Restaurant chain Shakespeare & Co. once had three locations around Lexington. Now it’s down to one, the original spot on Short and Broadway.
The Hamburg location closed last week and workers were swiftly demolishing the interior to make way for a new tenant. A Chinoe Road location closed a couple of years ago.
But it’s part of a shakeup that includes launching two concepts, also at the original downtown location.
Owner Edward Saad said he decided to consolidate downtown. “Lexington has too many restaurants,” he said. So he revamped the main Shakespeare & Co. with updated decor and revamped and streamlined menu featuring lots of vegan options.
Now the ground level bar has been recreated as Script. It’s a play on the location across the street from the Lexington Opera House, which hosts Broadway plays and other live stage productions.
“The whole concept is incorporating theater, Shakespeare, and films,” said manager Tony Pridemore. The details even go down to cocktail menu which looks like a screenplay, stapled in the corner.
Pridemore said they have a media wall so local filmmakers can show their work. “And we hope local theater companies will host their cast parties here.”
The new bar opened last week.
Upstairs, is another surprise: XOXO Nightclub. It opened a month ago.
“We haven’t done any advertising or social media, it’s all been word of mouth,” Pridemore said. “And suddenly on Saturday, the club is full.”
The furniture looks like your grandmother’s parlor, but once the lights go on the sparkles turn on. The men are dressed in pre-Prohibition bowlers and suspenders, while the women are pure punk.
“It shouldn’t work, but it does,” Pridemore said.
Pridemore said the club’s name is really “Hugs and Kisses” but they are thrilled that people have adopted a nickname.
The nightclub is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 7 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.