Cosmopolitan Hall (The Warehouse Nightclub)

   Located at 1313 Vine street in Over the Rhine, Cosmopolitan Hall, which was most recently known as the Warehouse nightclub, has pretty much sat empty since that club closed in 2004. You can’t really tell from the outside, but this is a huge building. It stretches from Vine Street to Republic, and is estimated to have a total of around 27,000 square feet, which includes two sub basements.

   It was built in 1855 as a beer garden and dance hall, replacing a brewery that originally existed on the site. From 1878 to 1882 it was called the “Tivoli Beer Garden.” In the 1880s, it became a dance hall, and, in the 1890s,was renamed Cosmopolitan Hall. Over the decades, it was used for several different things, including a Prohibition-era speakeasy, an indoor golf complex, insurance offices, a lighting retailer, a wallpaper store, and, of course, The Warehouse. In the early 1990s, the second floor dance hall was renovated for scenes in the movie A Rage in Harlem.

   Below all this sits the 2 sub basements. These are massive, but it’s the lower level that is something to see. It’s a 4,400 square foot, two-chambered vault running the length of the building, with 20 foot, barrel-vaulted stone ceilings. A remnant of the brewery that was here originally, the wood plank floor is rotted and basically destroyed.

   Of course, as with any abandoned building this old, there are stories of ghosts and such. Haunted or not, it’s worth checking out if you ever get the chance.

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24 thoughts on “Cosmopolitan Hall (The Warehouse Nightclub)

  1. I used to go to The Warehouse all of the time. Danced the night away into the early morning hours. They would even serve breakfast sometimes to people who were there all night. It was awesome!

  2. not only did I work there for many many years I also lived in the building in the loft on the 3rd floor (lived there “alone” might I add) it is without a doubt the most haunted place I have ever been. I miss the club very much and believe it or not as messed up as some of the things Ive experienced, I miss living there as well

    • Interesting you said that. I went there in the early ’90’s with another member of our office to conduct a property inspection & related report; taking photos as we went. On the ground floor of the bar area, as you faced the rear of the building, was a narrow counter that served as an armrest and beer glass rest for patrons that ran along the three walls opposite the front bar & back bar, to the right. I took three photos at 10,12 & 2 o’clock in rapid order; seeing nothing in my viewer. When the photos were developed, I decided I could not include them in the report. At 10 o’clock from me & just outside an arm’s reach, was a floating torso approximately six inches taller than me; displaying rib bones, upper arm bones and two additional back bones attached to the shoulder that ended in a considerable right & left wing with a membrane so the detail could just be made out. It lacked a head, forearms, hands, hips & legs or at least these parts were not evident in the photo. Where the head & hips should have been were just vaporous entwined streams that were similar to a DNA molecular helix. At 12 o’clock was a floating turquoise colored head with its skin stretched to points with its eyes closed as if in pain or anticipating my camera flash. At 2 o’clock were two or three large orbs, I can’t remember, just above the bar area where their irregular routes showed like the letter “M”, due to the shutter time lapse as they headed toward the front door area. I called the owner and asked him whether any strange occurrences happened at the bar. He asked why, but I refused to tell him about the photos; not wanting to lose our fee. However, he went on to tell me that glasses would have been moved or would have been smashed or the vacuum cleaner would be found on the other side of the bar from where it was the night before. (At this time, the elevator was inoperable, the second floor had once served as a billiards parlor in the 1930’s+/-, but at this time only housed older beer signage. The third floor had various construction material stored around its periphery, while the fourth floor demonstrated very deteriorated flooring covered with pigeon dung over every square inch. So the first floor was the only floor utilized at that time.) I kept these photos in my office desk from that time until my employer closed the office around 2008; placing them in a shoe box when it was time for me to clear out my office. At least I hope I placed them there, since I was upset about the office closing and the ensuing term of unemployment until finding something else. I have searched my house for these photographs and can kick myself for not filing them away more carefully, because I tell you they put to shame just about anything photographed on the Ghost Hunters or Ghost Adventures shows and the like. In closing, this actually happened, but until I find those photos, I’m just another screwball with a story. It kills me I haven’t found them, but may be I’m not suppose to find them.

