The 412 Club was a popular downtown restaurant and bar that my friends and I used to go to in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. They served decent Mexican and bar type foods and plenty of seating, but as I was a practicing vegetarian at the time I usually picked side dishes. It has been closed for several years now it a part of Fort Wayne history that I am sure many locals have memories of.
On the right side of the place was a small bar area with booths and tiny bathrooms in the back, a rectangular bar that was open in the center for the bartenders on the other side of the bar were a row of tables and then a rail. It was a little more classy that the restaurant side. To the left on the left you took a few steps down to go the the large restaurant part, which wan’t a dive, but was very minimalist with run of the mills table and chairs and few random signs on the wall. There was a stage area to the right and a small dance floor in front of it, but rarely ever saw anyone dancing. There were larger restrooms on the restaurant side, and I believe there were only 3 stalls and the space seemed to smell musty although it was clean.
Although there are a lot more options now to eat downtown at lunch, there weren’t so many back then and this place, located at 412 East Washington Blvd. was within walking distance if you worked downtown (because if you drove you could lose your parking space), but it was of the few places you could drive if the weather was bad as they had ample parking to the left and back of the building, unlike most other places downtown.
On the left side of the place was a menu board that always had a few letters missing (below is a picture I found online). On Saturday nights they usually had karaoke. Sometimes Donna and I would sing, but we could never get Beth too. One time I sang “Play That Funky Music White Boy” song from the 70’s and the younger crowd looked at me as if I had crash landed from outer space and I don’t think it was my butchered rendition of it as they felt the “white boy” was inappropriate. It was one of the top songs of 1976 people, look it up.
Probably the most memorable time is for something odd. I met someone for lunch met someone for lunch downtown and it was after Huntington was in one of the national tabloids after a man was arrested for practicing medicine without a license for videotaping himself cutting the gonads off of men and kept them in jars and the local news had a segment on it. I noticed every man in the place crossed their legs while watching as if to protect their own family jewels, which would be the appropriate response. Everyone also seem to have lost their appetite too as we all were requesting our checks. For a long time after that happening, I didn’t even tell people I went to High School in Huntington; I would only say I from a small town that was off of I-69 at the exit with the giant chicken on the northeast side of the interstate.
The 412 was a place with no cover on a weekend and only a one drink minimum; if you got iced tea you got free refills (which I did more than one) so a night out with friends could cost you as little at $2.25 + tax tip.