Keith Weaver opened the doors to Humble Baron, the Guinness Book of Records certified it the “World’s Longest Bar” on March 23 with over 8000 people from all backgrounds in attendance. The captivating and historic bar sits on the same land as Nearest Green Distillery— inspired by Nathan “Nearest” Green, the first African-American master distiller on U.S. record who taught Jack Daniel how to make whiskey.
Born and raised in South Los Angeles and the product of two hard-working entrepreneurs, Weaver, and his family eventually moved to the affluent neighborhood of Baldwin Hills. Although he experienced great joy during his childhood, he reveals the household also experienced physical and emotional turmoil that culminated in divorce.
The relationship his parents endured is a stark contrast to the “loving, amazing relationship” he has built with his wife, Fawn, with whom he co-founded Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey.
Humble Baron, Weaver’s latest project, expands on the success of Uncle Nearest and Nearest Green Distillery.
Weaver shares that his complex background fueled his creativity and inspired the concept of Humble Baron. He anthropomorphized that life experience into a cocktail nostalgically named Glenfort Street after his former home. “It’s got Uncle Nearest 84, sweet vermouth, coffee liquor, Campari, chili bitters. Just through those descriptions, you get a bit of sweet and savory, happy and sad—and that is how I grew up.”
The California native translated his amalgamation of real-world experiences to create an unforgettable guest experience. With everything from gastronomy to mixology and décor to entertainment, Weaver wants each patron to enjoy everything Humble Baron offers.
As a first step, Weaver leverages the sprawling, rural, and historic property to entice visitors to Tennessee. After picturing the longest bar in the world, he insisted on producing a menu full of beverage, food and entertainment offerings presented in an elevated way. Next came the serpentine-shaped bar, strategically implemented to create an ambiance where patrons can connect with the space and interact with the staff and each other with fluidity.
“At Humble Baron, everyone has a seat at the table,” states Weaver. The omission of the overhead cabinetry offers an immersive experience with sightlines to focus on whether people work for Humble Baron, are fellow patrons or recording artists and performers onstage.
Thanks to Weaver’s connections in the entertainment industry, Humble Baron has a built-in network to tap into. “Because we are also an entertainment venue, whenever you hear an artist or genre you are interested in, whoever is on that stage, whether you know them or not, is at a level where they could win a Grammy.”
“We conceived of the sound engineering and design and that music experience with the team that built much of Paisley Park for Prince,” Weaver gushes. The space is outfitted with a state-of-the-art sound system, a massive stage and a high-definition video wall that lifts into the ceiling.
He continues, “Behind that is a glass wall that also lifts into the ceiling, and there is a corresponding stage at the rear of the property where music artists can perform and entertain up to 15,000 guests.”
How Humble Baron Got its Name
As a senior-level movie entertainment executive in Los Angeles, the Uncle Nearest co-founder has become accustomed to a particular way of being received. As Weaver and Fawn ventured into the beverage business, he began traveling to Tennessee. After catching long red-eye flights and changing clothes, he’d work at a distillery pulling weeds, picking up trash and scooping horse manure.
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In some cases, the work was grueling (especially while working a full-time job), but it was necessary. After a while of this practice, Weaver looked at his wife and asked, “Aren’t I a whiskey baron now?” She replied, “No dear, but you are a humble baron.”
A Heralded Team
Chef G. Garvin, a friend and culinary master, works with Weaver to design an unpretentious and delectable seasonal bar menu. According to Weaver, “Everything needs to be a hit.” They then locked in their executive chef, Jay Craddick and their mixology expert, DeAndre Jackson, the winner of the Uncle Nearest Cocktail Contest in 2021.
Weaver’s advice for attracting top-tier talent, “I think when you’re doing things that are super interesting and unparalleled, and dare I say exciting, people are willing to make some changes and respond to that energy.”
He continues, “That ability to take a big swing and be a part of excellence, or Black excellence, is part of the ethos of everything we do.”
Understanding the Value of Philanthropy
To highlight the importance of the role that Historical Black Colleges and universities (HBCUs) play in society, the Weavers have created the HBCU Old Fashioned Challenge, where they partner with other bars and restaurants to raise $1 million to contribute to providing greater exposure to the significant yet severely underfunded schools.With Uncle Nearest currently being the only major Black-owned spirit company in the world and Humble Baron within it, the Weavers strive to provide a best-in-class experience as they continue to build their hospitality kingdom. The best part of the space being so large is that Humble Baron can foster inclusivity and host large groups of people in a very accommodating, exciting and comfortable way.
Weaver has big dreams to host events at the space, including brunches and immersive movie nights where patrons can indulge in cocktails and trivia while enjoying surround sound. It is something he’s excited about—to have a space that evolves in fun and intriguing ways.
During the opening of Humble Baron, the eclectic mix of music appealed to all sorts of musical palettes, including jazz, country, rock, and a gospel brunch. According to Weaver, the R&B day party hosted by Kenny Burns of the Kenny Burns Show evolved into a Grown and Sexy Day Party, “and everything that goes along with that—and the people loved it!”
As Weaver builds upon creating a memorable and inclusive experience for the patrons that flock to his stunning establishment, Humble Baron will undoubtedly become the crème de la creme of reasons to visit Tennessee and revel in Black excellence.
To keep up with Keith Weaver, the creative mastermind and visionary behind Humble Baron, follow the Humble Baron Bar and Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey on Instagram, visit the website at www.humblebaron.com and consider contributing to HBCU Old Fashioned Challenge linked in the article above.