  3. Sigh…. I used to work there and once upon a time was booked as “The Queen of Mean” when I spanked people on Halloween for the charity, AVOC. For a while, we owned the bar caddy-corner across the street — I practically LIVED at Warehouse for several years. What amuses me about these pictures is that there are several places that are photographed here that I never saw illuminated by that much light – it was always darker in real life. :<)

  4. I second that sight….It definitely is a staple in Cincinnati’s history. I too worked at the infamous club as well, but long before I ever worked there, I was going there endulging in the best nightclub experience Cincinnati had to offer. The staff, the people who were religious about the Warehouse, and the Warehouse itself, there will NEVER be another nightclub quite like it!!! R.I.P.

  5. I remember it as well. Always a sobering sight when the lights went on around 2am for the change over and I saw the gritty gray. But then the overhead fluorescent lights would eventually wink out and the club lighting would return illuminating a different world where dance and alternative species to the mundane world flourished. I would go up to the 2nd floor office with Kevin to take a break and look through his pile of confiscated fake ID’s and marvel at the architecture up there. I never imagined what was below, wow can you spell d-u-n-g-e-o-n! A missed opportunity there Dave and Kevin for catering to those in that lifestyle. If it wasn’t for the riots and the watched parking lot closing down…………

  6. Cincy has been run amok by the hipster crowd…they would never be into the Warehouse…no imported beers or irony. No shtty live bands.

  7. WOW…. Does this bring back memories. I spent 10 years there attending. VERY STRANGE seeing this at night…. But, the “memories” (some a bit not so clear) will remain… Seems like an absolute lifetime ago….

  8. WOW this brings back memories….

    10 years of my life I spent from midnight until 3:30-4am.

    Seems like a lifetime ago. Good times and memories :) Moving on with life is what make memories like these worth remembering…

  9. You can still visit if you want each Saturday starting April 21 by taking the Queen City Underground Tour. You get to see the Cosmopolitan part of the night club as well as other historic sites on Vine Street including the lagering tunnels of the old Kaufman Brewery and the crypt underneath St Francis Seraph… http://www.americanlegacytours.com Yeah, we do ghost tours in there too…creepy stuff does happen….

  10. The warehouse was where I found my family I was part of the wed night weird-o crowd (w/ occasional sat playdates). From the second I stepped through the looking glass, I knew I was home. I started going the summer of ’93 and was w/ her even after she moved to that wretched warehouse light place :op

    I will always cherish the memories I have

  11. I went to the Warehouse when I was an aupair in 1994, my host-partens did not like it at all that I went there. It was the best club I ever saw during my time in Cincinatti!

  12. I went there, every Wednesday night, for the better part of 6-7 years in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. A piece of me died when it went out. Seeing these pics makes me joyous and sad all at once. RIP Warehouse.

  13. I worked there for a while also. It was definitely haunted. I would stay there over night with my boyfriend at the time. Spent many days and nights there. It was creepy during both. Miss the old place, had a lot of fun and have some great memories of it.

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  16. You could be whomever you wanted to be at the Warehouse. No one cared about how you looked or dressed. Didn’t matter if you just turned 18 or were in your 50’s. We were all there to dance, meet interesting people, just be ourselves and have fun! That was the best part about the Warehouse.

  17. Hung out there a lot in 93 and 94. I recall talking to someone named Dave and I think he owned the Warehouse. I remember going upstairs a few times to hang out and the upper levels were relatively untouched. Never seen another place like it since. In the early years it was the best place to hang outside and listen to car windows being bashed in every 15 minutes in the wonderful neighborhood that was OTR in the 90’s. Some of my best memories are from that place.

  18. I grew up in this building in the 70’s…my Dad was an accountant at the “lighting retailer” (which for trivia knowledge was Welsbach Lighting”) we used to play down in the beer cellars and fo up to the second floor……no ghost storues though…went to the Warehouse regularly too…

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