Cheers Sippin Gypsy Team Whiskey! This post comes to you while enjoying my Sippin Gypsy Mint Julep inspired by my recent road trip through Bourbon Country an Louisville Kentucky!
I was prepared for by visit to Louisville Kentucky. I had been studying the history of Whiskey, specifically Bourbons through Kentucky and Tennessee. Having grown up in the Midwest myself I was excited to see the beautiful stone buildings of the city and surrounding neighborhoods and picturesque country side and bountiful farmland. I expected impressive bars with a stunning variety of the golden hued spirit native to this city. I poured over travel sites and visitor suggestions for where to go for great cocktails and cuisine in the city. What I was NOT prepared for was the cornucopia of truly incredible and creative food offerings. One definitely needs at least four or five days to truly experience Louisville and the surrounding towns. Between the distilleries to visit, neighborhoods to explore and all the restaurants and bars...this city will fill you up. Some of the places I sought out to visit were also part of the Urban Bourbon Trail which a carefully selected group of bars that offer between 50-150 Bourbons and have a well trained staff that can assist in the education of this beautiful spirit. Here are just a few of my favorite spots in Louisville Kentucky!
1. Lobby Bar at the Brown Hotel
The Brown Hotel is a historic landmark in Louisville. Guests indulging here will find opulent details and a warm and inviting staff. The Lobby Bar is available to everyone, not just guests of the hotel, and is one of the locations of the Urban Bourbon Trail. The bar itself is small, but worth getting in front of one of the knowledgeable bartenders here. If you can stay for a while in the evenings, you may be treated to live piano music and can certainly order food as well. The lounge area is absolutely beautiful. This spot would be a great location for a special occasion.
2. Hell Or High Water
I'm a sucker for Speakeasy style bars. But this location was one of the best. There is no sign indicating the bar, just a small room of eclectic art that you can see through the window and glass door and a hostess calming waiting inside. You either need a reservation or to know the password for her to open the wall of art and guide you down a staircase to the basement of the building and into a beautiful bar and lounge. The cocktails are well crafted and live music plays over in the 'library' part of the lounge. Plush opulent seating booths make it the perfect setting for either a romantic date or a fun girls night out.
3. Butchertown Grocery
As far as cuisine in Louisville Kentucky, Butchertown Grocery amazed me. Everything I ordered was impressive in technique and flavor. The cocktails were well crafted and beautiful and the food was incredible. Everything was absolutely delicious, but I had to award the Oyster Mushroom Gnocchi to my "BEST I'VE EVER HAD!" The place was packed, so I took time to wander the neighborhood and enjoy the architecture of the Shotgun Houses along Washington St. before dinner. The restaurant is rustic chic and the lounge upstairs, Lola, is the perfect spot of a romantic nightcap, swanky and moody. Butchertown Grocery definitely needs to be on your 'to do' list for Louisville.
I think if I were to live in Louisville...I would live in the Butchertown neighborhood. Naive was another great spot for great cuisine and cocktails in this charming part of Louisville. This is the type of restaurant that I would love to see replicated in every city around the world. Their commitment to local and sustainable and quality in delivery and presentation amazed me. Everything was so flavorful and creative. My only regret is that I didn't have a bigger stomach to try more! Naive is another 'must do' in Louisville.
5. Proof on Main
This bar had me intrigued from the moment I read about it. Bold and eclectic... From the art that adorns the wall to the creative cocktails and impressive bourbon selection, Proof on Main will forever stay in my memory. This bar is adjacent to the 21c Hotel Louisville with it's own impressive art gallery and fun approach to a hotel's contribution to your travel experience. Don't be too quick to grab a seat at the bar right away...order your drink and stroll through the bar and hotel art gallery. Proof on Main is an experience from sip to sight.
Louisville continued to delight with yet another posh spot for delicious food and well crafted cocktails at Rye. Nestled along a trendy up and coming location along Market St., Rye was another great find that left my mouth happy and belly way too full. This would be a great spot for a casual but nice dinner and definitely a must do for cocktails.
7. The Lounge in The Angel's Envy Distillery
When visiting Bourbon Country, one must tour at least one distillery or storehouse. One of my personal favorite bourbons is Angel's Envy, so it was a give in to visit their downtown distillery and learn more about the brand and the family. I love to support small, local and family owned businesses. It was inspiring hearing about the vision Lincoln Henderson and his son Wes have put into action with the Angel's Envy brand. After your tour of the Angels Envy Distillery, you can relax in the lounge and enjoy creative seasonal cocktails in a rustic but swanky bar. Consider trying the Cocktail Craft Tour where not only do you tour the distillery, but you also learn how to make a cocktail!
8. Art Eatables
I found heaven. It's in a charming little shop in downtown Louisville. There are rows and rows of the smoothest chocolates artfully infused with bourbon. Not only was the shop itself a true gem, with vintage details, but the staff is amazing and proud of their delicious creations and their town. They respectfully pay homage to the great bourbon labels and creatively display the spirit of honor beside each tasty option. This is where you should stock up on gifts and souvenirs!
Harvest was the first farm to table restaurant I uncovered when planning my trip to Louisville. When I arrived into town, everyone had such great things to say about this spot, I was so looking forward to trying Harvest. So delicious. I have really come to appreciate business that commit to supporting local farmers and offering an ever changing menu that offers fresh in season produce. It was truly an added bonus that the cocktails were also delicious and of course respected the local spirit and labels.
Lover of travel to charming places dusted with unique flavor. Join me as I explore the world sip by sip. Cheers!