The average American sports bar is a place where you can go after work to take the edge off, talk to buddies, watch the game — a place where, to quote the TV theme, everybody knows your name.
Darby Radmanesh is hoping that she’s provided just such a place for Somerset now as well.
Radmanesh is the woman behind The Pub 311, Somerset’s first real sports bar of the town’s post-”wet” era.
The bar’s location is 311 West Mt. Vernon Street in the Vortex Corner area — it’s hard to miss the giant barrel on the outside of the building — and its grand opening will be today.
“I think Somerset needed it,” said Radmanesh. “It’s a nice place where you can come and sit down and enjoy some sports and socialize.”
Former managers of Video Palace, located in the same commercial complex, Radmanesh and her husband Dr. Mark Radmanesh owned the building and were trying to renovate it in order to maximize its business potential.
Once Somerset went “wet” last June, the idea became clear: the property could be turned into a high-end drinking establishment. It wasn’t something Radmanesh, a New York native, necessarily imagined doing for a long time — it was just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.
“We decided to go ahead and apply (for a bar license), and we got it, and then we thought about a nice sports bar,” said Radmanesh. “The opportunity came up. I didn’t always want to run a bar.”
That said, she’s gone into this one with gusto, putting in a unique outdoor patio, fully-stocked bar, and top-of-the-line televisions — and even an internet jukebox.
“We had to completely renovate the building and get it up to state codes,” she said. “It was almost like a new building.”
Jody Clines of Elite Electronics performed much of the technical work on the bar. He said sports fans will be able to watch the big game — football, baseball, or of course, UK Wildcat basketball — on any of 32 different flat-screen televisions throughout the establishment.
“All the TV’s won’t be on the same thing,” he said. “We’ll have the capability to be on 32 different channels.”
Most of the screens will be 42-inch models, with a couple of large 60-inch sets. There will be a couple out on the bar’s back patio — a fully-enclosed open-air section that’s also unique among bars currently in Somerset. Clines also said that since it’s outside, people will be able to smoke on the patio (an activity that is no longer allowed inside Somerset establishments).
“Say Kentucky’s playing — you can go out on the patio, drink, smoke, and not miss the game,” said Clines.
Added Radmanesh, “It’s going to be a fun patio, It’s very nice.”
Clines also said the idea is to have a responsible establishment where there will be “no overserving going on,” or allowing excessively intoxicated individuals to leave that way.
Features that are expected to eventually be a part of the Pub 311 experience are live music events and, within about a month, a menu of basic pub food like appetizers and burgers (Radmanesh noted that there are still regulations to clear through the state before they can serve food items).
Bar hours will be Monday through Saturday, 4 p.m. to midnight. Radmanesh said she would consider expanding hours during the summer or weekend as business dictates. She also stressed that it’s an adult establishment — a place for those of legal drinking age to come and unwind, not a place to take the kids out for a meal.
Radmanesh has enjoyed a stay of 30 years or so in Somerset with her husband, owning various types of businesses including the video store, hotels, and medical practices. She’s eager to try her hand at something new now — something that’s new for Somerset as well.
“(Mark) said it’s my turn now,” she said with a chuckle.