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Hey, kids, let’s catch some live country music in Bethesda!
OK, that sounds absurd. The Land of 1,000 Restaurants is hardly compatible with anything Opry, right? But in living memory, downtown Bethesda was home to an authentic country joint, the Red Fox Inn, as this photograph from the Nuttycombe Archives® attests. (Click image for a larger view.)
Located on Fairmont Avenue next to an auto parts store (something else you won’t find in the tony suburb these days), the Red Fox was a shotgun shack-style bar featuring live country, country-rock, and bluegrass music most nights of the week. Indeed, the tiny club was the first home base for the Seldom Scene, and in 1975, Emmylou Harris was playing on the small stage in the front window when Warner Bros. came calling with a record contract.
Today, as with the rest of Bethesda, the honky-tonk past is well hidden—behind the ivy and topiary of chi-chi Positano Ristorante. (Click image for a larger view.) Indeed, a City Paper Restaurant Finder Rater wrote that the restaurant’s interior “is decorated to feel like you are eating on a friendly Italian neighborhood street.” So I’m guessing the place doesn’t still offer pitchers of Blue Ribbon? Let’s all sing one of Emmylou’s songs from her first album, shall we? “Tonight the bottle let me down /And let your memory come around…”