Bell County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 28,691. Its county seat is Pineville. The county was formed August 1, 1867, from parts of Knox and Harlan Counties and augmented from Knox County in 1872. The county is named for Joshua Fry Bell, and was originally called "Josh Bell" but shortened to "Bell" by 1880.
Bell County is considered a "limited" county, a special type of dry county, by the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). In a standard dry county, all sales of alcoholic beverages are prohibited. Under ABC terminology, a limited county is an otherwise dry county in which at least one city has approved the sale of alcohol by the drink at restaurants that both seat a state-mandated number of diners and derive no more than 30% of their revenue from alcoholic beverages. In the case of Bell County, Pineville has voted to allow alcohol by the drink in restaurants that seat at least 100 diners.
The Middlesborough, KY Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Bell County.