The George Wiedemann Brewing Company was founded in 1890 and at one time was the largest brewery in the Southeast producing over 100,000 barrels a year. Its headquarters and Brewery were located in the West end of Newport, approximately five blocks west of the restaurant. The George Wiedemann Brewing Company for most of its history was the largest employer and land owner in the city of Newport.
It was common in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s for local brewing companies to finance a saloon in return for its exclusive selling of their brand of products, they called these places a “tied house”. So in 1902 when a local saloon operator was looking for another location, The George Wiedemann Brewing Company was approached about financing this new saloon. In June of 1902 The George Wiedemann Brewing Company made a loan of $6,000 and was the surety for the lease on the building which is now Pompilio’s Restaurant. The lease called for an annual rent of 5% of the value of the building plus improvements, not to exceed $11,000 (building plus improvements, not rent) for ten years, to be paid in monthly installments, and it was renewable for another ten year period. With the loan and lease established the operators configured the bar to look like what one sees today in our bar room and small dining room.
For the opening of the restaurant, Charles Wiedemann, the brewing company’s president, installed a hand carved cherry back bar of 1886 vintage. The bar, although altered for modern electrical and refrigeration purposes, is still in use. The original front bar, also placed by Charles Wiedemann, found itself stored in the basement during Prohibition, supposedly not needed. It died during the early days of the Depression, as wood was needed to fuel a stove in the building. A mahogany front bar stands in its stead, certainly of a lesser quality.