‘Ghosts make their presence felt and heard’ at downtown restaurant

A Dayton-based craft beer festival returned on Saturday, June 23 after a five-year hiatus to spotlight 17 specialty beers provided by more than a dozen local and regional craft breweries. The Cask AleFest took place along East Second Street between Jefferson and St. Clair Streets in front of Mudlick Tap House in downtown Dayton. MARK FISHER/STAFF
A Dayton-based craft beer festival returned on Saturday, June 23 after a five-year hiatus to spotlight 17 specialty beers provided by more than a dozen local and regional craft breweries. The Cask AleFest took place along East Second Street between Jefferson and St. Clair Streets in front of Mudlick Tap House in downtown Dayton. MARK FISHER/STAFF

Credit: Mark Fisher

Credit: Mark Fisher

Jennifer Dean, the co-owner of the tap house at 135 E. Second St. in downtown Dayton, says it is clear to her that not every one of Mudlick’s spirits come from bottles behind the bar.

Ghosts make their presence felt and heard, she said.

“All the employees have said ‘I could have sworn someone walked by me’ and there not being anyone there,” she said.

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Before becoming Mudlick, the space housed Club Aquarius, a gay bar famous for its drag shows.

She counts that bar’s former workers among her customers and friends.

“People who worked at Aquarius who were there at 2 or 3 in the morning say they could hear a chair moving on the third floor,” Dean said.

Mudlick Tap House announced it will open a second location in the former Aquarius Night Club at 135 E. Third St. LISA POWELL / STAFF
Mudlick Tap House announced it will open a second location in the former Aquarius Night Club at 135 E. Third St. LISA POWELL / STAFF

The basement site of the bar’s former Green room (a dressing room) that is now used for dry-goods storage has particular energy.

Dean said she has not been able to find many history accounts of the building originally used as a Ford Model T dealership.

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It was constructed in 1910 or 1911.

Dean suspects it played a role in the Great Flood of 1913.

“I don’t think it’s an eerie feeling. I just think there is a presence,” she said of the restaurant. "I think people tried to find safety there during the flood.

Floods were documented in Dayton in 1814, 1828, 1832, 1847, 1866, 1883, 1897 and 1898.

Jennifer Dean and Forrest Williams are opening Mudlick Tap House in downtown Dayton.
Jennifer Dean and Forrest Williams are opening Mudlick Tap House in downtown Dayton.

Credit: Photo: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Photo: Amelia Robinson

None of those even rivaled the flood of 1913.

Heavy rains and warm temperatures followed by cold left the ground saturated March 25, 1913, from rain and melted ice and snow, Simpson said.

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An estimated eight to 11 inches of rain fell in three days throughout the Great Miami River watershed.

The water reached 20 feet in some parts of downtown

Three hundred sixty-one lives were claimed.

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