RARA-AVIS: Freddie's Bar & Lounge

From: Duane Spurlock ( duane1spur@yahoo.com)
Date: 26 Feb 2004

Here's a short article from the local paper (The Louisville Courier-Journal) about an old-fashioned bar that fits the hard-boiled environment. I've been there, I know.

<< Freddie's Bar & Lounge 42 years and counting

Address: 220 W. Broadway.

Small print: 10:30-4 a.m., Mon.-Sat.; 1 p.m.-4 a.m. Sun. Cash only.

Why you should go: You've seen this kind of bar before in hundreds of old movies, or read about one in the writings of Hammett, Chandler and Spillane - dark, even when the sun is blazing; always open and stocked with regulars; quiet.

Freddie's is bar noir, a throwback to the days when bars were meant for drinking and talking, maybe a little TV. You half expect a Liston-Patterson fight to be playing when you walk in, and it's true that Jimmy Ellis, Muhammad Ali, Ezra Charles and Greg Page have all passed through Freddie's door.

Just don't go looking for bells and whistles, except for a killer collection of whiskey decanters.

"It's quiet in here because that's the way I keep it," owner Freddie Scarlott, 83, said just before he left for a round of golf. "It's not an accident. I don't take any bull."

Freddie's turns 42 this year, a fact announced on a banner above the door that was hung by beer salesmen even though Freddie didn't much want them to. There won't be a party for a clientele that includes the wealthy, retirees, airline gypsies, hipsters and Actors Theatre of Louisville regulars.

"Hell, no, there won't be a party," Freddie said.
"It's seven days a week here, strictly business."

>From concrete to cocktails: A Louisville native,
Freddie once thought he might be a boxer; he fought Golden Gloves and was on the Navy team. He got wise and started pouring concrete for a living, but the work dried up every winter. He saved up for Freddie's, which became the first of 10 joints he's owned, including one in Florida.

"Most were within walking distance of here," he said.
"That was back when go-go bars were big."

He gradually sold off everything but Freddie's, which began life as a church. He has made few changes in 42 years, including bartender Jimmy Watkins, who has been there 27 of them. "It's a neighborhood bar in a high-rent district," Freddie said. "If you've got something good, don't change it."

Bottom line: They literally do not make them like this anymore, and that goes for Freddie's and Freddie.

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 26 Feb 2004 EST