• Feature

Cincinnati’s Rock ‘n Roll Laundromat: Sudsy Malone’s

Going to the Laundromat sucks.

I can’t imagine too many worse ways to spend an evening than having to wait for my clothes to clean in a dank, humid room with bad lighting, unsavory characters and usually located in a seedy part of town.

Now imagine this image of fresh hell in the pre internet days. Forget staring at your phone for some sort of escapism entertainment. If you were lucky, there may have been a television (likely with no reception) that you could have watched in your Laundromat as you waited for your delicates to dry. Or maybe this time you remembered to bring a book or magazine. 

It’s enough to drive you to drink. 

Sudsy Malone’s opened their doors in July of ‘86. Located at 2626 Vine Street (across from Bogart’s) The place was originally intended to be a Laundromat that served drinks and snacks. Already an incredible and novel idea at the time, things were about to get even cooler when after a few short months of opening, the owners were approached with the idea of booking live music in their dining area. 

And with that, a legend was born.

Cracking open a cold one and jamming out to live music at a Laundromat was an incredible experience for the patrons of Sudsy Malones. It wasn’t too long until word of Cincinnati’s Rock ‘n Roll Laundromat began to spread. Bands from across the nation began booking gigs at this Short Vine venue. The Smashing Pumpkins, Beck, L7 and several other alternative acts stopped to play some incredible gigs. Deicide, Macabre and many other extreme metal groups were amongst the mounting number of bands to perform in this unique location. Bands were often there even if they weren’t performing that night. After a gig across the street, many would come to Sudsy’s to have a drink before last call or wash up some clothes before heading to their next gig.

I have a number of fond memories attending concerts at Sudsys. They had vending machines that sold detergent, fabric softener and ear plugs. The men’s bathroom was a legend in its own right. It was filthy and disgusting and rumored to have been hosed down at the end of the night. The place was smaller than Bogart’s and you were able to get up even closer to the band for a much more intimate performance. I witnessed Macabre and The Electric Hellfire Club on many occasions rocking out in front of the stage or chilling out in the back sitting on top of a Maytag washer sharing a pitcher of beer with close (or soon to be close) friends.

Sadly Sudsy Malone’s closed their doors in 2008. To the many that attended shows there it was an incredible place to be. I still talk to bands to this day who remember Sudsy’s with a warm fondness. It was a truly a Queen City gem.