Drawing inspiration from speakeasies of the 1920s, downtown Paducah's newest bar is looking to turn back the clock on the Prohibition era.

The Fox Briar, owned and operated by Peter and Amber Barnett, is nestled in the back room of Confleur, a brunch and ice cream spot the Barnetts also own, in the 100 block of Broadway.

Barnett worked with Matthew Johnston to develop the idea and actually started serving in the room during November 2018 after acquiring a liquor license for Confleur.

"Him and I had been talking about the idea of opening up a bar centered around craft cocktails for the last two years," Barnett said. "We would cover up all the windows and the doors with black curtains and have people dress up and only open it up every two weeks. We really got into it."

The response was so great they decided to make the bar a separate entity and a permanent fixture of the downtown scene, opening it for business in mid-October, naming it after the former Fox Briar Inn property immediately adjacent to the bar -- which Peter and Amber converted into condo style housing earlier this year.

Visitors to the Fox Briar can expect to encounter a varied and carefully selected menu of drinks, from fine liquor and batched cocktails on tap to locally made beer.

"We've managed to put together what we think is a really, really well curated back bar," explained Barnett. "We strive to have the very best of the best of everything.

"The signature for us right now is our gin and tonics. We have a couple of different ones on the menu right now incorporating craft tonic waters and a wide variety of gins. We're rather proud of our old fashioned as well, which we think is killer."

Presentation, for Barnett, is one of the most important aspects of business at the Fox Briar.

"We want it to look good and for customers to know exactly what we're putting in each drink and why," he said. "That will help maintain the speakeasy feel and hopefully people will feel like they've discovered us, just this little hole in the wall."

Above all, Barnett wants to bring a romantic appreciation of a bygone era to his little "secret" of a bar.

"There was a real leap in development in drinking culture during Prohibition, the development of cocktails in England and in this country where they wanted to mask the flavors from potential discovery by the authorities," he said. "It was just a fascinating ripple in the pond of what happened in the wider world at the time."

The Fox Briar is open from 4-11 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and regularly hosts musicians on Saturday nights. For more information or to keep up with events at the bar, visit the business's Facebook page.

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