200-202 Federal Street

Sitting on the southeast corner of Second and Federal Streets, 200 Federal Street had been the site of an inn as early as the 1850s. Conrad and Elizabeth Hoell, German immigrants, owned and operated the bar for many, many years. Their son, physician Dr. Conrad G. Hoell, had a long and distinguished medical career in Camden.

William Molt was the proprietor listed in Camden city directories covering the years 1918, 1919, and 1920. 

Gustav and Frida Beringer, also German immigrants, had operated a confectionary at 297 Kaighn Avenue prior to World War I. Frida Beringer took her two children, Edna and Walter, to visit family in Germany during the summer of 1911. The family was still at 297 Kaighn Avenue when Frida and her children retuned that August.

They later moved to Philadelphia, where Gustav Beringer went into the saloon business, at 239-241 Girard Avenue. He returned to Camden a few years later.

Gustav Beringer is listed as owning the bar at 200-202 Federal Street in 1924, 1926, 1927, and 1928. It appears that he became incapacitated in 1928, as an Andrew J. Kelly had the place in 1929, according the that year's city directory. The 1930 Census shows Mrs. Beringer as the proprietress of the bar, and Gustav, then 59, as having no occupation. 

Freda Beringer, most likely the widow of Gustav is known to have had the bar from 1931 through 1940, based on the Camden city directories and news articles of the day. She took one more trip to Germany, in late 1934, returning by way of New York in January of 1935 aboard the SS Bremen.

The bar changed hands in 1941. It was acquired by May Radwell, with financing provided by the C. Schmidt & Son brewery in Philadelphia. Grandson Tom Radwell wrote the following in May of 2009: 

Neat- I remember the bar at 2nd and Federal very well.

My grandmother May Radwell was a very good innkeeper.At one time she owned 5 bars. When she sold the one she owned at 60th & Vine in West Philly, Schmidt's Beer lent her the money, interest free to buy the big  place at 2nd & Federal in 1940 or early'41. There was no such person as Ulrich Radwell [who was listed in the City Directories - PMC] , the bar was owned by Hugh and May Radwell until she was killed in a car crash in 1948.My grandfather was very seriously hurt so the kids sold the bar in '48 or early '49. I stayed there on and off and remember sitting on the bar while my grandfather tended it. I remember Jersey Joe Walcott coming in frequently with his friends and in fact I remember as a kid fighting his son at a Camden PAL event and Jersey Joe refereed. It must have been a little ridiculous seeing these two little kids with these big gloves on barely able to hit at all.

My grandmother ran the business with an iron fist and I remember her saying once that this was one of the best locations for a bar in the world. It was a block up from he railroad yard, right across the street from the Yellow Cab Garage, a block down from Campbell Soup and a couple of blocks down from The Merchant Marine Hall where my two uncles worked from and they always brought a crew in to shoot darts and have a few drinks.

The main entrance was exactly diagonal to the corner of 2nd & Federal and down the block on 2nd there was a "Ladies Entrance", with a lighted sign. I guess in those days a lady would never walk through the front door of a bar. They went into the little back room with tables.

Sorry if I ran on but even in that commercial inner city neighborhood, as a kid, I enjoyed myself. I guess today it's parking lot for The Aquarium but it will always be my Nana's place to me.

Mrs. Radwell was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon. Her husband joined her 10 years later. The New Jersey Bell Telephone directories in the years 1956 through 1970 show the establishment as the Grand Bar. An ill-conceived and worse-executed plan for urban redevelopment saw many properties in the 200 and 300 blocks of Federal Street acquired and razed around 1970. This spelled the end of the bar at 200 Federal Street, and many other nearby establishments.  

Camden Courier-Post - March 28, 1932


Federal prohibition agents under direction of Harry E. Johnson, chief enforcement officer of South Jersey, raided Beringer's Cafe at 200 Federal Street shortly before noon Saturday.

August Lammerding, 29, of the same address, was arrested after agents tested a "buy" of beer which Johnson said showed 2.10 percent alcohol.

Lammerding was held under $1000 bail for the federal grand jury by U. S. Commissioner Wynn Armstrong.

One half-barrel of alleged high­power beer was seized. Lammerding said he was the bartender. 

PHILLIP A. GLASS was the nom de plume for a fellow who wrote a "advertising column" about the Camden and South Jersey bar and nightclub scene in the 1930s. "Phillip A. Glass" is a pun, "fill up a glass" (with now-legal liquor) is the joke here. I have no idea who wrote this column, or if the picture at left, which purports to be "Phillip A. Glass" is that person. If anyone has a clue to this, please e-mail me.

