Saturday, December 20, 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

Creche collection grows in size, popularity

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Handmade Christmas display is man’s labor of love

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
 
 
Company competition a big win for charity

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Meeting a great role model at any age

By Murray Bass | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

Fairfield police log: Dec. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Suisun City police log: Dec. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Weather for Dec. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

 
.

US / World

Island park in San Francisco Bay closed for weekend

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Wetter than usual start to new year in California predicted

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Hospital to pay $2.2M to settle false claims

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Napolitano named as UC public policy professor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Man shocked 20 times during jail booking sues

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3, 6 Comments

Notorious California graffiti suspect arrested

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Animal rights activists take California rodeo to court

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

California’s bullet train settles 1 of 7 lawsuits

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Tuskegee Airman Lowell Steward dies in California at 95

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Bush officials gave CIA wide latitude

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Theater shooter’s parents plead for his life

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Driver pleads not guilty in pedestrian deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
5 ways to make your email safer in case of a hack attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Celebrities react to latest Sony hack developments

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Sony on shelving ‘The Interview': ‘We had no choice’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Obama says North Korea hacked Sony, vows response

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 8 Comments

AP Interview: Coelho says Sony hack threatens all

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Lava could reach Hawaii shopping center in 8 days

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Jury rules for Indiana woman in firing over IVF

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Bergdahl investigation wraps up; top leaders get briefings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Texas eatery worker gets mink coat from customer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Sugarland, promoter settle with state fair victims

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

NY police officer suspended after videotaped punch

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Prepackaged caramel apples linked to 4 deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Supreme Court won’t stop gay marriages in Florida

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Staples: Customer data exposed in security breach

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Australian woman arrested in deaths of 8 children

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Israel carries out airstrike on Hamas site in Gaza

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Pakistan executes militants and bombards tribal areas

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Franciscan religious order in ‘grave’ financial crisis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

.

Opinion

Yes, Virginia, the Santa wish list has gone digital

By Petula Dvorak | From Page: A8

 
Editorial Cartoon: Dec. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
If you want to help the poor, fix the safety net

By Jim Tankersley | From Page: A8

.

Living

Community Calendar: Dec. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Dec. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Pampered pets that don duds move to the mainstream

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Dec. 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B11

Children from wife’s first marriage put father’s ashes in coffin

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B11

 
.

Entertainment

More than 4 million people watched 1st dog telethon

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Kim Jong Un game spoof ‘Glorious Leader!’ moving forward

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Marathon bombing survivor in ‘Yes to Dress’ finale

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Kid Rock to perform pre-race concert at Daytona 500

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Actor Stephen Collins denies he’s a pedophile in interview

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
.

Sports

Dodge, Vaca grad Mason lead Southern Oregon to NAIA title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Raiders haven’t needed much from Janikowski

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
AP sources: Peavy agrees on $24M, 2-year deal with Giants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

FIFA will not reopen 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Howe’s family reports rapid improvement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

2 Armstrong associates settle lawsuit with Landis

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rays, Padres, Nats complete 11-player trade involving Myers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Vanden girls open Nike TOC with win on Arizona

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Things to know about Friday’s baseball news

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Rookie receivers making their mark in NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Former boxing champ Ernie Terrell dies at 75

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Gold medalist Phelps pleads guilty to DUI, avoids jail time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Dodgers end Yanks’ payroll streak, owe most tax

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

CIF football bowl games headed to Sacramento

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B3

 
Cal men beat Eastern Washington 78-67 for seventh straight win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
This date in sports history for Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

.

Business

California unemployment rate dips to 7.2 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Chrysler gives in to gov’t, expands air bag recall

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

T-Mobile paying at least $90M for unwanted services

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
EPA sets first national standard for coal waste

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Sales for holiday shopping season comes down to the wire

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

Judy Zamora Rogers

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B10

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

 
.

Home Seller 12/20/14

Real estate transactions for Dec. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2

Ask a Designer: decorating with Christmas trees

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2