The ‘Whiskey’ light, hanging over the Round House Bar entrance, is one of the most symbolic treasures of Put-in-Bay. When the Whiskey light is turned on it lets all of the local islanders, boaters, and visitors know that ‘the bar is officially open’ and the season has officially begun. This tradition dates by several decades and is one of the most anticipated weekends of the year. With over 140 years of rich history, the Round House Bar has become an adored Put-in-Bay landmark. Originally built with hospitality in mind, the round venue is still a local and tourist favorite to date. The actual lighting of the Whiskey sign starts at 2 pm and local bands and/or musicians entertain the crowd throughout the day. Visit our entertainment page for additional details and to find out who is playing.

The Round House Bar History

Built in 1873, The Columbia Restaurant opened in downtown Put-in-Bay. They were known for their vast selections of beer, wine, and ice-cold treats, such as ice cream and cottage cheese. Around 15 years later they renamed to the Round House Bar. The Greunke family purchased the Round House for $11,000 in 1944. It was the Greunke’s that had the circular bar built by the Cincinnati Brewing Company. With that said, Mrs. Greunke was a true musician and played her piano to entertain the bar-goers “in the round.” They moved the stage to the present location because the first space required Mrs. Greunke to play with her back to the crowd. Additionally, the Greunke’s are responsible for constructing the acoustical canopy inside the cupola. In the 1950s the bar was purchased again by the McCann family. They currently own the Round House and are responsible for the iconic RED Exterior. With the exception of the floor and front porch, a large majority of the original building and plaster walls remain today. For decades the Round House Bar has served as one of the most treasured establishments on the island.

Accommodations Near the Whiskey Lighting at the Round House Bar

  • Edgewater Hotel and Suites
  • The Island Club
  • Commodore Hotel

Join us for the most anticipated Put-in-Bay celebration of the season! Check out additional hotels and rental homes options on our Put-In-Bay Lodging resource page. We will see you at the Whiskey Light Celebration!