Hotel and jazz bar planned in downtown Louisville, inspired by legendary Joe's Palm Room

Joe's Palm Room opened in 1954 when Joe Hammond purchased it as a jazz club and renamed it.

It survived racial segregation and rezoning under urban renewal — an oasis of Black entrepreneurship in the West End's Russell neighborhood. 

"It was a place where people did business. They talked politics, they talked about the social challenges in the community," Butch Mosby, a Louisville native and entrepreneur said.

Mosby described Hammond's story as was one of influence and success in an environment that encouraged neither in Black people. Mosby says he wants to reinvest in Louisville by bringing Hammond's entrepreneurial spirit back in a big way.

He plans to turn the old Bank of Louisville building in the 500 block of West Broadway into a $54 million hotel, all inspired by Hammond's legacy.

Mosby and his partners have procured more than $50 million for the project and are in the final stages of assembling the last few million dollars to make the project a reality. Louisville architectural firm Luckett & Farley designed the interior.

The hotel will include a Hammond-themed restaurant in the first-floor lobby area and a jazz bar and live music club in its basement. The hotel is backed by InterContinental Hotels Group as an Indigo Hotel, a boutique hotel collection in which each hotel is inspired by the community it’s housed in. 

Mosby said the hotel will go beyond the aesthetic and entertainment of Joe's Palm Room.

"It's not about the jazz club," Mosby said. "It's about Joe Hammond the man, and why did he become successful."

For the last couple of years, Mosby and his team have studied Hammond and his impact on the community. They interviewed Hammond's friends and employees, his business partners and the musicians who played his club.

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