phoenixhilltarvern
The Phoenix Hill Tavern opened in 1976.

The message was posted this morning on the Phoenix Hill Tavern‘s website: Two of Louisville’s longest-running nightclubs closed overnight. Retired owner and founder Ben Rogers broke the news that he’s pulling the plug on Phoenix Hill Tavern and Jim Porter’s Good Time Emporium effective immediately.

“Please accept my VERY sincere apologies for the abrupt manner in which the clubs closed,” Rogers wrote. “And to anyone the closings will effect [sic] in a negative manner. (Especially staff members and entertainers.) … So … this is my heartfelt goodbye … It has been my great honor and privilege to serve literally generations of Louisvillians for the past approximately 40 years.”

The post explains that Jim Porter’s, which was recently purchased by MSD, was already scheduled to close, but not this soon. And the Phoenix Hill building on Baxter Avenue is under contract “with a first-class real estate developer who I’ve personally researched and selected,” Rogers said. “The developer is proposing to work closely with the city to deliver a best of class development that will be very positive for the community.”

Jim Porter's | Courtesy PVA
Jim Porter’s | Courtesy PVA

Rogers opened Phoenix Hill Tavern in 1976, and ever since it has been a mainstay for local musicians and touring bands. The nightclub hosted a popular college night on Wednesdays, and its Parrothead-themed outdoor patio was one of the largest in the city. Jim Porter’s opened in 1990.

“In my very biased opinion, I believe these were the two most successful nightclubs in the history of our city,” Rogers said in the post. “It wasn’t because of me; it was because of the people who worked for me. The clubs were certainly two of the most enduring. I do know that they were deeply enjoyed and loved by many — especially me.”

Rogers’ only explanation for closing the businesses was that his time had come after being in the bar business for 40 years. He also mentioned some increasing health-related issues, but did not go into detail.

Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."