The Best of Louisville: Drinks

By Vicki Arkoff, June 10, 2019


Bourbons Bistro Drink in the history of Louisville in this proud establishment awarded the “Whisky Bars of the World” Gold Medal from Whisky Magazine. The shrine to bourbon guides true believers through its collection of 130 labels, including a barrel selection program.

Hell or High Water More than 120,000 Mint Juleps are sold at Churchill Downs on Derby weekend, but you can (and should) enjoy them any time of year. On the backside of Whisky Row, this elegant library-esque bar is a perfect spot to chill with a classic sip.

Garage Bar Feeling rowdy? Get your ya-yas out at this fun, loud NuLu bar with a lengthy beer list, fresh oysters, delish wood-fired pizzas and a frisky outdoor space.

Evans Williams Bourbon Experience  A popular stop on the Urban Bourbon Trail is in the heart of old Whisky Row at Sixth and Main. A 45-minute tour teaches you all you need to know about bourbon, then you’re rewarded with a tasting.


Old Seelbach Bar Home of the bourbon-and-bubbly Seelbach Cocktail, this historic drinking spot in the Seelbach Hotel inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” and served hooch for Al Capone in his own private room/poker den.

Goodwood Brewing Co. Explore what’s brewing at more than a dozen artisanal breweries, some within walking distance of hotels, theaters and Museum Row (AKA Whisky Row). Goodwood has good suds and free Saturday night Bluegrass jams.

Holy Grale This craft beer bar answers your drinking prayers in a turn-of-the-century Unitarian Church set in the Victorian neighborhood known as The Highlands. Choose from an extensive international bottle list, 27 taps— including the country’s only La Trappe tap—or a small selection of ciders and wines. Then enjoy the leafy beer garden or throw back a few in the upstairs Choir loft.


Meta This modern and wry South Fourth Street bar is a must for craft cocktails of all kinds. For a clever take on the Old Fashioned, try a High Pant on for size.

The Pearl This casual Germantown hangout is easy on the budget with spin-the-wheel drink deals ranging from $5 artisanal bourbon pours to the one-buck “Dolla Dolla Beer Y’All.”

Quills Coffee Coffee Fest Trade Show voted Quills the nation’s “Best Coffee House” for its fresh, roasted beans. Order a to-go cup for a stroll in Cherokee Park, the best greenspace in town, designed by the same man who created New York’s Central Park.

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