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A.B. and W. Club menu and printing plate

 Collection — Box: 1, Folder: 1-2
Identifier: MS-0866

Content Description

The A.B. and W. Club menu and printing plate collection, approximately 1928, contains one printed menu and one printing block for the A.B. and W. (Owl) Club.

The menu was printed by George E. Traub Printer and consists of a folded paper cut into the shape of an owl, with two printed inserts of the daily specials. The folded menu lists the names and prices of food dishes as well as beers, cocktails, wines, liquors and soft drinks. Some of the prices have hand-written changes in pen and pencil.

The printing block consists of an owl-shaped metal plate attached to a wood block. The metal plate has the phrase “A.B. AND W. Club (The Owl)” carved into it. Glued to the back of the wood block is a newspaper clipping featuring a comic strip.


  • Creation: approximately 1928

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Contact Special Collections for more information. This collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical / Historical

In 1913, Frank “Booze” Beyer partnered with Marvin Allen and Carl Withington to form the ABW Syndicate and establish saloons and brothels in Bakersfield, California as well as Mexicali and Tijuana, Mexico. Some of these establishments included the Tivoli Bar, the Foreign Club, and the Monte Carlo casino.

The A.B. and W. Club was first opened as the Owl Café and Theatre (The Owl) in Mexicali in 1913. The Owl was operated as a bar, casino, and brothel. In 1916, it moved from its original location at Ave. Porfirio Díaz to Mexicali’s Chinatown district where it featured vaudeville acts, silent movies, and jazz performances. The location also claimed to have the “longest bar in the world.” The Owl burned down in 1920 and was rebuilt before burning down a second time in 1922. After being rebuilt a second time, the club was renamed to the A.B. and W. Club in 1924.


Crawford, Richard W. San Diego Yesterday. Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2013.

Schantz, Eric Michael. "All Night at the Owl: The Social and Political Relations of Mexicali's Red-Light District, 1913-1925." Journal of the Southwest 43, no. 4 (2001): 549-602

Taylor, Lawrence D. “The Wild Frontier Moves South.” Journal of Sandiego History 48, no. 3 (2002).


0.19 Cubic Feet (1 letter half size document box)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of one menu and one printing plate from aproximately 1928 related to the A.B. and W. Club brothel, bar, and casino in Mexicali, Mexico.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The menu was purchased from Burnside Rare Books in December 2018 with funds from the Class of 1990-NEH. The printing plate was a gift of Amy Kimball in 2020, purchased via eBay.

Physical Description

The menu measures 13 x 23 cm. The printing plate measures 13 x 24 x 2 cm.

Processing Information

Processed by Julia Deros in June 2021


Guide to the A.B. and W. Club menu and printing plate
Julia Deros
2021 June
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA