Bar Belle: The legends of Lakeside

Jul 2, 2014 at 5:00 am
Bar Belle: The legends of Lakeside

After 15 years in Louisville, I think I can finally call myself a resident. It’s not my encyclopedic knowledge of bourbon, horse racing and Ohio Valley allergens. It’s not because I can drink till 4 a.m. and still be at work by 9. It’s not because I’ve mastered the confused Kentucky drawl that borrows from the South but steals from Ohio. It’s not my vast collection of miniature Slugger bats, Derby Festival pins or Falls City pint glasses. Last week, I was granted access to Lakeside for one day. And now, y’all, I am one of you.

I was baptized and branded in the private water that sits just off Lakeside Drive in the Belknap neighborhood of the Highlands. I had heard the legends of the place since I moved here, and I even peeked through the pearly gates a time or two to see just what was going on behind closed doors. I couldn’t see much, nor could I get many people to talk about it. I understood it was a quarry they turned into a private swim club. It’s been around a long time — since 1924, to be exact — and has always been pretty tough to get into, like your mom. Holla!

But was it technically a pool or a lake? Why can’t someone just pay to get in? How big is it? Why will nobody talk about it? Why won’t anyone take me!?!?!?!

I have the answers now, my faithful followers. And I signed no confidentiality agreement that I know of, although I do have to give them my first born — it was a sacrifice I made for you all, so maybe buy me a beer or two.

Lakeside is a private club that opened at a rock quarry. OK, well, duh. We know that. It’s surrounded by 40-foot stone walls and holds 3.2 million gallons of water. So what they did was convert the quarry into a pool-like structure by putting in a filtration system, filling the bottom with concrete, painting the rock and concrete Smurf blue, and adding chlorine, lifeguards, diving boards and rules. Lots of rules. If you live in one of the surrounding houses, you’re automatically a member. If you don’t, you can get “sponsored” by one of the “certificate members” and then pay an annual fee comparable to one year of tuition at an out-of-state college, give or take a few semesters.

You can’t just buy your way in. You have to know someone who is either a certificate or associate member, and then they have to secure guest passes for you. Basically, access into Fort Knox is cake compared to Lakeside. Luckily, though, I have cool friends who invited me to join them recently and took care of all the paperwork I needed. I just had to furnish my passport, immunization history, doctor’s note, list of people I’ve slept with in the past 10 years, college degree, bra size and, again, agree to relinquish my first born. Simple.

Once I made it through the front gate and was waived through, I was sure they’d change their minds and send an attack dog after me. I kept looking back over my shoulder as we scurried to the far lounge area to blow up our floats and claim our beach chairs. I was so scatterbrained I didn’t even realize I was in the compound until I stopped. Took a breath. Looked around. And soaked it all in. This place was frickin’ huge! Although it’s technically one pool of water, it’s sectioned off into all sorts of activity pools. There’s the float area, where we stayed, that’s far, far away from children. And then there’s a kiddie pool, a horseplay pool where you can splash and talk about which One Direction boy is cuter, a diving board area, a lap pool, a heated pool that’s open in the winter, and then probably eight other pools I’m forgetting.

There’s also a gym inside and a snack bar, which offered $1 swirl cones the day we were there, plus the usual pool fare like nachos, hot dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza and BLTs. The only thing missing was a tiki bar. But unfortunately, alcohol is prohibited. That’s my one complaint.

During the four hours we were there, I managed to float lazily on the water, learn a hard lesson about the necessity of reapplying sunscreen, jump reluctantly off the high dive, float some more, eat ice cream and nachos, float some more, touch the bottom of the pool, and float some more. It was hard work going undercover. You’re welcome.

Drunk Texts of the Week
• She saves all her fucks for flip cup
• Nippleback trumps armpitties
• I’m not spending $300 on a fake dick
• French lick my toes

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