Big Bar Expands With A Colorful New ‘Rainbow Room,’ Opening Today

May 4, 2022 at 3:48 pm
A mezzanine overlooks the first floor of The Rainbow Room.
A mezzanine overlooks the first floor of The Rainbow Room. Photos courtesy of Kevin Bryan

Big Bar was never big. A joke that was clearly obvious when you squeezed into the popular gay club and all you saw was a bar, some tables and tons of people.

But now, Big Bar on Bardstown Road will actually be large, with a new expansion into the former Wine Rack next door.

“Everyone was like, ‘Are you gonna call it bigger bar?’” said owner Kevin Bryan, “I’m like, ‘No.’ ‘Or small bar?’ I”m like, ‘No.’”

He settled on naming the new space The Rainbow Room, inspired by the multicolored LED lights clinging to every surface and the glow-in-the-dark murals painted by Monica Mahoney.

The Rainbow Room, which Bryan says quadruples Big Bar’s previous footprint of 500-square feet, opens today, Thursday, May 4, at 4 p.m. Bryan has been working on expanding the bar for three years, a plan extended by the pandemic and other factors. He decided to open it Derby week to honor Big Bar’s 10th anniversary, which occurred in 2012 on the most popular day for businesses to say they’ll open by.

The expanded Big Bar gives Bryan the opportunity to provide activities and events he wasn’t able to do before. There’s a dance floor for shimmying and more space for community events, such as for nonprofits. Bryan has also added another small stage for more drag shows, karaoke and go-go boy performances.

The new space is two floors, with a mezzanine overlooking the first and a lounge area on the second. And it comes with a new bathroom, something Bryan is particularly excited about, because the current one is so small.

There will be a new cocktail menu for the Rainbow Room that Bryan hopes to premiere within the next couple of weeks, before Big Bar’s four-day 10-year anniversary bender from May 19 to the 22. One of the options will be a large Rainbow Room Punch that will come with a pair of Big Bar-branded, color-warping “Chromatica Glasses" to make the new space seem even tripper than it already it is.

Bryan has also been stockpiling rare bourbons for years, and he’s breaking them out for the expansion, a special occasion indeed.

The anniversary party will also feature giveaways, DJ sets and performances from drag queens and go-go boys.

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