The Pearl is located at 1151 Goss Ave. | Photo by Sara Havens
The Pearl is located at 1151 Goss Ave. | Photo by Sara Havens

The Pearl opened its doors to curious neighbors, industry cohorts and anyone else who happened to be strolling by the corner of Goss and Texas avenues in Germantown on Sunday afternoon.

The dive bar is the latest concept from Silver Dollar and El Camino co-owner Larry Rice, who was busy Sunday behind the bar, finishing up last-minute touches and keeping a watchful eye over his benevolent dog he brought along for the opening.

The Pearl drink list includes $6 old fashioneds. | Photo by Sara Havens
The Pearl drink list includes $6 old fashioneds. | Photo by Sara Havens

Situated in the former spot of Pauly’s Schnitzelburg Pub at 1151 Goss Ave., The Pearl is an unassuming little bar that harks back to the days of corner pubs acting as neighborhood meeting spots. The main bar stretches along the right wall of the shotgun-style space and is lined with comfortable bar stools.

A handful of more private tables and booths are arranged throughout the rest of the room, which leads back to the restrooms and a quaint patio.

The decor is sparse but gives the space a retro feel. Old beer signs, movie posters and random decorations are few and far between, and a free jukebox plays music that ranges from Motown to classic country. Gone, thankfully, are the overhead florescent lights of Pauly’s, and now three sleek-looking fans and lights hang above.

Susie Hoyt, a partner in The Pearl and a familiar face from both Silver Dollar and El Camino, was behind the bar as well and kept up with the steady pace of customers throughout the late afternoon. While concocting an old fashioned, she informed us the bar will be open seven days a week from 4 p.m.-4 a.m. — which is great news for those in the restaurant industry who are looking for a quiet place to wind down their day.

The drink wheel | Photo by Sara Havens
The drink wheel | Photo by Sara Havens

There isn’t a sign out front yet or even a Facebook page or website, but it’s almost as if Rice intends it this way. In fact, he chuckled when a couple of customers tried to tag themselves at The Pearl but couldn’t. “You can probably still check in at Pauly’s,” he offered.

The drink menu and beer list are pretty simple and surprisingly cheap. Ten taps offer an array of styles, from Miller High Life ($3) to Guinness ($5) to the Rhinegeist Cherry Saison ($6). More than two dozen bottles and cans are available as well — from Tecate ($4) to Anchor Steam ($6) — and I was happy to find my guilty pleasure Bud Light can for $3 as well.

Many people were ordering the tequila/lime shandy, which appeared to be a can of PBR dipped in salt with a shot of tequila and lime added to the beer ($5). And while The Pearl is stocked with a full bar, only a few house cocktails were listed on a menu board behind the bar, and were again reasonably priced. An old fashioned, manhattan, gold rush and gimlet can all be had for $6, while sangria is $5 and a frozen drink from a slushie machine is $6.

The free jukebox in a humble space | Photo by Sara Havens
The free jukebox in a humble space | Photo by Sara Havens

The Pearl offers a few items to snack on — pickled eggs ($4), pickled cauliflower ($4), house-made beef jerky ($5) and a ham sandwich ($7), to name a few — and sometimes, like on Sunday, they’ll fire up the grill on the patio and cook hot dogs.

One last thing to mention is the awesome drink wheel that customers can spin on special occasions. Included on the wheel are deals like “Dolla Dolla Beer Y’all” (any beer for $1), a $5 pour of 1792 bourbon, $2 Fireball shots and even a $4 “Bartender’s Choice.”

Hoyt says if a customer spins, they have to purchase whatever it lands on — but, of course, they can give it away if they don’t like the drink/liquor.

The Pearl joins the newly opened Germantown Craft House, as well as Four Pegs, The Post and Eiderdown along that stretch of Goss. And if the steady success of the nearby Highlands is any indication, the more the merrier. If you build it, they will come.

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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."