The HOTZ CAFE, founded in 1919, is Cleveland's oldest bar. Located on the corner of Starkweather Avenue and West 10th Street in the TREMONT neighborhood, the bar was founded by John Hotz Sr. a RUSYN immigrant who arrived in the United States in 1905 and settled in Tremont because of its large Rusyn population.

The bar was opened to serve the many blue-collar workers who lived in the surrounding area. It offered many amenities to its patrons who might come for lunch or an after-work drink, including shoe shining, food, and fine cigars. 

After Prohibition began, the Hotz continued to operate as a speakeasy. It is reported that the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt all made visits during this time, and the bar started gaining a reputation as a place where white-collar workers could socialize as well. The image of the Hotz Cafe as a place for higher-class clientele only increased as Tremont began gentrifying during the 1980s.

The Hotz Cafe continues to operate into the present (2023) and is still owned by the Hotz family.  The current owner, John Hotz, is John Hotz Sr’s great-grandson. The bar has kept its vintage decor and style and has earned a reputation for being a place that brings its customers back to an era that has almost been lost in areas such as Tremont.

Samuel Trunley

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