Russell George knows Memphis and its music more than anyone. Born and raised here, his parents routinely listened to soul, jazz, and blues – all of which are heard in Earnestine and Hazel’s today. After spending his youth as a dancer, Russell officially started his bar career at the ripe age of 15, when he opened an apartment bar called Jefferson in the Rear. He furthered his career as a restaurateur at Silky’s and Murphy’s and even concocted his own drinks.
In the early ‘90s, after promoting a band called the Icebreakers, Russell was introduced to the building that would become Earnestine & Hazel’s by a fellow nightclub operator and decided to take the gamble to restore it. His decision paid off, as he helped revitalize an area of downtown and now operates one of the coolest dive bars in the country.