New downtown bar to be named in honor of famous Lexington madam

bfortune@herald-leader.comJuly 6, 2013 

Lexington's famous madam Belle Brezing, proprietress of the most orderly of disorderly houses, is getting a chic downtown bar named in her honor.

Belle's Place, 156 Market Street, is expected to open in late fall.

"You always want to connect to a local, colorful figure; it adds to the cachet. With Belle, the possibilities are limitless," said Larry Redmon, a familiar face in the downtown bar scene and one of the masterminds behind Belle's Place.

Redmon opened Redmon's on West Main in 2000, and he was the headliner musician for several years. His next venture, in 2007, was Bluegrass Tavern on Cheapside, which advertises having "more Kentucky bourbons than anyone. Period." The bar stocks 267 Kentucky bourbons, Redmon said.

Redmon's partners in Belle's Place are Bob Eidson, Seth Thompson and his brother Justin, a trio of 30-year-olds who call themselves the Bourbon Boys. In 2008, the three began publishing a magazine, The Bourbon Review, "a guide to the bourbon lifestyle."

The concept for Belle's Place is "an updated Southern lounge," Justin Thompson said. The house specialty will be handcrafted cocktails using fresh and seasonal ingredients. The drinks will be named for famous horses, places and events.

"We are really going to push our cocktails. We want to be known as the cocktail bar in Lexington," he said.

Eidson and the Thompsons are frequently on the road, going to food and spirit trade shows, always on the lookout for emerging trends to write about in their magazine, Thompson said.

"Evoking a Southern lifestyle with Southern cuisine or the bourbon culture or equine culture is very hot right now in places like New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Miami," he said. Maysville, a new whiskey bar and restaurant in New York City, is named for the Kentucky port town on the Ohio River.

"But you have to come to the homeland to get that genuine experience," he said.

Operating their own bar is fulfilling a dream for the Bourbon Boys, Thompson said. He said the group "had serious discussions the last year and a half on a project like this."

With years of experience in the bar business and as a musician, "Larry is the trustworthy hand on the helm in this project," Thompson said.

Redmon, an amateur historian with a sizable collection of books about the history of Lexington and the Bluegrass, said, "We tossed around ideas for a name or theme connected to Lexington culture and history like John Hunt Morgan."

The possibility of a bar with a Belle Brezing theme was irresistible.

The partners are collecting Belle Brezing memorabilia. "This is not going to be a Belle Brezing museum. It's more an interpretation of what Belle might do today," Redmon said.

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