Jack Potts betting new casino will pay off big for Main Street

When Jack Potts Tavern opens on April 2nd in the former Jefferson Hall location on Main Street, it will not just be the reopening of a Main Street bar from the past, but rather another sign of a rebirth along this historic business district in Over-the-Rhine.

"Over-the-Rhine is one of the only places left in the downtown area where people can come and invest in residential or business properties," said Jack Potts Tavern co-owner Paul Fries, who works as a firefighter in Over-the-Rhine.  "All of the new residents, visitors, and soon-to-be casino workers are going to need places to eat and drink, and we're hoping to take advantage of that."

Fries said Jack Potts will be open Wednesday through Saturday from 2pm to 2am and offer live music every night.  The tavern will also feature a happy hour special that he hopes will draw Hamilton County administration and courthouse workers only a few blocks away to take advantage of $2 longnecks and well drinks.

The 3,000 square-foot space at E. 13th & Main streets (map) features an outdoor patio, a stage with built-in house sound and lighting system that will be operated by a full-time sound technician for the best cover bands and acoustic acts around town according to Fries.

"I play in a band called The Polecats and we regularly play at Jefferson Hall in Newport, but I remember playing at the Over-the-Rhine location back when Main Street was in its prime and it was the spot to be," exclaimed Fries.  "I always loved the bar and the historic building."

Beyond the attractions inside the walls of Jack Potts, Fries said that he has been impressed with the work of the Cincinnati Police Department at drastically reducing crime in the neighborhood over the past five years - something Fries has seen first-hand in reduced runs out of his fire house.

The firefighter connections have also proved beneficial and inspirational to Fries as he works on Jack Potts with many firefighters offering their help to clean up the place.  Fries also hopes that the tavern becomes a neighborhood hangout for police officers and firefighters.

"We're really looking forward to opening with Neon's and creating two comfortable live music venues for the neighborhood right next door to one another," said Fries.  "Once the casino opens, and the streetcar starts running, this will be a great entertainment area."

Jack Potts Tavern will also open for this weekend's Bockfest celebration.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Photography by Scott Beseler
Stay connected by following Randy on Twitter @UrbanCincy
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