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The Rudyard Kipling in Old Louisville

The Rudyard Kipling website, for many years, has had a “Buy a Landmark” button in its main navigation. Finally, Old Louisville’s time-tested destination for food, music and theater has found a buyer.

William and Amy Enix, of Mellwood Café & Catering and That Place on Goss, are the prospective buyers; current owner Ken Pyle said the sale will be closed on Jan. 2.

“The Rud,” as it is known to those who’ve performed there or have frequented the cozy pub at 422 W. Oak St., will not undergo any extensive changes, Pyle said. He said the prospective owners plan to maintain it as a venue, while adding some touches to bring in more people.

The Enixes were unavailable today for comment.

“We’re thrilled,” Pyle said, speaking for he and his wife Sheila, who is co-owner. “We think it’s going to be a great handoff.”

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Sheila and Ken Pyle, longtime owners of The Rudyard Kipling

The Rud opened in its current building in 1984 and is a favorite venue of local musicians for its intimate layout, brick walls and generally good vibe.

Acts ranging from Ralph Stanley to Wynton Marsalis to My Morning Jacket have performed, along with countless garage bands who just wanted a place to be heard and theater troupes who just wanted a place to perform. The Rud was that place for many Louisville bands and groups, which is a big reason it is so revered by the music community, even though turnouts on any given night can be unpredictable.

The arrangement stood that the band or play would perform for the admissions collected at the door, while the Rud would serve food such as its signature burger, pizza and burgoo, and sell drinks. As long as people showed up, it was a win-win.

The sale is being handled by Jan Scholtz Realtors, at least according to real estate posts. The price was listed at $375,000, although Pyle declined to reveal an actual selling price. It has long been known to be for sale, and there have been rumored nibbles over the years, but no one has ever closed the deal.

Asked how long he and his wife have been trying to sell the Rud, Pyle laughed and said, “Since we got it.”

Pyle said one new aspect he believes the Enixes will bring to the Rud is a Sunday brunch buffet like the one currently offered at That Place on Goss, which has become well known for its $2 mimosas. During the week, the café features breakfast and lunch with sandwiches, wraps, soups, salads and daily specials.

“It’s going to be a nice addition to neighborhood for sure,” Pyle said.

The structure that houses The Rudyard Kipling was built in the 1830s and originally was a private residence; it remained so until the 1940s, when the front section of the building that now serves as the storefront facing Oak was added. The structure housed several businesses, from Crosstown Café to a seedy show club called Post Time II, before the Pyles bought it and renovated it in the 1980s.

Rudyard exteriorThe Rud’s unique bi-level layout is one of its many charms, with a bar/restaurant “gazebo” in the lower level, and a performance room in the upper level in what used to be living space, including the room’s signature fireplace.  That room is known as the “parlor.”

Over the years, several benefits have been staged at the Rud to help keep it open. The Pyles would seem close to shutting its doors for good time after time, and the local music community would come to the rescue every time.

If all goes as planned, the Enixes may provide the Rud with one final rescue.

Kevin Gibson covers everything from food to music to beer to bourbon. He loves bacon, loathes cucumbers and once interviewed Yoko Ono (pissed her off a little, too). Check out his books, “Louisville Beer: Derby City History on Draft” and “100 Things to do in Louisville Before You Die.” He has won numerous awards for his work but doesn’t know where most of them are now. In his spare time, he co-hosts a local radio show and plays in a band called the Uncommon Houseflies. Check out his blog, 502Brews.com, or feel free to call him names on Twitter: @kgramone.


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