Built in 1897 but first put to use in 1909, the bar was originally part of a three-building, three-story complex that existed as a hotel on upper floors and as storefronts on the ground floor. The buildings then went through various iterations and owners; there was a hat shop, then a curios shop. Then in the 1940’s, where La Cita stands today at 336 S. Hill Street it was the New Palace Cafe. It later became the Brass Rail Bar when it was bought by Al Daswick in the early 1960’s.
When Daswick bought it, the Brass Rail was a working class bar that catered to the patrons and workers of Grand Central Market, many of them Latinxs. Latinx immigrants had made the area a center of commerce and entertainment, often shopping at Grand Central Market next door and attending Spanish-language film screenings at the Million Dollar Theater.