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The new owners of Lexington's oldest bar are recreating an amazing neon sign that watched over Chevy Chase Inn during it's glory days.
The new owners of Lexington's oldest bar are recreating an amazing neon sign that watched over Chevy Chase Inn during it's glory days.
131 backers pledged $15,443 to help bring this project to life.

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$15,443

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PROHIBITION ENDS, CHEVY CHASE INN OPENS

Chevy Chase Inn is Lexington's oldest bar, dating all the way back to 1933. The bar opened shortly after Prohibition ended and hasn’t changed much in 83 years. CCI has always been a neighborhood watering hole where family, friends and strangers alike have gathered to tell lies, knock back cold beers, sip the stiffest drinks in town and enjoy some of the best live music going. You might even catch a game of cribbage or two.

Clark Cramer was CCI's legendary historian with over 80 years of incredible stories.
Clark Cramer was CCI's legendary historian with over 80 years of incredible stories.

For 83 years this bar has seen a lot of celebrations, it’s fair share of wakes and a hell of a lot of crazy night! 

Red Eye being, well...Red Eye
Red Eye being, well...Red Eye


Have you heard the joke about a horse walking into Chevy Chase Inn? 
A horse walks into Chevy Chase Inn....for many years on July 4th
A horse walks into Chevy Chase Inn....for many years on July 4th


The New Stewards Of Chevy Chase Inn 

In October of 2014 we (Bill Farmer, Jr. of Farmer's Jewelry along with Kevin Heathcoat & Will Pieratt from Bourbon n' Toulouse) discovered that CCI was for sale and the owners had two potential buyers for the best dive bar in town. Unfortunately, one group wanted to turn “The Dump” into a high end wine bar and the other group planned to gut the building and convert the 100+ year old farm house into a retail space. When we discovered that the bar might be no more, we knew that we couldn't let Chevy Chase Inn die! We decided that our only choice was to take out a loan we couldn't afford to save a bar that Lexington couldn't afford to lose. After we figured out a way to scrounge up just enough money for a down payment, we were off the races. As the fifth stewards of this great institution, our goal upon purchase was to change as little as possible. We bought the bar because it is almost perfect, right?!?!?!

The Three Changes We Made At CCI

1.) We cleaned the bathrooms, but left the squirrel of course.

"Helloooo Ladies!"
"Helloooo Ladies!"

2.) We added craft beer to our offerings.   

CCI now has a rotating craft beer selection
CCI now has a rotating craft beer selection

3.) We put a roof over the back patio and added a TV. 

Founders of "CCI Book Club" enjoying the back patio
Founders of "CCI Book Club" enjoying the back patio

The Unexpected Changes 

There were a few unexpected and rather expensive improvements that we had to make upon purchase that were not in our original budget. Such things as making the stage and women’s restroom floors (somewhat) level, replacing flooring in some areas and paying for our bar tabs. It took every dime we had and then some to complete all of the improvements. Upon completion of the patio the three of us sat at the bar and had a shot or three of Maker’s and relished in the fact that we had made all the improvements that we were going to make.

And Then We Found Some Pictures

During the cleaning of a long lost storage room we found boxes of incredible pictures from years gone by. They were all entertaining, but two of the pictures really struck a cord. They showed an incredible neon sign that used to watch over patrons as they walked in the bar and later stumbled backed out. We instantly fell in love with that amazing old sign and knew we had to bring the front of the building back to it's former glory.

"Air Conditioned • Bar • Grill"
"Air Conditioned • Bar • Grill"

At the time Chevy Chase Inn was just a beer bar. It wasn't until 1960 that Doc Robinson was able to obtain a liquor license for CCI. 

The sign was changed to "cocktail lounge" in 1960.
The sign was changed to "cocktail lounge" in 1960.

 

A rendering of the new sign.
A rendering of the new sign.

 

Here's Where You Come In  

We bought a struggling business, but are loving every minute of it! Each month after making our loan payments, paying utility bills, insurance, our own bar tabs, payroll, etc, we have made an average of $2.73 of profit each day. We're grateful that we haven't lost any money, but we are pretty tapped out financially. With that being said, we passionately believe this sign is something that will truly enhance the Chevy Chase shopping corridor and will once again become an icon of Lexington. The three of us are digging deep into our personal piggy banks for this project, but we are going to need Lexington's help! We have worked hard with Ruggles Sign to come up with a design that pays homage to years gone by. We love what they have created and hope that Lexingtonians will as well. This sign should be over looking Euclid Ave. by the beginning of August if we can raise enough money. Please donate if you can. If you can't donate money, but still want to help then please share this on social media and tell your friends about the best little dive bar in Lexington!

Cheers, Lexington.  Thank you for your support!

Cheers, Lexington!
Cheers, Lexington!

            Kevin Heathcoat                         Bill Farmer, Jr.                            Will Pieratt 

 

 

 

Risks and challenges

Every project comes with risks and our biggest risk is not having enough capital to create the sign at this time. This sign will get made. If we don't reach our Kickstarter goal then we will create this sign in a handful of years from now when we can pay for it all by ourselves. The other main risk is that the building is over 100 years old. We have to make some electrical updates before we hang the sign. This shouldn't be a big deal, but you never know when dealing with a building this old.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    THANK YOU!

    Anyone who donates $1.00 or more definitely deserves a proper "thank you." Only problem is that we will probably be too drunk to send you one! Solution: A heart felt "drunken thank you" from the three of us and some of our regulars at Chevy Chase Inn. It won't be inappropriate. Or will it? You'll have to donate to find out!

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    BONELESS CHICKEN DINNER

    Kick in $5 or more and we'll kick you a drunken thank you and a legendary Chevy Chase Inn Boneless Chicken Dinner, also know as a pickled egg that may or may not be as old as the bar itself and a couple stale saltines.

    *Fair warning, Kevin thinks the pickled eggs smell horrible and may refuse service if you order more than one!

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    COMMEMORATIVE PINT GLASS

    For only $25 you get a sincerely drunken thank you, a pickled egg, commemorative pint glass that will show all your drinking pals just how cool you really are.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    FREE BOURBON N' TOULOUSE!!!!!

    Donate $35 and you'll get a drunken thank you, a boneless chicken sandwich a commemorative pint glass and a free meal from Bourbon n' Toulouse. Eat, drink and be merry!

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    LIMITED EDITION T-SHIRT

    Cough up half a Benjamin and be rewarded with a drunken thank you, a boneless chicken sandwich, your pint glass, a free meal at Bourbon n' Toulouse and a limited edition Chevy Chase Inn t-shirt that will only be available to Kickstarter backers.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    IMMORTALITY AT CHEVY CHASE INN

    Everyone wants their name on a brass plate to be attached to the bar. Only problem is that you have to die to get one. Not any more!!! For only $100.00 your name will be engraved on a brass name plate and mounted next to the famous Chevy Chase Inn stained glass window! Oh yeah, you get all the previously mention rewards too. Did we mention that your name will out last you at CCI?

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    HELLOOOO LADIES!!!

    Choose this reward for $100 and you'll get a thank you from us, a pickled egg, pint glass, meal from Bn'T, a the t-shirt AND your very own infamous squirrel from the women's room. Your friends will go nuts when they see this beauty hanging over your mantle.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    HELLOOOO LADIES! IMMORTALITY IS YOURS

    For $150 you will get your name on a brass plate mounted to the wall forever AND you'LL also get your very own infamous squirrel poster from the women's room and all the other glorious prizes from the previous donation levels.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    CHEVY CHASE INN COFFEE TABLE BOOK

    Want a good read and some belly laughs? Choose this reward and you'll get all the previously mentioned items including the brass name plate and squirrel poster as well as an autographed copy of "Chevy Chase Inn: Tall Tales and Cold Ales from Lexington's Oldest Bar." Author Sarah Razor takes reader on an entertaining history lesson of Chevy Chase Inn in this awesome coffee table book.
    Here's a review of the book: http://chevychaser.com/2013/07/with-the-inn-crowd/

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    BOURBON N' TOULOUSE PARTY PACK

    FOR $400 you get all the previous rewards plus a party pack from Bourbon n' Toulouse. We'll set you up with your choice of any two dishes, rice, bread, chafing racks and serving utensils. This package will feed 25 - 30 people and can be used for tailgating.

    *Must pick up at Bourbon n' Toulouse.

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    2 HOUR PRIVATE PARTY ON THE NEW PATIO

    You get the a thank you, pickled egg, pint glass, a plate of Bourbon n' Toulouse, t-shirt, name plate, the squirrel & a book plus an all-inclusive lunch/dinner party from Bourbon n' Toulouse on our covered patio including your Cajun favorites and we'll even toss in a jar of pickled eggs for you and 20 of your friends.

    * Must schedule in advance.
    * Gratuity to bartender not included.
    * Some blackout dates might be necessary.
    * All guest must be 21+

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    YOU GET "THE TIRE!"

    You get the thank you, pickled egg, pint glass, t-shirt, name plate, book, a bunch of free Bourbon n' Toulouse and our eternal gratitude, but who cares about all that? You get "the tire" (aka, a smoke eater) that spins above the bar!!! You. Get. The. Tire. IS THERE ANYTHING MORE CCI THAN THAT???

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Funding period

- (29 days)