Chevy Chase Inn celebrates the life of Russell ‘Redeye’ Salyer

Chevy Chase Inn celebrates the life of Russell ‘Redeye’ Salyer
Published: Aug. 19, 2023 at 9:58 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Chevy Chase Inn in Lexington held a celebration of life for their longtime bartender, Russell ‘Redeye’ Salyer.

Community members celebrated both the life he led and the legacy he left behind.

“Redeye was not just a bartender. He was the Chevy Chase Inn,” said Kevin Heathcoat, co-owner of the Chevy Chase Inn. “This is the home he built, and for the last 40 years, he has just been the institution here, and this means so much to so many people.”

Salyer ran the historic Lexington bar for more than 40 years before retiring. He passed in July. The day’s celebration included some community staples.

“We’re now celebrating him today in the best way we know how: with chili dogs and bloody mary’s and a big old potluck,” said Heathcoat.

‘Redeye’s’ reach extended far beyond the walls of the inn.

“He actually was an avid reader and for many years they had the Chevy Chase library in the back room,” said Heathcoat. “They would just trade books, all the regulars and Redeye.”

Now, readers can carry on ‘Redeye’s’ love for books in the newly built little library on the inn’s property. It serves as a reminder of a man who filled many roles in his community.

“If you asked somebody what the one word is to describe Russell, some would say surly, some would say a friend,” said Heathcoat. “To all the bartenders, past and present, we’re going to say a father. Russell was a very special man, and today means a lot.”

Donations will be accepted for the book collection at the Lexington Public Library.