OTR’s Northern Row Brewery & Distillery is Full of Hidden History


Northern Row Brewery & Distillery, is located on West McMicken Avenue in a building that was originally constructed in 1895 as Christian Moerlein’s icehouse and storage space. The original slide used to drop ice into the basement is still there and can be seen on the Queen City Underground tour offered by American Legacy Tours.

Northern Row is paying homage to its historic roots by preserving as much of the original building as possible and housing other repurposed Cincinnati pieces that may have otherwise been forgotten or lost to time.

The grandiose Carnegie Steel support beams are decorative elements in and of themselves — look closely enough and you can find the original stamps dating back to the 1800s. The steel matches the drinking table legs taken from the light-gauge rail system that ran from downtown to Westwood. Above the tables is a 61-foot suspended row boat. The boat is the sister and backup to the exact one that won the American gold medal for rowing in the 1936 Olympics held in Berlin.

Perhaps the most prominent taproom feature is the massive Brunswick back bar built in 1809.

The owners of Northern Row drenched the bar in as many antique pieces gathered from throughout the city as possible, including lights above the bar that harken back to the original Cincinnati Gardens; small tables from White Oak’s Riester’s Tavern, which was built in 1856; and bathroom doors that were repurposed from the Sandusky Courthouse.

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