Music Clubs & Night Clubs

The Rhythm Bar

The Rhythm Bar, located at 124 N Howard St. was attached to the Ritz Plaza Hotel. Both establishments were owned by Samuel Barnes and Mitchell Wadley by the late 1940s. Most information found on the Rhythm Bar is in association with the various women’s sports teams that were associated with the bar, namely the Rhythm Bar Girls baseball team. Many of the advertisements in local papers detail the team’s wins and losses as well as asking for people to contact them to schedule games. Some other ads that promoted the Rhythm Bar Girls mentioned the Cabin Club (formerly the Drift Inn) an African American club that offered a multitude of recreational activities such as a baseball field and recreational hall. This allowed the owners to cater to their clientele in two very different locations.

The Rhythm Bar itself was able to provide a relaxed environment for jazz musicians and enthusiasts alike during its years of operation. Tickets to see musicians like Buddy Johnson and Ella Johnson who were performing at the Armory were sold at the Rhythm Bar in what could be an effort to keep the jazz scene thriving by promoting customers to explore other bars. The jazz community was strong in Akron and provided more than just music to locals and travelers alike, it helped to build a society that let people express themselves through music. The Rhythm Bar unfortunately had been in some trouble along with the Ritz Plaza Hotel, and the Cabin Club due to Barner and Wadley. The duo had all three of their establishments seized by the IRS in 1955 due to an issue that they had with their taxes. After they got their establishments back they stayed in the papers due to issues securing liquor licenses and more than one instance of a violent crime taking place at the bar between its customers. The atmosphere of the bar and other establishments of Barner and Wadley wanted to be relaxed, but with the issues that the duo dealt with during their years of operation it was a rough undertaking to manage three establishments at one time.

Resources

”5 In Area Cited By Liquor Board.” Akron Beacon Journal. April 14, 1952

“Four Face Hearings On Liquor Charges.” Akron Beacon Journal. June 28, 1959.

”Knife Victim Is ‘Critical’.” Akron Beacon Journal. December 02, 1962.

”Knife Victim In Hospital.” Akron Beacon Journal. September 18, 1956.

”Rhythm Bar Booking.” Akron Beacon Journal. June 03, 1949

“Rhythm Bar Triumphs.” Akron Beacon Journal. June 10, 1949

”U.S. Seizes Ritz Plaza Hotel here For Back Income Taxes.” Akron Beacon Journal. August 20, 1955.