From Toll House to Bar & Grill
A History of the Five Mile House
Before Barleycorn’s was the lively bar and grill we know today, the Five Mile House stood tall in the 1800s as a toll house. Back then, Dixie Highway was known as Lexington Pike, a popular roadway to get to and from Lexington, KY. People would stop at the Five Mile House to water their horses and take a rest from the road.
Fast forwarding to 1910, a couple named Charles and Anna Retschulte purchased the building. They turned it into a restaurant, complete with a shady area available for picnics for those who wanted to eat outside. The C. Retschulte Five Mile House was a popular location for travelers and locals alike, especially considering the social and political landscape of the time.
Prohibition was officially enacted in 1920 and would last until 1933, meaning the bars and grills of the time couldn’t legally sell alcohol. In 1925, Charles Retschulte got in trouble when it was discovered that he had eleven and a half barrels of beer that were connected by a pipe to the bar.
From there, the restaurant shut down and stayed closed until it reopened in 1943. Casino-style gambling was becoming popular in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area, and owner Florence Cahill restored the building to be run as a restaurant/gambling den until 1962. It was rumored that the local mafia used the Five Mile House as a meeting place.
In 1963, Arthur List purchased the Five Mile House and would run it as a bar and grill until 1984. That year, Ken Heil purchased the building and, along with his brother Joe, created Barleycorn’s. Today, Barleycorn’s is one of Northern Kentucky’s favorite bar and grill spots.