Although it doesn't look like much now, what used to be a drive-through Sportsman's Liquor store at National and Walton avenues is being transformed.
Two Lexington entrepreneurs who played soccer together at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School say that come July, their 2,400-square-foot building will be a neighborhood hangout selling new American fusion food and craft beer.
And the cement block building will be stunning in a modernist, redeveloped way.
The new bar-restaurant, called Locals', will seat about 130 people between its indoor and outdoor seating. It will have a 27-space parking lot that will run in a U-shape on one side of Locals' and around an adjoining business.
Seth Boyd, 37, and Billy Oakley, 36, who are developing the project, once worked together at Cheapside. Their new bar will offer local craft beer, cocktails and seasonal drinks, Oakley said.
Boyd described the food as "new American fusion": American food liberally mixed with international influences.
"Everything's got a little flavor," he said. "Nothing will be bland."
The target price for lunch will be $10 to $11, including drink. It will be a casual, come-as-you-are place.
"No white tablecloth," Boyd said.
Locals' will complement, rather than compete with, the National Provisions bakery, restaurant and beer hall across the street, the men said.
The chef will be Darren Pirozzi, who has worked at the Hilary Boone Faculty Center at the University of Kentucky, Grey Goose and Distilled.
One side of the building will feature three garage doors that can be raised to let in a breeze during the summer, creating what Boyd called "a hangout, chill spot."
Locals' will contribute to the National Avenue renaissance of restaurants, stores and other businesses, Oakley said.
"It's so fresh," he said of the National Avenue neighborhood. "In five years, it's going to be a totally different area. We get to be the face of it."