Popular Cincinnati restaurant and bar re-opens after years in limbo

Drew’s on the River Sports Bar and Restaurant in Cincinnati was a favorite watering hole for people around the westside for decades until repeated floods drove former owners out of business, but, after nearly six years, new owners celebrated more than two years of renovation with a grand re-opening April 1.

Many patrons of the new establishment, such as Steve Burton, remember the good old days when people from the region regularly gathered at the bar.

“I’ve been coming here for 30 years,” Burton said. “I’ve been in the neighborhood for 53.”

Burton said losing a community gathering place when Drew’s shuttered was disappointing.

“It was kind of dead around the neighborhood,” he said, “wasn’t much going on, and when we heard and when we heard it was all picking back up we was all happy, you know.”

Rob Schmidt took over the property with the goal of preserving the building’s history despite it falling into deep disrepair.

“It was condemned,” Schmidt said, “and the first letter I got from the city after we purchased it was ‘congratulations on your purchase. You have three weeks to tear it down, or we will tear it down for you.’”

Manager Rebecca Brickweg said the building is now designed to handle floods.

The windows pop off within minutes, everything of value sits on wheels, and the roller doors to the patio can be removed.

Schmidt said, when floods threaten the property, they can deconstruct the outside, roll everything to higher ground, and then roll everything back into place when flood waters recede.

“If there’s such a thing as a masters in flooding, I may have accomplished it,” he said.

Many patron said that, while they’re glad Drew’s has a flood plan in place, they hope no floods threaten the property any time soon.

This article is from WCPO, a content partner of the Journal-News and Cox First Media.


What: Drews on the River Sports Bar and Grill

Where: 4333 River Road, Cincinnati

Hours: 3 p.m.-midnight Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-2:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-midnight Sunday

Online: facebook.com/drewsotr

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