(also known as the High Hat Club)
224 Market Street

This bar's history in Camden covered almost 100 years, beginning in the mid 1880s. August Hettmannsperger appears in the Camden City Directories in the years covering 1887 through 1891 as the proprietor. He called his establishment the Columbia Hotel. Hettmansperger had come to Camden from Baden, Germany in the 1870s, and appears in the 1880 Census, when he was working as a locksmith and living with wife Mary and children Emma and August Jr. at 18 South 4th Street. The Columbia Hotel was still run by August Hettmansperger as late as 1903.

By 1905 the Hettmanspergers were gone. Thomas Wilson is shown operating the business in 1905. John P. "Jack" Scannell had the bar in 1906 through 1909. Walter J. Ott tradd there from 1910 through at least 1913. The bar was run by John Reilly in the years 1915 through 1924 according to Camden City Directories. From 1924 through 1932, the bar operated as the Victor Hotel, under the proprietorship of William J. Sheehan. who ran it under a "soft drink" license, i.e., he sold low alcohol content near beer. In June of 1932 Sheehan was fined and sentenced to three months in jail for operating a speakeasy. Six half-barrels of beer and 11 gallons of hard liquor had been found in a raid the previous April. 

When Prohibition was repealed in 1933, a liquor license was obtained for the premises, and by 1936 the bar was known as the Hi Hatter's Club. Owners Tom Mayer and Herb Marker actively promoted their establishment. They employed John "Jack" Miko as a bartender, who was quite popular.

Herbert Marker was born December 2, 1902 in New York to immigrant parents Max and Mollie Marker, who had come to Camden by the mid-1920s. Max Marker was cigar maker, and by 1930 owned a home at 400 Penn Street. He later opened up a store at that location. At the time of the 1930 census Herb Marker was working as a waiter in a restaurant. He later moved to Buffalo NY where he passed away in March of 1974. Of Tom Mayer little is known as of this writing. Jack Miko remained a Camden resident until his death in August of 1988, four days after his 80th birthday.

The bar is listed as the Hi Hatter's Club in the 1940 and 1943 Camden City Directories. There is no listing in the 1947 Camden City Directory, but 224 Market Street appears in the 1956 New Jersey Bell Telephone Directory as the High Hat Club. By 1959 the bar had changed hands and changed names, and was known as the Bell Bar. The Bell Bar remained open through at least 1984.

The 200 block of Market Street was razed and redeveloped in the late 1980s or early 1990s.

 by Phillip A. Glass

The fellow appearing to the left wrote a column called Making The Rounds in the Camden Courier-Post during the middle and late 1930s under the name Phillip A. Glass. The column consisted of his reports on the goings on in Camden County nightspots, and was a paid advertisement. I'm pretty sure that the name Phillip A. Glass was not his name, but rather a play on the words Fill Up A Glass, very appropriate in the bar business, don't you think?

Below are excerpts from Making the Rounds, concerning the Hi Hatter's Club. 

August 8, 1936
August 15, 1936
October 3, 1936
October 10, 1936
October 17, 1936
January 15, 1938


January 29, 1938



Camden Courier-Post
February 24, 1938

Eagles Hall
Washington Street



Hi-Hat Club - Bridge Cafe - Kernan's Cafe- Harry's Taproom - Clancy's Cafe - Big Ed's Place
Larry's Cafe - Lynch's Cafe - Morgan's Cafe - Nittinger's Cafe
Big Horn Cafe - Jack's Grille - Cooperson's Auto Body - Scotty's Thist'es
Vari's Cafe -
Davalo's Cafe - Bush's Cafe - La Victoria - Shantytown Cafe - Billy's Cafe
Phil Hart's Cafe -
Pavonia House - White Owl Inn - George's Grill - Dick's Rendezvous
Dragon Inn - Royal Inn -
Bismark Cafe
Ginger's Cafe - Daly's Cafe - Kenure's Cafe - Knauer's Cafe - Oaklyn Inn - Bellevue Inn
Fourteenth Ward Democrat Club - Blanche's Cafe - Duke Gartland's - Regan's Cafe
Bettlewood Cafe - Mulvihill's Cafe - Barrington Cafe - Chews Landing Hotel - Blackwood Cafe
Laurel Inn - Starr's Cafe - Gruber's Inn - Welcome Inn - Somerdale Bowling Alley