The Longest Bar in the World? It's in Tennessee, On the Uncle Nearest Campus
March 16, 2023 –––––– Julia Higgins
When Uncle Nearest opened the doors of the Nearest Green Distillery in Shelbyville, Tennessee in 2021, there was talk of a grand campus in the making, with 323 acres undergoing a four-phase, $50 million build-out that so far has included a visitor center, concession stand, and alcohol-free speakeasy. Now, a new attraction is coming to fruition: an immersive and experiential space dedicated to elevated drinks, food, and live music, Humble Baron, will open its doors on March 23.
Once it opens, Humble Baron will be home to a show-stopping 518-foot bar–the longest bar in the world, topping the previous holder at the Beer Barrel Saloon in Put-In-Bay, Ohio, which stretches 405 feet and 10 inches, according to Guinness World Records. The grand, circular 202-seat bar wraps around a stage and has 17 bartender stations (so you need never worry about having an empty glass).
“Certainly Humble Baron is the longest bar in the world, but from my perspective, it couldn’t be just that, it also needed to be one of the coolest bars in the world, and everything by extension needed to be elevated,” says founder Keith Weaver, husband of Uncle Nearest CEO Fawn Weaver. To that end, he tapped DeAndre Jackson as beverage director and Gin & Luck as a partner for the beverage program. That hospitality team is the brains behind world-class mixology mecca Death & Co., and at Humble Baron it’ll place BIPOC-owned and female-led spirits brands at the fore, including, of course, Uncle Nearest, as well as Sorel liqueur, Hella Cocktail Co. bitters and tonic, Equiano rum, and Freeland gin. Weaver credits his own wide-ranging taste in spirits to the bar’s diverse selection of global whisky, too, ensuring that all fans will be pleased. Even so, Tennessee whiskey will certainly have a starring role, especially given that the state’s whiskeys are taking off.
Among the newly created cocktails are the Queen’s Gambit, made with Uncle Nearest 1856 Tennessee whiskey, Sorel liqueur, Hella Apple Blossom bitters, pineapple gomme, and lemon juice; the Dear Fawn, which is a whiskey version of an Espresso Martini, subbing out vodka for Uncle Nearest 1884; and the Honey I’m Home, mixing Uncle Nearest 1884, Equiano rum, citrus mix, and Nashville hot honey.
Humble Baron's cocktail menu was made in partnership with Gin & Luck; among the new drinks is the Glenford Street (pictured), made with a base of Uncle Nearest 1884 and mixed with sweet vermouth, coffee liqueur, Campari, and Hella smoke chile bitters (Photo by Heather Durham).
Humble Baron is far from just a bar—it will also have a full-service kitchen (and seating for an additional 300 people) and two stages, one indoor that's surrounded by the bar and one outdoor, both for live music performances. Chef G. Garvin was brought in for the food menu; previously he’s curated menus at Lowcountry Restaurants in Atlanta. As at Lowcountry, Humble Baron’s food will skew southern, so those who fancy shrimp and grits, snow crab legs, mac and cheese, and the like will be in luck, though there’s more classically American dishes on the menu as well, including wild-caught salmon and a smashburger.
Weaver wanted the music experience to wow the guests, so Humble Baron’s sound system was designed by the same people who created Prince’s Paisley Park (his home and studio). Given that Weaver’s musical taste is as varied as that of his palate, the venue’s performers will hit all genres and styles.
In celebration of the grand opening, Humble Baron will be hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 6 p.m. on the 23rd, followed by a performance from country musician HunterGirl.