In a grand return to Kansas brewing tradition, the River City Brewing Co. opened its doors in March 1993. River City is the first brewpub in Wichita and only the third brewery to open in Kansas in well over half a century. Handcrafted beer, fresh food and a relaxed atmosphere are the cornerstones of the River City operation.
Tradition is important to us here at the Brewery. We chose this location because it reflects our heritage and helps renew our state's brewing tradition. In addition, its cobblestone surroundings and gigantic timber beams create the perfect setting for what many might consider the quintessential Midwest brewpub. A sense of history helps us keep our feet on the ground and gives us a place in time. For River City we have found our home in a building that has supported the livelihoods of thousands of families since the early part of the century. The three-story building to the south was built by Bennett Paint Company in 1905 for all of $12,000. By 1909, our two-story structure had been added and the company had changed its name to the Hockaday Paint Company.
In ensuing years the building was home for the Lehman-Higginson Grocery Company and tanners James C. Smith Hide Company and the J.R. Johnston Hide Compnany. In fact, the words "Hides", "Furs", and "Pelts" are still faintly distinguishable beneath the second floor windows on our west side. Most recently the building was one of several housing the Southwest Paper Company, a Wichita tradition in its own right, having served our community since 1938.
History does not stop at our building's walls, however. Craftmaster Jimmy Lylton, with the assistance of Kenny Potter and Donnie Washington have built our entryway from leaded glass windows recovered from the old Vickers mansion in Wichita. The wood for the bar came out of the old Salvation Army building on Douglas. They built the wainscot from timbers and flooring saved from the wrecker's ball in the Axtell house of southern Jackson County Kansas. Much of the wood trim and materials for our booths were garnered from soon-to-be demolished homes on Quality Hill in Kansas City. The pews used in our booth seats originally held devoted members of a church in Cheney where we also found the lights overhead. Jimmy claims the bench just inside our door was reclaimed from a Dodge City saloon, but he is not sure which one. (Although the cigarette burns on the arms tend to support his story.)
The menu not only reflects Kansas's heritage with the inclusion of Kansas raised beef but also includes great pastas, seafood, salads, sandwiches and unique pizzas. Time-proven techniques for making everything from stocks and soups to pizza dough are employed by our professional kitchen staff. We also offer Specials made from our craft beers.