Tuesday, November 25, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Ryde Hotel: A speakeasy from the past

Delta Series

The Ryde Hotel. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | August 27, 2014 |

RYDE — The cool thing about the Ryde Hotel and its stunning presence on the Sacramento River is that it has hidden places – and during Prohibition there were lots of hidden things in order to keep the bootlegging a (not so) secret.

It’s a legend in the Delta with stories swirling around about its former guests, their alleged activities and the probable raids that occurred at the speakeasy.

The current Ryde Hotel – a couple of predecessors burned down – with its tall, leggy water tower and backdrop of palm trees, sits on Grand Island and was built in 1927 (think Prohibition). It offers a Sunday champagne brunch that Viksit Bhardwaj, the establishment’s general manager, said people have been coming to for decades.

One couple in their 90s made a return visit after sharing their first date at the hotel in 1937. They were in the eighth grade.

The rich and famous have also used the Ryde Hotel during its history – that included the notorious, such as various mobsters. Herbert Hoover announced his election campaign at the hotel and later on writers from San Francisco used to host parties at the hotel.

“It was the perfect hideout for the Hollywood types,” Bhardwaj said.

But in the late 1920s, the downstairs allegedly cashed in on illegal booze, like many area establishments. That era left behind some awesome nefarious hidden things, such as a door masked as a closet that leads downstairs to the former location of the illicit speakeasy. The door came complete with a peep hole, a password, and at the bottom of the stairs, if you were let in, a small window to pay before being allowed into the real fun.

The downstairs is currently used as a banquet facility, or for such events as weddings and receptions, but one look at the original black-laquered bar, art deco motif, columns and some original ornate wooden booths, and it’s pretty easy to picture an Al Capone lookalike sipping ill-gotten booze in a smokey atmosphere while listening to the sounds of Al Jolson, Duke Ellington or Louis Armstrong.

Off to the side of the bar, tucked away, is the entrance to a tunnel that lead out to the river – the booze allegedly came in from the river. Lookouts supposedly used to stand out on the rooftop or the water tank to watch for anyone coming, Bhardwaj said.

“Back in the ’20s the traffic came by boat, not by road,” he said.

A small building out back was also rumored to be a still, producing gin and whiskey, according to “The Historic Delta Country” by Charles A.Bohakel in 1979.

According to information published by the hotel, it was also a riverboat way station and rumored to be a bordello, connected to the hotel by a second tunnel. The “dancing ladies” used to live on the grounds behind the hotel in a building that was torn down about a year ago, Bhardwaj said. They used that other tunnel to go “home.”

“The men used to follow them out there,” he said.

For more information about the hotel’s amenities, go to www.rydehotel.com.

Reach Susan Winlow at 427-6955 or swinlow@dailyrepublic.net. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/swinlowdr.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 4 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • CD BrooksAugust 27, 2014 - 5:50 am

    Cool place, great ride/drive out along the back roads into Sacramento.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • J CooperAugust 27, 2014 - 12:25 pm

    Great Fun stop on a beautiful (Ryde) on the River Road. New shops and Gallery 1,2 block up the levy. Great Fun Adventure at Delta Creative Works. Come on by and say hey!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JJOctober 05, 2014 - 12:37 am

    Interesting however the current owners of the hotel are actually incorrect. The 2nd Ryde Hotel, that no longer stands was the one that was used as a speakeasy in the 1920s. Later in 1927, the Hotel Ryde that stands today was built. All the interesting stories of the Ryde you are speaking about happened in the older building that no longer exists. You might want to look into the history of it better...it's out there if you search for it.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Susan WinlowOctober 06, 2014 - 3:00 pm

    Our stories were thoroughly researched through both interviews, books and research papers. It's been written about before - it's not a new or novel discovery. If you can site your own research to show that the current Ryde Hotel was NOT used as speakeasy, then I welcome the comments. Please email me this proof at swinlow@dailyrepublic.net. Until then, I suggest you visit and ask if you can take a tour of the place downstairs - the locations that are normally off limits to visitors. The tunnels, the peep hole, the pay window, the door that looks like a closet - it's all right there.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Soroptimists seek award applicants

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

 
Science comes to libraries – for all to see

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

Nichols plans free family concert in Napa

By Glen Faison | From Page: A7

 
Library schedules soap-making program

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

Church’s holiday soiree on Vacaville calendar

By Glen Faison | From Page: A7

 
Vacaville PD seeks VIPS program volunteers

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

 
 
Volunteers help Mission Solano pack for food giveaway

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: Nov. 23, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

Fairfield police log: Nov. 22, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

 
Suisun City police log: Nov. 23, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

Suisun City police log: Nov. 22, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

 
.

US / World

Incumbent Democrats lose in 2 close California Assembly races

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
VA fires Phoenix hospital director

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Iraqi troops take 2 towns from Islamic State group

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Iran nuclear talks stumble, extended until July

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Brown names assistant US attorney to high court

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Driver fatigue may have caused California crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment | Gallery

Israel resumes razing homes to punish attackers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
GOP wisdom shifts on immigration

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 8 Comments | Gallery

Under pressure, Hagel steps down as Pentagon chief

By Maureen Fissolo | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
No charges in Ferguson case; chaos fills streets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 80 Comments | Gallery

.

Opinion

 
Senate staff cuts reduce transparency

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

.

Living

Community Calendar: Nov. 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
.

Entertainment

‘Wizard of Oz’ Cowardly Lion costume fetches $3M

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Miller puts own spin on longtime ‘GH’ character

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

‘Today’ looks to rebound from tough week

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Review: Turmoil helps AC/DC shine on new album

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Guitarist: Leon Russell band’s instruments stolen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Sting tries to help his ailing Broadway musical

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

In wake of Spotify pullout, music industry debates streaming

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Bill Weir’s new CNN series to begin in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

TVGrid Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Forsett leads Ravens past Saints, 34-27

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Bills rout Jets 38-3 in rescheduled game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Even top NFL teams have taken steps back

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Aldon Smith helps lead in 49ers’ 3rd straight win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Rod Streater returns to practice for Raiders

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Taylor apologizes, won’t appeal NBA suspension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz on Hall of Fame ballot

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
No. 1 Kentucky gives Kansas a Top 25 tumble

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

LeBron on Cavaliers’ issues: “I stink”

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Police: Manziel’s entourage attacked fan at hotel

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Giants set record with $388,606 postseason shares

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Longtime NHL coach, executive Pat Quinn dies at 71

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Pablo Sandoval reaches multiyear deal with Red Sox

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
San Francisco turning to groundwater for its taps

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

South Carolina the new No. 1 in AP women’s hoops

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
.

Business

Budweiser gives Clydesdales holiday pink slip

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4, 3 Comments

 
Redbox raising DVD rental rates by 25 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

New FDA rules will put calorie counts on menus

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Unidentified country likely behind spying software

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Honda admits failing to report deaths, injuries

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
United Technologies CEO retires, succeeded by CFO

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Nike extends contract with USOC through 2020

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
High-end home sales surge in Southern California

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Rose is Rose Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Bridge Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Garfield Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Word Sleuth Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Crossword Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baby Blues Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4