Hotel, Livery To Become Gin And Tonic

Hotel, Livery To Become Gin And Tonic

THE ROBERT E. LEE HOTEL, which dates from 1926, will soon be renamed The Gin, according to its owners, Ugo and Francesco Benincasa. (Darryl Woodson photo)

Adjusting to the times, the Robert E. Lee Hotel and the Sheridan Livery Inn will be changing their names.

The Robert E. Lee Hotel will be renamed The Gin, while the Sheridan Livery Inn will be renamed The Tonic so that together they will be “The Gin and Tonic.” Ugo Benincasa owns the majority of the Robert E. Lee Hotel, with his son, Francesco, owning a share. Ugo, who splits ownership of the Sheridan Livery with Francesco, said the name changes are planned for next month.

Ugo Benincasa said they had been planning to change the name of the Robert E. Lee Hotel since they took over the business about five years ago, following its restoration. The hotel first opened in 1926.

“It’s not political,” he said. “We want to rebrand both hotels.”

Benincasa added that the name of Rocca Bar Ristorante, located on the second floor of the Robert E. Lee Hotel, will also be changed, but they haven’t decided what the new name will be. He said they will find out soon what the reaction will be to the changes.

Francesco Benincasa said the name change of the Robert E. Lee Hotel to The Gin should make it more hospitable. “It’ll be nice to be less associated with slavery and the Confederacy,” he said. He owns Pronto Caffé and Gelateria, which is right next to the hotel.

The Sheridan Livery Inn was originally opened in 1887 as Irish immigrant John Sheridan’s stable and carriage service. Ugo Benincasa and his wife, Gina, purchased the building in 1994 and opened the restaurant there, and Francesco and his wife, Meridith, joined the business in 2007. The inn has already set up a website featuring its new name,