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Midtown Memphis has a new neighborhood corner bar.

At the corner on Cooper and Peabody, the bar sits next door to Cafe 1912 and is the latest endeavor by longtime Memphis restaurateur Kevin Keough.

Bar Keough is small and cozy. Casual tables line the walls, offering seating for about 30. The centerpiece is a red-topped bar that seats 10. Keough re-did the space himself, spending time to make it just right.

It’s all about the classics at Bar Keough. “We are old school here,” Keough said. “Don’t expect to find rosemary in a drink here.”

Over the weekend, Keough gave a sneak peek of his new bar, which he jokingly referred to as the new “neighborhood clubhouse.”

The bar was full, lights were dimmed, and 1980s tunes blared from a vintage 1979 jukebox. It felt like the bar had been a neighborhood fixture for years, not a spot that was brand new.

The drink menu hangs on the wall and, like the drinks, even the menu is old school — an adjustable letter board set in a retro hanging case.

Classics like Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, Gimlets and Singapore Slings are a few of the options. Even 1980s throwbacks like Sex on the Beach and White Russians are part of the offerings. When was the last time you saw those drinks on a bar menu? Wine and beer are also available.

The eats are what Keough describes as “European bar food.” Items like prosciutto and brie tartines, fried artichoke hearts with lemon aioli and french fries are a few of the offerings. The dishes are meant to be snacks, not entrees.

Keough also owns Cafe Keough on South Main Street, a casual eatery featuring light breakfast and lunch fare in a historic downtown building.

He started his career in the restaurant industry back in 1988 when he joined Karen Carrier’s team at Automatic Slim’s. He went on to help her open The Beauty Shop before opening his own restaurant in 2013.

Glenn Hayes, who owns Cafe 1912 and the property, had approached Keough a few times over the years about doing something in the space. This past year, the request came at the right time. Things at Cafe Keough are “sailing straight,” Keough said, making him think it was time to do something else, too.

“I really like smaller bars. Like the ones in older cities like San Francisco, New Orleans and Dublin — these tight spaces create different atmospheres,” explained Keough of his decision to open a bar in the 1,400-square-foot corner building.

Jennifer Chandler is the Food & Dining reporter at The Commercial Appeal. She can be reached at jennifer.chandler@commercialappeal.com, and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cookwjennifer.

Photograph Copyright: Ariel Cobbert, Commercial Appeal