing here in the ‘50s when this was called The Flamingo,” Jockey Club manager and booking agent Bill Leis told UC’s The News Record in May 1985. “We will never sell out by booking a band like Ratt or Foreigner. We want to give people what they can’t hear on the top 40.”

I think of the Jockey Club as a people’s club. We accept any dress, any style. We don’t have any football players running around making sure everybody stays in line.

The black and white tile floor is the same floor in our brewery today. Credit: WittsWorld

Yellow Cab Company (Unknown – 2014)

And now the history of our building gets a little less exciting.

The Yellow Cab Company bought the building and demolished part of the Jockey Club. The section that was torn down was turned into a parking lot and the back half of the club was turned into a garage.

Yellow Cabs used the building until 2014.

Demolition of The Jockey Club / Credit: Alan Michael Schmitz Facebook post

Wooden Cask Company (2015 – PRESENT)

You know this story.

If you don’t, you know what to do (come in have a beer).

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