A dispute with the Blind Pig involving liquor licensing is behind Meat's abrupt but temporary closure, according to the bar's owner, Peyton Ray. While acknowledging, "there's some issues going on between my company and Mr. Ray right now," the Blind Pig's chef/owner Joseph Frase disagreed with Ray's allegations but declined to comment further.
According to Ray,
Until very recently the Kentucky state legislature did not allow second floor bars. All individual bars had to be on the first floor of the building, except for if they were in a nightclub or a hotel or a restaurant. So us being upstairs, we were depending on the liquor license of the guys downstairs. So when that rule changed, that's when we applied for our own license. Unfortunately, our relations with the guys downstairs deteriorated so much and so quickly that they finally, the other day, just turned off the lights, locked the doors, turned off the water.
Part of what happened was that the guys from the Blind Pig, in order to stop us from getting our license, alleged all sorts of things about us, like that there was underage drinking going on, sexual activity, rampant drug use and sales and so on. They weren't quite clever enough to realize that when they make a claim like that against us, it was against their own liquor license. So they launched an investigation into the Blind Pig's liquor license, and that investigation—the hearing for the investigation will be the 14th of May. So we'll see at that point whether the Blind Pig loses its license altogether or if it keeps it license. Also on that day we will probably find out more on the status of our license application. So we're fully planning on reopening, we just don't know when that's going to be—it could be at the latest, July.
"There's a lot of falsehood in everything he said, every single statement that he made," Frase said. " That's all I can really comment on."
Ray said that while Meat sublets its space from the Blind Pig, it would reopen in the same location. Tension between the two spots has been brewing for months, according to Ray.
In addition to their local popularity, both spots have garnered positive press from further afield. Last December, the London-based Drinks International magazine ranked Meat the 38th best bar in the world. The New York Times and GQ are among the publications that have written up the Blind Pig.
[Photos: Courtesy Blind Pig and Zach Everson]