What’s a “Drinking Resort?”

Eintracht ad

Ad from 1901 San Diego City Directory

It was a saloon. But its owner, Peter Becker, sometimes referred to it as a “resort,” or “drinking resort,” in newspaper ads. It turns out, in looking at newspapers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, that the word “resort” would sometimes be used for saloons and restaurants, perhaps to convey the image of a place where patrons could relax, drink and eat in peace and comfort.

That certainly appears to have been Becker’s marketing strategy. Becker was a German immigrant who came to San Diego in the late 1880s. The word “eintracht” in German means “peace, harmony, or unity.”

An early ad for the place, in the San Diego Evening Tribune on February 20, 1896, , was pretty basic: “Fine Wines, Liquors and Segars. Hot Lunch forenoon. Steam and lager beer on draught. Mixed drinks a specialty.” That was it.

But the ads ran daily, and soon became bigger. A typical one in the Evening Tribune of June 9, 1897 proclaimed:

“PRIMA BEER

Always cool and fresh and just the right temperature for drinking can always be found at the EINTRACHT,

959 Fifth Street, Two doors from the corner of D.

Headquarters for the San Diego Prima bottled and keg beer.

PETER BECKER, Proprietor.”

The business must have justified his ad budget, because in July of 1898, he announced in the San Diego Union that he was moving “the well-known and popular ‘EINTRACHT’ saloon” to “more spacious and convenient rooms…at 1327 D, between Fourth and Fifth Streets.”

Becker could be clever and topically opportunistic in his ads as well. An ad from the fall of 1898 in the Evening Tribune appears from the headline to be an election notice. “NOTICE OF PRIMARIES,” it says in bold caps, “For the election of delegates to the various conventions to nominate CANDIDATES for COUNTY OFFICES will be announced soon. In the meantime all CANDIDATES irrespective of party will be enabled to better keep their proper temperature by cooling off with PRIMA BEER at the ‘Eintracht’……”

Sometimes the ads got smaller again, but they were still clever. Like this one from April 1903:

The Mississippi Rising

So is the quality of liquors at Peter Becker’s Eintracht, D near Fifth Street.”

Becker ran the Eintracht through 1912, then moved on to run other establishments. It obviously paid to advertise.

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