Saloon an oasis in Russellville

Saturday, January 26, 2008
At the Bee Hive cafe, students Billy and Danielle Bonebrake along with Brittni Alerding share an early dinner while being served by Corinne Higgins.

A quick glance down the main street of the tiny community of Russellville indicates what has happened to many small hamlets in our nation. It's like stepping back in time, and a deeper inspection reveals that there isn't much in the way of viable enterprise in this northern Putnam County town.

But thanks to David Goodnight and Kim Wallace, the Russellville Saloon and the adjacent Bee Hive restaurant have given Russellville residents a place for social gathering and interaction, in what otherwise could be be characterized as town on the decline.

Goodnight, a former Avon resident who now resides in Bainbridge, purchased the property for the saloon and eatery in September of 2007. The building is a massive, sprawling piece of property, built in 1890, that once housed, among other things, a hardware sore, a Masonic Lodge, a feed store and a basement barber shop.

The quaint exterior of the Russellville Saloon, recently purchased by proprietor David Goodnight.

About $100,000 or more in renovations later, a charming establishment exists, that Goodnight shared was once to be called Dave's Place.

But when Goodnight closed in on his opening date, he felt compelled to name the bar the Russellville Saloon.

"I had so many people in the community showing interest and wanting to know when we were opening, that I decided to name it after the town," Goodnight stated. The restaurant name also has local tie-ins. The Russellville school mascot used to be the Bees, hence the Bee Hive moniker.

Long-time local resident Kim Williams serves as Goodnight's manager and offered that, "The community has been very responsive."

Goodnight added that, "Business hasn't been too bad. We're surviving."

Wallace stated that the clientele at both establishments has been varied, and my visit seemed to validate that; along with working-class individuals grabbing an afternoon refreshment or two at the bar, several high school students were grabbing an early dinner at the restaurant.

The Saloon hosts Karaoke Night on Friday's and always features live music on Saturdays. Future plans include the expansion of the bar to include a stage/dance area, an outdoor beer garden in an adjacent alley area, and including a garage behind the property to be used for poker rallies for motorcycle and ATV clubs.

The Bee Hive serves traditional fare, and specializes in Prime Rib on Friday and Saturday nights.

Goodnight added that his cooks were, "out of sight," including his head cook, Joyce Austin.

Wallace shared that she hasn't done a great deal of external advertising for the establishment, relying instead upon word-of-mouth recommendations that seem to keep both the saloon and restaurant humming with business.

All small communities need a gathering place where neighbors and friends can share their lives. Goodnight's venture, up to this point, seems to serve that function nicely for the citizens of Russellville.

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  • Nice story, but personlly I would never go there. Who wants to go to a bar where one cannot smoke? Not me! Isn't Putnam County just grand?

    -- Posted by '74tiger on Sat, Jan 26, 2008, at 9:49 AM
  • I am so glad someone is doing something to improve Russellville, It is a very old town that has survived.

    Basing the fact that you cannot smoke for a valid reason not to go only shows a persons intelligence level There are reasons you can't smoke in public establishments, just ask someone who has lost a loved one to lung cancer.

    Kathy Smith

    -- Posted by katt3166 on Sat, Jan 26, 2008, at 6:56 PM
  • I find the comments here very interesting, but apparently some didn't even read the article. No where in the article did it say you couldn't smoke in the bar or restaurant. I am not a smoker, but I know for a fact that you can smoke in the restaurant because I was in there Saturday night and people were smoking. As to the bar, I have never been in there, but I am sure if you can smoke in the restaurant you can smoke in the bar.

    -- Posted by interested party on Mon, Jan 28, 2008, at 7:59 AM
  • Mr. Haney's comments were excellent. Why would a person, who lost someone to lung cancer, even be in a bar? Is cirrhosis of the liver a better way to die? To address the intelligence level--have you ever seen someone with HIV, Genital herpes, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, HPV, or "the morning after pill" need treatment? How do you think that the drinking compares to smoking? At least the smokers know what they are doing to their lungs and the non-smokers have a choice as to enter that bar. But, intoxicated people, are the real risk. Driving home, exposing themself to sexualy transmitted diseases, and aborting a fetus. How does this compare to smoking?

    -- Posted by pbyers on Mon, Jan 28, 2008, at 9:35 PM

    -- Posted by Michele1953 on Tue, Jan 29, 2008, at 5:02 PM
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