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Old Filling Station Transformed Into Hip New Urban Bar

An old filling station in downtown Cincinnati will soon be humming again - when Queen City Radio, an expansive, 7,665 sq. ft. bar and beer garden opens in a couple weeks.

The new business announced on Wednesday that it would open on Friday, September 16. 

Queen City Radio's name derives from the building's former tenant - a service and radio installation company. The bar is located at 222 West 12th Street in Over-the-Rhine, near Washington Park and the Cincinnati Streetcar route. 

Owners Louisa and Chris Reckman, and Gabriel Deutsch are opening the new establishment.

“My husband Chris and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to take ownership of this space and turn it into the new neighborhood hot spot," said Louisa Reckman. "Queen City Radio will be perfect for any number of OTR activities. Whether you are headed to a performance at Music or Memorial Hall, the Shakespeare Theatre, on your way to a Bengals or Reds game, attending an event at Washington Park or simply wandering around OTR, QCR will be a perfect place to meet, grab a drink and enjoy the sunset.”

While the interior of the historic station has been fully gutted and renovated, elements of its industrial past remain. General contractor and property owner Chris Reckman and his company Urban Expansion began demolition and restoration in early 2016. While the fireproof steel and concrete of the original construction remains throughout, Reckman and his team have transformed the space with polished concrete floors, upcycled interior finishing, and custom-made tables and benches in the beer garden. The original mezzanine has been repurposed with additional seating and restrooms, providing a prime vantage point for viewing the beer garden and areas below. Custom-fabricated steel panels and a new staircase complete the mezzanine level.

“The project was challenging and a lot of fun,” Chris Reckman said. “The shelving and interior tables are upcycled salvaged joists from Lafayette Hall on Race Street, and we made the exterior tables out of locally harvested ash trees. I had the pleasure of collaborating with many talented craftsmen and designers. Local design and fabrication team Such+Such conceptualized and constructed the thirty-foot-long bar. They were able to incorporate the structural themes of steel and concrete while softening them with beautiful accents of wood and color.”

The bar will feature fourteen rotating taps of local, regional, and national beer. Other offerings include a wine draft system, canned and bottled beer, cocktails, “boozie slushies,” and a broad selection of liquor. The bar will also offer beer and wine bike delivery service in partnership with local 53T Courier.

“When we open, the bar will feature eleven tap handles devoted exclusively to Cincinnati breweries as well as three nationally recognized brands,” said owner and operator Gabriel Deutsch. “Louisa and I have assembled an amazing staff of dedicated local industry professionals who are excited to provide top notch service and creative offerings. During busy times, our staff will utilize handheld point-of-sale devices to provide an enhanced and seamless guest experience. Guests will now have the ability to start a tab, add a new order, or cash out with ease.”

Elias Liesring of Eli’s BBQ, in collaboration with Chef Ian Sobek and Chef Dana Adkins, has whipped up a new food tuck concept the “Queen City Whip”. “In keeping with the nostalgic atmosphere of Queen City Radio, the concept features classic comfort food inspired by your favorite summer memories.” says Liesring. “The Whip will serve ballpark style food with a southern twist. Our burgers are made using a custom ground chuck-brisket blend from Mackie Meats at Findlay Market. We’ll also have chili dogs, milkshakes, French fries, fresh made pork rinds, hush puppies, as well as a few specials.”

-Staff report

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