Dayton’s nationally acclaimed Century Bar to reopen

Downtown bourbon destination will operate with reservations only, time limits for now

Downtown Dayton's nationally acclaimed bourbon destination, The Century Bar, will reopen Friday June 12, although with restrictions, a limited menu and time limits, its owners announced on The Century's Facebook page.

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Century Bar had just moved next door into a heavily renovated location at 18 S. Jefferson St. six weeks prior to being forced to shut down March 15, when all bars throughout Ohio were ordered to close due to the coronavirus pandemic. It has remained shut down since then.


When it reopens, The Century Bar will require reservations, and it will switch to table service to minimize people moving within the bar, owners Diane Spitzig and Joseph Head wrote on Facebook.

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“A few things to clarify before (making) your reservation, as we are working under very different circumstances as we follow Ohio’s guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19,” the owners said.

The bar has put a limit on reservation times based on party size. Smaller parties of two or three people will be allotted 90 minutes for their visit, while larger parties of eight to 10 will be given three hours.

“This time limit is in place to allow for more people to visit the bar, while also giving us time to sanitize between reservations. If you think that you would you would like more time, please make a note in your reservation and we will try an accommodate your request,” The Century’s owners said.

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“We know that in order to open while following these regulations, it will be a very different experience than you are used to,” the owners said. “Please be patient with us while we find our footing in this new ‘normal.’ We promise to work towards getting more tables, menu items, and longer hours.”

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Last year, The Century Bar scored a national shout-out from The Bourbon Review as one of America's Best Bourbon Bars 2019. It was the seventh consecutive year that The Century Bar had scored a shout-out from this industry publication, which decided in 2019 to expand the pool of recipients a bit from hte previous year's America's 100 Best Bourbon Bars.

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The continuing recognition from Bourbon Review is not the only national acclaim that has been heaped upon The Century. In February 2015, Men's Journal magazine's website declared The Century one of the "10 Best Bourbon Bars in America," describing it as "a small bar with a huge bourbon list, The Century is as devoted to the whiskey as any other place in America."

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And in October 2014, The Century made a list of the 15 best bourbon bars in America assembled by

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The Century Bar dates back to 1942 under that name and that location. The location’s history as a bar dates back even before then. Steffen’s, a male-only “coffee shop,” opened three years after the Great Dayton Flood of 1913.

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