Mrs. Beringer advertised in this column during the nid-1930s.

Phil Cohen

Camden Courier-Post - February 1, 1936

Phillip A. Glass

Here we go again on another epoch making trip .. with much slipping and slid­ing, we managed to mark in our log the following ports of call ... those of you who have followed us in our meanderings will agree that much fun can be had at .he following;

* * *

Congratulations Tom Mayer and Herb Marker for your great find, the Original Blue Jay Orchestra ... besides knowing your mixing business you have keen ears for what's good in the music line ... Many of the Blue Jay's friends have been around to wish them a long run and it looks as though they've clicked .,. I predict many capacity nights for the Hi Hatters Club from now on, the address is 224 Market street, Camden.

* * *

Every nite is party nite at the Lakeview Inn, Cooper street, Almonesson ... Johnny Cusick, fun making "prop" of the Inn, will be glad to extend the hand of hearty welcome to his old pals ... the Rhythm Rascals are still turning out their fine brand of music ... Call Johnny and arrange for a party; number is Blackwood 182.

* * *

Good old Cap the capering captain of Cap's Grille, Northwood avenue, Merchantville, is still doing a whale of a business ... he sure deserves the popularity ... Cap has the happy faculty of making everyone feel at home ... and he makes it his personal pleasure to see to it that you ... and you ... and you, have a rip roarin’ time.

* * *

Eddie Wilson, keeper of the finest copper bar in this territory ... invites you to quaff the foaming beverage with him and the fellows at his lively spot tagged Wilson's Grille, just go down Black Horse Pike to Grant avenue in West Collingswood; can't miss it ... get Eddie to show you some of the fine points of the ancient game of Rummy ... and incidentally he mixes a wicked high­ball.

* * *

Saturday night's the night at the Smart Spot in Batesville. "Hal" and Mary have asked this column to extend a blanket invitation to all to attend their first anniversary party . .. enjoy one of Mary's own delicious deviled crabs served by Ernie ... listen to Ed Finnegan's 10 magic fingers rhapsodize on the keyboard ... and by the way Hal's brother Ed, who is maestro of the bar at the Hollywood in the big bad city (N, Y. to YOU), is coming down to officiate on the big night ... we'll see you there!

* * *

Balloons, balloons, what if they should burst (happy thought) what a catastrophe that would be down at Abe's Browning Lane Inn, Bellmawr ... Lucille Ray is there with her sensational balloon dance ... the first to be presented around these parts ... Abe figures there ought to be some crowd present with Lucille's presentation; what with a real supporting show full of pep, snap and variety,

* * *

Close your eyes, listen- who is that singing? Who'! 'Morton Downey'! Nope, you're wrong again … that was Johnnie Carns, Downey's voice double ... Johnnie's doing his stuff out at Rodeo Ray Hinkson's Dude Ranch along with a complete, new, all-star floor show which is ably assisted by Curly Mack's orchestra. Travel out the Marlton pike, stranger, 'til you come to 27th Street and you're there- Pennsauken's the township.

* * *

In the shadow of the great Delaware River Bridge lies one of Camden's foremost fun spots; to wit, Caesar's Grille, Point and Elm streets, Caesar has been rightly enjoying immense popularity for quite some years- good, clean entertain­ment in a homey atmosphere, wholesome food served properly and good music are the paramount features of Caesar's place ... stop in there tonight- see if you don't agree with us.

* * *

Club Lido, 1411 Broadway, Camden, is still wowing 'em with Joe Campbell and his rollicking crew of merry­makers, which crew includes Elaine Hinkle, Charlotte Clune, and Eddie Carrigan's band … Joe always sees to it that there is something new and different each week for the edification of the cash customers.

* * *

These cold days always bring out a yen on our part for a good hot steaming dish of sauerkraut prepared a'la Beringer... for those addicts to good old fashioned German cooking we can heartily recommend Mrs. Beringer's famous meals, served at 2nd and Federal Streets, Camden. We'll bet you'll come out feeling like "a million" after one of her soul satisfying meals. 

Camden Courier-Post - August 4, 1936


Beringer's Cafe - Club Royal - Arcadia Cafe - Broadway - Federal Street
John V. Wilkie - Gus Fortune - Lewis Liberman
Harold Clark - Fannie Mazer - Freda Beringer

Drink Up!
The Bars, Taverns, and Clubs of Camden