A Peek Inside Over-the-Rhine’s Union Hall

From its rooftop deck and underground nightclub to historic spaces repurposed for today’s entrepreneurs, Union Hall has it all.

The Over-the-Rhine entrepreneurial hub we know today as Union Hall is actually three buildings 3CDC connected together during 2015 renovation work: 1311, 1313, and 1315 Vine Street. The middle one famously served as a multi-level attraction for generations of Cincinnatians, from meeting rooms for unions and social organizations upstairs to street-level saloons and retail stores to beer storage cellars deep in the foundation, not to mention a large beer/pool/dance hall in the back.

Estimated to have been built in 1855, the property is the epitome of our pragmatic German ancestors building something to last that would be useful from top to bottom. Let’s take a quick peek inside.

 

Illustration by Pete Gamlen

1. TOPPING IT OFF

The rooftop deck and rear courtyard offer building tenants and guests some fresh air. 3CDC is renovating Imagination Alley on Union Hall’s north side to provide public outdoor seating and activities.

2. MEET ME IN OTR

The building was known as Cosmopolitan Hall, Tivoli, and Central Union Hall over the years but always served as a meeting and organizing place. Records show the Ancient Order of Good Fellows meeting there in 1870, the Amalgamated Council of Building Trades meeting in 1890, and the Horse Shoers Union meeting in 1900, among many others.

3. HALL PASSES

Up a flight of stairs in the rear of Union Hall, the majestic sky-lit “beer hall” was mostly an actual beer hall through the decades, though it also served as a dance hall, a pool room, and even a furniture store.

4. START THEM UP

Union Hall is the headquarters for Cintrifuse, The Brandery, and other supporters of Cincinnati’s startup scene and hosts multiple floors of meeting and coworking space totaling 38,000 square feet.

5. COME TOGETHER

Street-level space has served a variety of purposes through the years, beginning as a coffeehouse and saloon in the 1850s and ’60s and most recently housing Panino restaurant. 3CDC is seeking a restaurant tenant to bring life to the space again.

6. GET DOWN AT GHOST BABY

Ghost Baby nightclub opened in 2020 in the largest beer storage cavern under Union Hall. The entrance is via Republic Street in the rear of the building.

Thanks to Digging Cincinnati History for the historical research.

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