Countdown on the Horse Garage

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Thanks entirely to Megan Fitzpatrick and Brendan Gaffney, the machine room for my workshop is on schedule to be complete by the end of the year.

It feels incredibly good to be typing those words.

When we bought the storefront 26 months ago, I almost lost heart at the closing. Lucy and I had fought like hell to buy the property – it took six months of wrangling with real estate agents and lawyers to simply pay the asking price for the property and be done with it.

Anyway, on the day of the closing, Lucy and I went to Left Bank Coffeehouse before signing the papers, and I went completely numb. Suddenly it seemed like buying a half-derelict lesbian bar in downtown Covington wasn’t such a good idea. Perhaps the building was even worse than the inspection had revealed (it was). Perhaps we would have to spend tens of thousands of dollars more to get it livable (we did).

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Despite my sudden malaise, Lucy pushed me forward through the closing. At the end, I received a Captain Morgan’s Rum necklace filled with keys to the bar. Lucy went off to work, and I went to the bar.

I unlocked the front door and walked around, convinced I had made a huge mistake. There was so much work to do, I didn’t even know where to start. So I left the bar, locked the front door and went home for two weeks, refusing to even drive by the place or think about it.

When I finally came to my senses, I decided to measure the bar’s rooms so I could create a floorplan. I walked up to the front door of the bar to unlock it.

The door was unlocked and swung open.

Suspicious, I tiptoed into the bar and looked around. No one was in the bar. Nothing had been stolen or disturbed.

Curious, I began fiddling with the lock to the front door and realized that I had left it sitting unlocked and wide open for two whole weeks.

At that moment, for some reason, I fell in love with the neighborhood and the building. Since then I have been helped by old friends and new to demolish the beer-soaked interior and create a beautiful and traditional working space.

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It’s been a hell of a lot harder than I thought it would be. But today, as we hung the first two doors to the machine room, I felt like maybe buying the lesbian bar wasn’t such a bad idea. With good friends and the neighborly people of Covington, it was starting to feel like home.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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19 Responses to Countdown on the Horse Garage

  1. Anthony says:

    Well done with the perseverance thing!

  2. captainjack1024 says:

    I read this blog post to my wife… we were at the LAP grand opening, and remember the night fondly. After I read this to her, she got a bit weepy and said that it is so nice that there’s a place in the world where people come together and are kind. Congratulations on the journey. 🙂

  3. Scott Brooks says:

    Chris, this story is incredibly inspiring. All the stress and headaches will eventually fall away and in the end this building will become so much more than it would have been otherwise. Cheers to your vision, patience and perseverance.

  4. Richard O. Byrne says:

    Use dry ice in a flat wire basket to freeze ans crack the floor tiles free

    On Sat, Nov 25, 2017 at 8:39 PM, Lost Art Press wrote:

    > Lost Art Press posted: ” Thanks entirely to Megan Fitzpatrick and Brendan > Gaffney, the machine room for my workshop is on schedule to be complete by > the end of the year. It feels incredibly good to be typing those words. > When we bought the storefront 26 months ago, I almost l” >

  5. tombuhl says:

    Good friends are always in season. You have a mess of ’em. Enjoy.
    The carriage house doors look great.

  6. Love this post. Nothing like good friends and a grimy little neighborhood to make you feel at home!

  7. volzwgn says:

    Love the story AND the doors. Between your postings on the LAP blog and Google Earth street view, I have not only a view of what it looked like but what it looks like now and in between. Take a wander down the alley on streetview. Looks like a lot of other properties in the neighborhood have changed for the better as well. Love that sweat equity…

  8. hbm-la says:

    I grew up in a house that was never locked. I remember we drove away from my first home without turning over any keys. They were lost. It’s nice to have that sense of security and safety.

  9. JWW says:

    The carriage doors will be a very nice addition to the beautification of 9th St. You had a lot of courage to take pictures early on. During my current restoration (top of 9th, same town) I refused to take pictures of the “before” so my nightmares would not have substance. Thanks for all the positive statements about CVG and NKY over the years, it really is a special place.
    One thing, does it have to be a lesbian bar? Can’t it just be a former bar?

    • Gye Greene says:

      I’m catching your inference — but it’s just an extra layer of description. No better (or worse) than saying “sports bar”, “blues bar” or etc.

      –GG

    • I promise you I don’t use the word “lesbian” in a negative way. For me, it’s the adjective that acknowledges the diversity of the community (many people are surprised there are enough lesbians in the area to support a bar). But your point is taken – I’m not trying to stoke homophobia – and will give it some thought.

      cms

      • After my friend Lucie came out she brought me to her favorite lesbian bar and I had a great time. So for me, “lesbian bar” is quite a positive thing. For Jonathan Richman too: https://youtu.be/XjFU98mEem4

      • Artisanal Facts says:

        You have used the adjective heavily in the past, even though renovation has absolutely nothing to do with the association.

        Presumably anyone could buy a drink there without a lesbian ID card. You description highlights that the patrons weren’t members of your majority group. Haven’t heard you mention a “white bar” or a “straight bar”, since those are “normal”.

        • I totally call BS on your trolling and your fake account.

          The word “bar” is almost meaningless without an adjective. Like the word “school.”

          Dive bar, fern bar, sports bar, yuppie bar, craft beer bar, hipster bar, gay bar. Those have meaning. I use the word “lesbian” in a 100 percent positive manner. Only a troll would turn it upside down.

          This thread is closed.

  10. rons54 says:

    Nice post. Nice doors too.

    I hope a former patron or two stop by the blog or store to see how you have treated the building.

    It’s all about respect. Can’t ask for more than that and you have delivered that in spades, both with the building and in your blog posts about it.

  11. fitz says:

    Pshaw.
    Because Chris won’t show himself working:
    Horse Garage hinge install

  12. Ziggy Liloia says:

    A supportive community makes all the difference. Good work to all involved. It seems to be to be an act of reckless perseverance to bring a building back to life, or create a beautiful space from the ground up.

    On Sat, Nov 25, 2017 at 8:39 PM, Lost Art Press wrote:

    > Lost Art Press posted: ” Thanks entirely to Megan Fitzpatrick and Brendan > Gaffney, the machine room for my workshop is on schedule to be complete by > the end of the year. It feels incredibly good to be typing those words. > When we bought the storefront 26 months ago, I almost l” >

  13. nrhiller says:

    It’s looking wonderful! If it weren’t for your accounts, we would have no idea what a struggle it has been. You make it look entirely doable.

Comments are closed.