Pendennis Club

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218 W Muhammad Ali Blvd
Louisville, KY 40202 Louisville Rate and review
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The Pendennis Club is a private club in Louisville, Kentucky. It was established in 1881 and modeled in part on English gentlemen's clubs. It took its name from William Makepeace Thackeray's novel Pendennis (1848–50). The first clubhouse, acquired in 1883, was a former Belknap family mansion. Soon after opening, a banquet was held to entertain President Chester A. Arthur on August 1, 1883, the same day he opened the Southern Exposition. Sometime in the 1880s, the club was the birthplace (by name, not invention) of the Old Fashioned, possibly the first mixed drink to be called a cocktail.A famous employee was Henry Bain, who during his forty-year career rose to headwaiter. He is the eponym of Henry Bain sauce. Roland Hayes, popularly said to be Bain's nephew, and considered the first African-American male concert artist to receive wide international acclaim, made his professional debut at the club in 1910.Club membership was long open only to whites, although that policy has been relaxed (the club also has a handful of female members). However, the image of an elite, restricted club still is common in the minds of Louisvillians. In 1999 it was one of several private clubs named in a discrimination lawsuit, and was eventually forced to turn over its membership records, though no investigation was ever conducted by the state Human Rights Commission. In 2006, club officials said there had been black members for several years.

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