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Artists Remember Louisville's Rudyard Kipling

If there’s any truth to the idea that these kinds of things come in threes, then Louisville should get a break for the near future.

The Rudyard Kipling, a long-time mainstay of Old Louisville and Louisville in general, has locked up. The closure of the restaurant and theater/music venue follows the recent closure of two other well-known establishments, Jim Porter's and Phoenix Hill Tavern.

The restaurant and music/theater venue, originally opened and run by Ken and Sheila Pyles since the early 1980s, was bought by husband-and-wife entrepreneurs William and Amy Enix in January 2014. Amy Enix said the place had been doing well since then, but “life happened” and now they are in a position where they have to sell the building.

“The Rud was one of the only places in town to function as both a club for bands, like our pal Tim Krekel, and as a listening room for songwriters,” said Heidi Howe, a Louisville musician who has held court at what commonly called the Rud on plenty of occasions over the years.

“Louisville musicians had the opportunity to meet and play with touring artists. It will be sorely missed.”

Rachel Stump, who was hosting a monthly singer/songwriter showcase at The Rud for several years, said it was the openness and inclusiveness that made the place so special. For some time, she’s been sharing the stage with her 12-year-old daughter, and she said the Rud was one of the few places where children were welcomed as audience members.

The other side of that coin was the fact that for the longest time, artists were given a very wide berth with which to ply their trade. Gregory Maupin, a performer and writer with Kentucky Shakespeare, said the Pyles were known for how little control they exercised over the artists they allowed to play there— he said that basically, the only admonition performers were given was “remember that people are eating!”

In a telephone interview, Amy Enix said she is confident that someone will purchase the property and keep the Rudyard Kipling identity and heritage alive and well.

Do you have any special memories of The Rud? Please share them with us on Facebook.

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