Whiskey Bear: ‘Not Just a whiskey bar’

Florence and Daniel Marlow, with their daughter Adelyn, are the creators behind Whiskey Bear. Whiskey Bear is one of the many stalls located in The Barn at Fritz Farm. The Barn is one of Kentucky’s first food halls and shows many small restaurant concepts that are all dedicated to Kentucky traditions. Photos taken at The Barn media day on Friday, September 15, 2017 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Sydney Nash

When Daniel and Florence Marlowe were searching for the perfect name for their bar, they found their answer in an unlikely suspect: their two-year-old daughter, Adelyn.

Whiskey Bear is a bar located in The Barn at the Summit at Fritz Farm, featuring whiskeys from around the world and an impressive cocktail list. Before opening last September, the couple and business partners were faced with the difficult task of renaming their bar. They had to scrap their first choice after a popular brand released a bourbon with a similar name.

Daniel said it was hard to start over. By that time, Adelyn was around a year and a half old.

“Everything was something bear. Daddy bear. Mama bear,” he said.

One day while Daniel and Flo were discussing a new name, Adelyn ran into the room and said, “Whiskey bear.”

“It was very authentic,” Daniel said. “The more we kicked it around, the more we fell in love with it.”

Daniel Marlowe is a Kentucky native and has been working in the restaurant and bar industry since he was 16. His wife, Florence (who commonly goes by Flo) was born in Paris, France, and has a background as a graphic designer. The couple met in Denver, Colorado, over 10 years ago. After deciding to start a family, they moved back to Kentucky to raise their daughter.

When Daniel and Florence saw that The Summit was opening, he said that they were intrigued. Having lived in Colorado and France, they were both familiar with lifestyle centers like The Summit and thought that Lexington would be a receptive market.

With Daniel’s experience in the restaurant industry and Florence’s background in design, they saw what Daniel called, “a unique opportunity to create something special.” The duo were former owners of the restaurant Table 310 on Short Street in Lexington.

Together, they decided to open a whiskey bar. Florence was responsible for graphic and interior design, branding and their website, while Daniel handled operations. Daniel credited his wife for much of the success of the bar.

“She lets me stand out in front and talk to people while she does all the really hard work behind the scenes,” he said.

Whiskey Bear features an extensive list of cocktails and offers taster pours for every spirit sold at the bar. Daniel emphasized that they want to showcase both Kentucky bourbons and whiskeys from around the world.

“We want to start more of a dialogue around bourbon,” he said.

Offering taster pours allows customers to try something new without spending a lot of money. Last year, they had a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 12 Year, which they sold for $15 per half ounce for a taster pour. It sold out in three weeks.

Being located in The Summit also has its perks. The Summit has an “Open Container License,” which means customers can take a drink to go in a branded, plastic cup to enjoy while they shop.

Some of the bar’s most popular cocktail drinks include the Whiskey Bear Smash, a take on a julep with a citrus flair and the Fozzie Bear, which is a classic daiquiri recipe made with an ancho chili rum.

Daniel says the most rewarding part of running Whiskey Bear has been the interaction with the guests.

“People come in and say, ‘Wow, this place is really special.’ That feels very validating for us.”