HISTORIC BAR WITH EMPHASIS ON PRE-PROHIBITION COCKTAILS
The story of Japp’s dates back to 1879.
John G. Japp was the founder of what was then Japp’s Hair Store. John was born in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany on August 12, 1850. He immigrated to America as a young man.
John first settled in Chicago, where he was a builder. He had a hand in rebuilding Chicago after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. He moved again to Texas, and then again to St. Louis, Missouri, where he married Lena Erhand.
John and Lena then moved to the Avondale neighborhood of Cincinnati together. In 1879, they opened up Japp's Hair Store, a toupee and wig shop on Main Street in Over-the-Rhine. At the time, OTR was a popular shopping district, especially with the addition of Alms and Doepke Dry Goods Company on the corner of Canal Street and Main Street (now Central Parkway and Main Street) one year prior.
A few years later, Japp moved the store down the street to 1134 Main Street, next to Hanke's Department Store. The J. G. Japp Toilet Requisite Company, owned by Japp and his family, manufactured toilet preparations in the same building between 1912 and 1925.
In 1905, John and Lena built a house on Hosea Avenue in Clifton. Mr. Japp ran the hair store himself until his death on September 2nd, 1934. He was 84 years old.
The store remained in the Japp family until 1985. For nearly a century, Japp's Hair Store prided itself on crafting the highest quality, handmade wigs from human hair.
Japps' 1134 Main Street location was purchased by Bob Schneider in the late 80s. He said there were so many boxes of real hair left behind that the products almost covered the entire cost of the building. In the 1990s, Neill Bairstow leased the space and turned the former hair store into a bar. The bar was purchased and sold a few times up until 2002, when it shut down for good. In 2010, Molly Wellmann reopened Japp's as a cocktail bar.
Japp's OTR specializes in classic cocktails from the 1700s - 1950s. There is a unique story behind almost every drink, and the building's history complements the historical aspect of the bar's focus.