Upon returning to Kentucky after 25 years in Atlanta, Robyn Bellamy said she looked around downtown and didn’t see many options for live music and late night drinks throughout the week.
“Where can you get a drink?” Bellamy said. The question led her to start developing her own concept, Robyn’s Nest Bourbon Bistro, a bar with live music and a small menu of appetizers that she hopes to open at 611 W. Main St. this fall (pending obtaining an ABC permit).
Restaurants nearby, the Bristol Bar & Grille and Mussel & Burger Bar, close at 10 p.m. on the weekends and earlier during the week, leaving only 21c Museum Hotel’s Proof on Main and jazz club Jimmy Can’t Dance open to serve those seeking a drink within a few block radius of the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. Other downtown bars open late are concentrated mostly near the KFC Yum! Center and Fourth Street Live.
Bellamy’s original idea included a full restaurant-sized menu, but renovation costs to put a full kitchen with a hood system into an old building were prohibitive. “I can’t see putting $70,000 in someone else’s building,” she said.
So, she scaled the menu at Robyn’s Nest Bourbon Bistro down to appetizers. The menu will include dishes like shrimp cocktail with bourbon glaze, smoked Boston butt sliders, bourbon barbecue wings and nachos with bourbon beer cheese.
Bellamy, who grew up on her grandparents’ farm in Russellville, Ky., said she was “raised to cook with bourbon and molasses” and that will be infused in the bar menu.
All appetizers will be $15 or less, she said, adding that a couple could come for happy hour and split a bottle of wine and a cheese tray for under $20.
Each day at Robyn’s Nest Bourbon Bistro will have its own musical theme. Mondays will be blues music, Latin jazz on Tuesday, modern jazz on Wednesdays and so on, Bellamy said. Some of the bar’s drink specials will fit them as well, including specials on Blue Moon on Mondays and tequila drinks on Tuesdays.
Robyn’s Nest Bourbon Bistro also will serve brunch featuring chicken and waffles with bourbon syrup, shrimp and grits and more on Saturdays and Sundays for $17.95 a person, with discounts for children and seniors.
The bar will employ 10 to 15 people, including bartenders and security, Bellamy estimated, and seat about 100 at the bar top and small bistro tables with tablecloths and tea lights.
“It’s quaint,” she said. “It’s just a nice fun place.”
Hours of operation will be from 4 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday; 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday; noon to 2 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday.