Historic Kentucky Inn Adds Tavern, Cincinnati Enquirer
Something old. Something new. The fourth generation innkeepers at the nationally known Beaumont Inn added the Owl Tavern last month, following last year's voter approval of liquor sales in Mercer County.
"The tavern idea was something we had been thinking about for a long time," said owner Chuck Dedman. "My grandfather, C.M. Dedman, was a pharmacist who... also owned a distillery on the Kentucky River."
Guests from around the world have been coming to Beaumont since 1919. Regional cooking is a specialty, and the Tavern menu is no exception.
"Of course, we had to have the traditional Kentucky Hot Brown and a pulled pork barbecue sandwich," Dedman said. "Then we took a good old idea, the Hot Brown, and made it our own. The new Hot Beaumont starts off with toast points, is piled on with roasted pork loin and tomatoe slices, and then covered in a Dijon cream sauce."
To decorate the walls, Beaumont staff worked with local historians to find old photos of Mercer County distilleries.
"We still had one of the C.M. Distillery bottles, with the 1879 date showing on the label," said Dedman. "The enlarged 3-by-4 foot image of that bottle is one of my favorites."
The Tavern is a space that stored carriages when the 1845 main building was a school for young women and later Beaumont College.
Wooden tables and Windsor-style chairs were selected to evoke earlier times in central Kentucky when Harrodsburg was an important hub for the settling of the frontier.
Iron gates from the Greystone House, a nearby mansion that was acquired for suite-size accommodations, protect the wine cage. Behind the bar you can see original limestone foundation walls.
"The mason we worked with called that limestone "Kentucky Marble," a very traditional building material for the 19th century," said Dedman.
Tradition is important in central Kentucky and at the Beaumont Inn. So when steel beams were needed for structural support in the tavern, they were encased in wood made to match the original hand-hewn beams.