LA GRANGE, Ky. (December 2003) The Irish Rover, an authentic
Irish pub located in Louisvilles Crescent Hill area, may soon
have a second location in Oldham County. Owners Siobhan and Michael
Reidy intend to purchase the building located at 117 E. Main St. in
La Grange, formerly known as Macs on Main, where they hope to
open early next year Oldham Countys first pub.
The Reidys, who have operated the popular Louisville pub for
10 years, are taking advantage of the new liquor-by-the-drink referendum
passed by voters in November.
counties in Kentucky.
Although the details are still being worked out by local and state
officials, it wont be long before diners will be able to order
a glass of wine or a pint of ale with their dinners at a few Oldham
County restaurants. Few is the key word. The county is
not currently known for its large, chain-type eateries. But many,
including Oldham County Chamber of Commerce officials, are hoping
that will all change.
The chamber, which led the petition drive to get the question of limited
alcohol sales on this years ballot, centered their campaign
around restaurants, and how allowing liquor-by-the-drink would both
benefit existing restaurants and attract new ones, like the Irish
A few local restaurant owners, including Lou Shaffer, owner of Old
Louisville Style Chili and Fish House in La Grange, and Jean and Dan
Smith, owners of A Little Taste of Heaven in Crestwood, backed the
chambers position and were among the more outspoken liquor-by-the-drink
proponents. Both restaurant owners have expressed their intention
to serve alcoholic beverages, and both restaurants meet the 100-seat
We need to stay with the times, said Jean Smith, whose
downtown Crestwood restaurant has been in business for three years.
Weve already added two new dining rooms (within the past
six months), Smith said. Were going to apply (for
a license) and were going to go through all the protocols.
Exactly what those protocols will be is what county officials
are now trying to determine. Were going through the implementation
ordinance now, said Oldham County Chamber of Commerce president
Joe Schoenbaechler, who along with county government officials met
recently with representatives of the Kentucky Alcoholic Beverage Control
from Frankfort. The ABC will help the county implement the new law
and determine the extent of the local governments authority.
One option that has been proposed is processing of liquor licenses
and other administrative functions by Oldham County Fiscal Court,
since by statue the county judge becomes the local administrator and
all applications must be first processed at the local level before
being forwarded to Frankfort for final approval.
Two types of liquor licenses will be available: a malt beverage license
and a wine and distilled liquor license. Restaurants may apply for
one or both. Interestingly, the same kind of malt beverage, or beer,
license applies to both restaurants and package stores like Kroger,
according to Schoenbaechler. This means that, technically, a restaurant
could sell a six-pack to go. Local ordinances will likely be enacted
to prohibit this type of sale, since that wasnt the intention
of the new law, Schoenbaechler said.
Now that the vote has passed, the next question on the minds of many
is how long will it take to implement the change. Although the exact
time is not certain, Schoenbaechler estimated that it would be mid
to late February before diners will be able to order beer, wine or
spirits at Oldham County restaurants. The chamber plans to hold a
public meeting soon to provide more information to restaurant owners
and county citizens. The chamber will also continue to update restaurants
on the process as information becomes available.
On its website, the Kentucky Alcoholic Beverage Control lists six
different categories for alcohol sales: dry, limited, moist, golf
course territory and winery. Of the states 120 counties, Oldham
will be one of 12 designated by the ABC as limited, meaning
that beer, wine and spirits may be served, but only in restaurants
that seat at least 100 diners and derive at least 70 percent of their
revenue from food sales.