Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bygone Business: Four-O-Six Bar

As Rochester was emerging from the Great Depression in 1936, local resident Carl H. Hartwig bought out the Village Tavern - formerly known as the Merchant's Restaurant - which had been operating at 406 S. Main Street since 1927. Hartwig, who was the brother of Rochester real estate agent Max A. Hartwig, announced that he would open a new cocktail lounge and restaurant in the space after investing about $4,000 in new equipment and furnishings.

Hartwig announced his grand opening in the Rochester Clarion on September 18, 1936, informing local residents that the new establishment would be named the the Four-O-Six, presumably after its street address. The advertisement offered lunches for 45 cents and special “roadhouse dinners” for one dollar.

In 1952, restaurant owner Leonard Bebout needed to vacate his location south of the Opera House block and decided to move Bebout's Restaurant into the building he owned at 406 S. Main. As a result of that shuffle, the Four-O-Six moved up the block to 434 S. Main (thereby creating a local joke: “What's the address of the 406 Bar?”).

The Four-O-Six was known as a comfortable watering-hole where working men could enjoy a beer after the whistle blew at Twist Drill or Avon Tube. That image was tarnished by a tragic incident at the bar on September 26, 1971, when local resident William H. Spencer was shot and killed by another bar patron. As capital crimes were few and far between in Rochester, the murder at the Four-O-Six was the talk of the town and the story became permanently linked with the bar's name. The Four-O-Six closed its doors about two years later.


  1. Is the 434 S. Main location the bar moved to also the current 434 S. Main address (@Home Furniture)?

  2. Yes, same building. At the time that the bar was located there, it had a light colored brick front. The brick has since been covered with wood.

  3. Was there a store called Macauley's in 434 at some point? I seem to remember one being there.