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Tin Roof, its music rockin’, will open in former Brendan’s in St. Matthews by the end of the month

by Steve Kaufman

A new eat-and-drinkery is emerging from the ashes on Shelbyville Road in St. Matthews.

It’s all dust and rubble right now – the rubble from the old Brendan’s Pub, which closed suddenly (it seemed sudden, anyway) last August.

By the end of the month, the space will become a new Tin Roof, the latest in a growing chain of pubs with a music theme based in (appropriately) Nashville.

Louisville will become the ninth city in the chain.

UK students, alums and others may already be familiar with the Lexington campus location on South Limestone Street. In fact, the chain tends towards college towns – it’s in Knoxville, Tenn., and Columbia, S.C., as well as in Nashville, Indianapolis and Birmingham. Cincinnati is also on The Roof’s docket.

(“The Roof” is what the hippest of hipster regulars call it.)

The chain is a self-described “Live Music Joint, where there’s no bitchin’ or whinin’ – just a laid-back atmosphere where you can kick back and have a good time.”

The operation began in Atlanta’s lively Buckhead neighborhood in 1996, but the music really started playing when The Roof relocated to Demonbreun Street on Nashville’s music row in 2002.

In fact, The Roof’s web site says Lexington became a sine qua non for expansion after Kentucky football made back-to-back appearances in 2006 and 2007 at Nashville’s Music City Bowl and the Lexington hordes fell in love. It was apparently requited love, too.

According to the web site, “the Music City Bowl brought thousands of UK fans to Nashville and the Tin Roof. We liked them so much that we had to follow them back home!”

Workers were hammering and sawing the other day, but there’s really not much in place yet. The old exposed red brick walls are vestiges of Brendan’s and a bar has been erected against one of those wall. Otherwise, it’s clearly a work in progress. But “progress” seems to be the operative word. One of the workers insisted to Insider Louisville, over the noise, that they’re right on schedule.

Not sure what happened to Brendan’s, which had opened there in 2006 and seemed to be doing a comfortable business in what has become a growing little pub row in staid old St. Matthews. The hot new Drake’s and 60 West sit shoulder-to-shoulder a half-block away.

Bluegrass Brewing Co. is across the parking lot, Saints and Molly Malone’s across the street, the refurbished Gerstel’s Pub a couple of blocks away, on the other side of the Shelbyville Road-Breckenridge Lane intersection. (This being Louisville, of course, there need to be footnotes, asterisks and annotations to remind people that that intersection is where Shelbyville Road becomes Frankfort Avenue and Breckenridge Lane turns into Chenoweth Lane.)

At the time of the closing, Brendan’s owner Tommy O’Shea told Insider Louisville’s Steve Coomes that “an out of town group approached [us] about buying the business, and we met with staff and decided this would be in the best interest.”

O’Shea also said, in an email to Coomes, that “We will give greater focus to our existing restaurants.” Those are O’Shea’s and Flanagan’s on Baxter Avenue in The Highlands and Patrick O’Shea’s on Whiskey Row.

Like all of O’Shea’s ventures, Brendan’s was known for its good beer and its good works. (Each of O’Shea’s locations has regular fund-raising nights for important local causes.)

But the Tin Roof promises to bring on the tunes and turn up the volume.

Here’s the menu from Nashville.

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