New book recounts intoxicating history of notorious Chevy Chase Inn

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Esther Marr


Author Sarah Razor conducted over 30 hours of interviews while researching her book.

In August 2011, as the early morning hours crept upon the Chevy Chase Inn on Euclid Avenue, Sarah Razor had an epiphany for her first book. Standing in the doorway of the “CCI,” she observed the scene as people casually milled around the musty bar and relished the live music that continued into the wee hours.

“It was so apparent to me that the businesses district along Euclid is really the heart of Chevy Chase,” said Razor, 30, herself a patron of CCI for nearly a decade. “In particular, Lexingtonians have such deep loyalty and affinity for CCI. I thought this book would be a great way to document why people love this bar, as well as pay tribute to the neighborhood and the people who have been a part of that throughout the bar’s 80-year history.”

Smiley Pete Publishing is the publisher of the coffee table-style book, entitled “Chevy Chase Inn: Tall Tales and Cold Ales from Lexington’s Oldest Bar.” (Smiley Pete Publishing is also the parent company for this magazine.)

With a release date of July 19, Razor has realized her dream less than two years after her initial idea was born.

Originally from Winchester, Razor now resides in Lexington with her husband, Sam, and their two daughters.

Throughout her book, Razor documents the humble history of the CCI through more than 300 photographs, as well as colorful commentary from the patrons, bar owners, bartenders and musicians that frequented the establishment over the years.

The bar, which opened in 1933 following Prohibition and was first named the Blue Goose, was one of the initial businesses in the neighborhood and is one of the only ones to stand the test of time.

It took Razor about nine months to do the research, write and gather photos for her book, and four months to edit the project. The finished product reflects more than 30 hours of interviews with dozens of people with different affiliations with the bar.

“The book would not have even been possible without Roger Bondurant and Ronn Crowder, who are the regular musicians who play at the bar,” said Razor, who also collected historical information about the Chevy Chase neighborhood from old newspaper articles and library archives. “And there were many patrons who put down their drinks to humor me with an interview. All of the surrounding business owners and the children of previous owners of CCI were very supportive and helpful.”

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