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The Northerner

Local Tavern Caters to Students

Matt Schlagheck

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Billie’s Skyline Tavern and Restaurant has been a popular meeting place for Northern Kentucky University students since 1968.
Cliff Guddorf built the house in 1939 as a modest home for his family. Shortly after, he added a bar and began serving drinks and food.
According to Dave Sandhaus, Guddorf’s grandson, the pub has an appropriate name because the front porch allows people to see the Cincinnati skyline.
“I can remember sitting on the front porch, grandpa with a beer and me with a soda, and we’d just sit and talk while viewing the skyline,” Dave said.
Dave was 5 years old, in 1953, when he started helping his grandfather. His main jobs were to keep the beer and food refrigerated and to mow the lawn.
Johnny and “Whitey” Studer were two neighbors of the pub.

“I’ve been coming to this bar for many years,” Johnny said. “The heart of the college was my dad’s farm, so we got to know Cliff well. He was really something.”
Guddorf passed away in 1968, and the pub went to his daughter Billie Sandhaus. The bar’s official name changed from Skyline Tavern to Billie’s Skyline Tavern..
Billie kept the neighborhood crowd coming back by continuing her father’s offerings of traditional down-home comfort food and cold beer. But Billie brought her own touch to the pub with entertainment and a great atmosphere, according to Dave.

Tom Kleinshmedt, current general manager to the pub, said the diversity of its patrons was what attracted him as a student, and diversity makes it what it is today.
Johnny said he believes that the students and the university have only helped the bar flourish.
Billie ran the pub for 38 years until she passed away on Aug. 1, 2006, leaving the ownership to Dave.
“Mom was a very special person,” Dave said. “She was the one who really established the tavern as a prominent and popular fixture and [made it] what it is today.”

Billie’s Skyline Tavern and Restaurant has come under recent threat. Kentucky Department of Highways’ construction plan to create a roundabout where the pub now lies has caused some concern to Billie’s.

According to a press release from the Kentucky Department of Highways, the project has come to an agreement with local businesses to prohibit construction from obstructing business and from asking them to relocate.
“The project … includes rerouting University Drive on the NKU campus to intersect with Johns Hill Road. The intersection will be a roundabout design,” said Nancy Wood, public information officer for the Kentucky Department of Highways.
The agreement cost the pub its backyard and some parking spaces, but Dave will still be able to keep the doors open.
“Students and the neighborhood will still be coming for years to come,” Dave said.

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
Local Tavern Caters to Students