Here’s your insider tip for a Tuesday.

After a friends-and-family event Monday night, the Silver Dollar Tavern is having its final dress rehearsal tonight before an official opening Wednesday.

“It is a soft opening, but we’re not turning anyone away,” said Shawn Cantley, a co-owner, who added the big announcement will be on the Silver Dollar Facebook page tomorrow.

And it’s about time … the Silver Dollar at Frankfort Avenue and Pope Street in Clifton has been in the construction stage since this summer, missing a planned September opening.

The partners in the high-end honky tonk are Cantley, former 732 Social partner Larry Rice and Michael Rubel from the ultra-chic The Violet Hour and funky Big Star, both in Chicago.

Last summer, we interviewed Shine Construction partner Jonathan Bevan, who also is an investor in the 141-year-old former firehouse that houses the Silver Dollar.

At the time, Bevan told us the concept is to build in a lived-in patina so the Silver Dollar looks like it’s been here a long time. He and other Shine crew members were looking after last minute details this morning.

To go along with that patina, the Silver Dollar sound will be classic country, mostly from vinyl, and Silver Dollar DJs will keep artists from The Bakersfield Sound of the 1950s heavily in rotation – Buck Owens/Harlan Howard, Merle Haggard and others. “Michael (Rubel) is a scholar of classic country music,” Cantley said.

Cantley said it’s not easy making a modern, reuse project authentically old.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3T0poYYXVc

The two-story building has been renovated and updated inside and out to give – paradoxically – a “been here forever” ambiance to the saloon.

The Silver Dollar menu. (Click to enlarge.)

“We wanted it to look like that (neon) sign has been hanging on the building since 1950. That grandpa brought grandma here, and they two-stepped to Bob Wills,” Cantley said. “That we just slapped a coat of paint on the bricks. That’s the vibe we’re going for.”

In fact, the “vintage” sign was just built by Austin, Texas-based neon artist Todd Sanders at Roadhouse Relics, and crews completely tuck-pointed and painted the brick exterior to take the building back in time.

With the details down to the final menus worked out, it’s time to celebrate, Cantley said.

“Tonight, we’re going to throw on that beautiful neon sign and serve some whiskey!”

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Terry Boyd
Terry Boyd has seven years experience as a business/finance journalist, and eight years a military reporter with European Stars and Stripes. As a banking and finance reporter at Business First, Boyd dealt directly with the most influential executives and financiers in Louisville.

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