The former Odeon bar in Butchertown is under new ownership and has a new name: The Whirling Tiger, courtesy of the minds behind Against the Grain.
The brewery owners recently took over Another Place Sandwich Shop and Jimmy Can’t Dance as the businesses struggled during the events of 2020, and now it’s doing the same for Odeon, which AtG is keeping as a bar and event venue, according to co-owner Sam Cruz. He acknowledged that there’s a trend behind Against the Grain absorbing and transforming closing Louisville businesses.
“To say that we love Louisville is an understatement,” said Cruz. “It’s a wonderful city to live play, work, build a business in and be a part of the community. So, when we have an opportunity to either save a space or resurrect a space or ultimately bring value and lift the lives of a neighborhood up with the things that we provide, we’re gonna take it.”
In 2019, Against the Grain replaced Cumberland Brewery, open since 2000 in The Highlands, with a bar called Public House.
The Whirling Tiger, named after a tornado that decimated central Louisville but kept the Story Avenue building intact, will be sound proofed and home to music and comedy when it opens, potentially by Halloween.
AtG plans to keep the bar full-service with a curated cocktail list but “nothing crazy,” said Cruz.
“I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do is stand at a bar for 20 minutes and wait for somebody to shake and twirl and do all kinds of crazy stuff before I get a cocktail,” said Cruz. “We want stuff to move fast.”
Against the Grain beers will be on tap, too, of course. But no food will be served.
AtG also purchased Odeon’s furnishings, which Cruz and his partners will be keeping most of.
That was one of the things that attracted Cruz to the space.
“The previous owner had curated kind of a vibe and aesthetic in there that is super appealing,” he said. “It’s mid-century modern. It’s really loungy and laid back and kind of unlike the other things that we have, but we still felt that it fit our kind of ethos and our brand.”
When it opened in 2018, the Courier Journal heralded Odeon as “the coolest concert venue and bar in Louisville.”
AtG does plan to invest heavily into the venue part of the building. Odeon sparred with its neighbors over sound from its shows, so AtG is redesigning the room to make it more soundproof, as well as to accommodate for a “loungier” setup for intimate shows.
Cruz and his partners are also buying more music equipment, as well as a curtain for the stage.
“I’m sure there will be a complaint; I’m sure,” he said. “But, I’m also sure that there will be far fewer complaints. It’s just kind of kind of the nature of the business. We’re putting every effort that we can into making sure that that doesn’t happen.”
The Whirling Tiger will differ from the Flamingo Lounge (AtG’s music venue that replaced Jimmy Can’t Dance) in that it will be bigger and able to attract more well-known acts, said Cruz.
The Flamingo Lounge is “taking off,” said Cruz, and AtG is opening its Another Place Sandwich Shop replacement above the music venue soon, possibly at the beginning of October.
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