Last Friday marked the opening of The Keswick Club, a bar in the Shelby Park building that previously housed the brick-and-mortar location of Red Top Gourmet Hotdogs. Red Top owners Ryan and Rachel Cohee (who also own The Keswick) closed the hot dog joint last September, opting instead to run their business as a food truck.
Now, The Keswick pays tribute to the space’s history as a social club and punk venue. Even the name, The Keswick Club, is an homage to its past — the management team calls it The Keswick, but they added the word “Club” to honor its previous life as the Keswick Democratic Club (KDC), which closed in 2016.
Operating manager Trisha Torpey hopes to bring monthly punk shows back to The Keswick. According to Louisville Hardcore, an online compendium of Louisville hardcore, punk and indie rock history, more than 60 local and out-of-town bands (including now-big names like Murder by Death, Baroness and Every Time I Die) played at the KDC in its heyday. In fact, Torpey told LEO, she’s hoping to book reunion shows for some of the bands that played there in the early 2000s.
“We know what we want this bar to be. We also know that all of our patrons will decide what kind of bar we are,” she told LEO. “You just get to go with the flow of things and keep everybody happy.”
Beyond the punk shows, The Keswick also offers weekly ping pong tournaments and a jukebox, and it may offer trivia nights in the future, Torpey said.
Although the venue is no longer a restaurant, it hosts a rotation of local food trucks — including Red Top — each day. River City Supper Club will host fried chicken dinners on Saturdays starting Jan. 21, as they did when the KDC was open. Behind the building is what Torpey calls the “boozy van,” an orange van outfitted with taps inside where guests can get drinks in the warmer months.
The Keswick is open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday from 4 p.m. to midnight as well as Saturday from 1 p.m. to midnight.
Check out our photos of the space in the gallery above.
01/12/2023 | Photos by Carolyn Brown • [email protected] • @cebrownphoto