On Sept. 17, 1892, the Yates Hotel opened opposite Syracuse’s City Hall at Montgomery and East Washington Streets with a reception for 4,000 people.
Built on the site of the 1891 Montgomery Flats fire, construction on the hotel took just over one year. The Romanesque Revival building was designed by Syracuse architect Archimedes Russell. Standing six stories tall, occupying almost an entire city block, and offering over 250 rooms, the Yates was called “the most elegant hotel outside Manhattan.” It operated for almost 80 years, closing in March of 1971. A few months later, the final section of the building was demolished, falling into East Fayette Street. The site of the Yates Hotel is a parking lot today.
It opened in 1892, just as cocktails were starting to become more widely known. In a description of the hotel’s ornate bar room at the time, a promotional booklet stated:
“It is said that the pleasure of one’s eating depends upon the surroundings and service. This evidently applies to their drinking as well, if we are to judge from the amount of money expended in decorating bars of the present day; and if this is the case, every patron must more than enjoy his wine or “cocktail” when served amidst these seductive surroundings.”
The Yates bar was made from Tennessee marble and every inch of the surrounding wood walls and plaster ceiling was covered with intricate detailing, reflecting late Victorian and Edwardian décor.
Beer for the hotel’s patrons was provided by the local Haberle and Greenway breweries. Liquor to produce the novel, new cocktails of the era was supplied by the Johnson Duttson & Dean store located at 25 South Warren Street.
— Dan Connors for the OHA