Nix the Castle Idea


We are still actively looking for a building for Lost Art Press that will serve as a woodworking laboratory, a home for a burgeoning library, photo studio and a place to live.

I’m investigating properties in the Covington and Newport areas every month, but I am picky and am in no hurry. This will be the place where I hope to die while standing at my bench, so I want a lot of natural northern light for that event. Hardwood floors. Exposed brick.

But in the back of my mind I’ve always wondered about taking over the Gatehouse Tavern, a long-closed medieval-themed restaurant and bar that was built during the medieval restaurant craze of the 1970s.


The Gatehouse Tavern is on one of my running routes and is part of a massive complex of faux half-timbered restaurants, a hotel, convention center, salon, offices and swimming pools in Fort Mitchell, Ky. The hotel was called The Drawbridge, and it was one of the odd centers of community in our town. Elvis look-alike convention? They’d book the Drawbridge. Mannequin convention? Cross-stitching dominatrixes? Yup. All here.


In recent years, the Drawbridge had fallen on hard times and was closed sometime last year. They sold all the suits of armor, tapestries, wooden indians and wacky shields during a fire sale this fall.

The Gatehouse Tavern (or as I call it, Castle Brown) is on the edge of the campus. It has a moat – a fricking moat – plus giant doors. And some tiny towers from which we could defend the deep fryers. I always wondered what they would sell this derelict masterpiece for.

Now I’ll never know. They’ve chained off the entire campus to tear it down and redevelop it as something more modern.

Oh well. Dumb idea anyway.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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22 Responses to Nix the Castle Idea

  1. Mark A says:

    Dumb idea? But it had a moat! Nothing with a moat is a dumb idea.

  2. Thomas Scott says:

    Hey Chris,
    My shop is an old burlesque theater on the road out of the “wrong” side of town, and I’m very happy with it. You never know what you’ll find, just keep looking.

  3. Castle Schwarz… Kind of has a nice ring to it.

  4. mtnjak says:

    What? I was so looking forward to a medievel workbench book. Now how will you be inspired?

  5. yazoonian says:

    The guy who dreams up “Cross-stitching dominatrixes” needs no inspiration.

    • So typical, you think everything in the world was dreamed up by a man. Those of us in the profession use the proper “dominatrices” btw.

      I’m sure Chris ran across the subject in the SanDMutopian Guardian. It was in the issue either before or after A SPANKING BENCH TO BUILD by Richard
      Instructions, Diagrams & Materials List to Build the Bench of Your Dreams

      The man is nothing if not thorough in his research.

  6. jonathanszczepanski says:

    More like best idea EVER!!! Oh well. Time to lay siege to another property. To the battering ram!

  7. englishmaninseattle says:

    Put it to your wife that she would be Queen, and your daughter Princess of the castle, and you’d have no argument. Imagine setting up the drawbridge to work on a remote control from your car!

  8. Mark says:

    A pity. What fun it would be to taunt visitors from the battlements in an outrageous French accent, perhaps with a powdered wig, telling them their mother was a bench dog, and their glue pots smelt of elderberries. Think of the street cred you’d have on your European teaching gigs.

  9. Yeah I would have to say it’s been done… wood working in a castle Paul Sellers started that. 😉 But it would have been damn cool.

  10. Gene ORourke says:

    You never would have been happy that close to the highway anyway.

    And no, I’m not related to the folks who are about to tear it down, but every once in a while, I think it might be a cool job….

    Gene O’Rourke
    Cincinnati OH

  11. Pat Mcnulty says:

    Look in southern WV/ or southwest Va. plenty of hardwood, cheap property, low taxes, decent insurance rates close to northern N C, old Salem and Roy Underhill, decent highways in and out, now at least excellent internet connections. Milder winters than you are use too and summers that very seldom reach 90 degrees, and we need the jobs. P.

  12. Kevin Thomas says:


  13. abtuser says:

    Sounds like a convenient excuse to:

    1) build a trebuchet and extort (encourage) the neighborhood to ‘see things your way’.

    2) tie a goat to a stake and lure a dragon to town. See 1) above.

  14. Daniel says:

    How can you pass on having your own castle??!

  15. tpier says:

    First you leave the narwhal off the cover. Then you pass on a place with a moat. You guys are going corporate.

  16. bloksav says:

    Why is it that the fabled brewery with the flooded basement and the uncharted subterranean tunnels and old printing presses don’t get a chance.


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