Louisville’s Whiskey Row is the place the large children who love whiskey go to play. The entire idea of a “whiskey row” is fairly self-explanatory on the floor — there are a number of distilleries lined up alongside Predominant Avenue over rather less than two miles of highway — however past these whiskey experiences, there are additionally hidden bars, loads of good meals, and hotels value splurging for. You positively want a travel guide to navigate all of it.
As we speak, I’m diving deep into Whiskey Row (and some spots proper off of it). I’m together with distillery experiences and the very best locations to eat, drink, and sleep, plus a number of hidden gems thrown in for good measure. It needs to be famous that Whiskey Row is a part of the larger downtown Louisville space, so there are tons of different venues, eating places, and bars outdoors of the Row. However as worthy as these spots are, I’ll save them for a broader journey information to town — I’m conserving this laser-focused on the whiskey.
Let’s dive in!
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PART I — The Whiskey
Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co., 120 N tenth St.
Beginning on the far west finish of Predominant Avenue, you’ll discover Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. — the very best place to start out your Whiskey Row expertise. The distillery is the place the whole lot occurs for Peerless whiskey from mashing to distilling to growing older to bottling. It is a actual working distillery (that’s not one hundred pc true of loads of the opposite whiskey “experiences” on the Row) and also you’re more likely to see the Grasp Distiller really making the whiskey you’ll style after your tour.
Can’t Miss Alternative:
The distillery tour could be very small, as Peerless continues to be a small-ish craft operation. And whereas that’s completely value doing, what you actually need to do is get the in-house tasting of their tasting room and purchase a distillery-only bottle from the present store.
The bottle store could have restricted releases and particular single-barrel expressions you merely can not get elsewhere. The tasting room expertise will stroll you thru Peerless’ award-winning and scrumptious rye and bourbon whiskeys with a tasting skilled guiding your each sip.
Distillery excursions value between $15 and $28 and run Monday via Saturday at 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, and a couple of:30.
Tastings value between $10 and $18 and run Monday via Thursday at 1:45, 3:45, and 4:45, and Friday at 1:45 and three:45.
Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery, 801 W Predominant St.
Persevering with west on Predominant Avenue, you’re going to hit Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery subsequent. This micro-distillery and present store is positioned in one in all downtown Louisville’s greatest preserved historic buildings.
The precise distillery is a small operation with three small, wood mash tanks and two stills. The second you stroll into the place, you’ll be able to odor the grains fermenting within the again. A number of alternative barrels are aged on-site as nicely. That every one stated, this can be a vacationer expertise — the complete distillery is out in Shivley (West Louisville) and closed to the general public.
Can’t Miss Alternative:
What you’ll need to do at Fort Nelson is fill your very personal bottle of Fort Nelson Michter’s Barrel Power Bourbon straight from a barrel. For that, you’ll must take the Legacy Tour ($100), which is 2 hours, and features a tasting with Michter’s 20-12 months Single Barrel Bourbon (!), and the chance to additionally fill a barrel of whiskey on website.
Principally, you’re getting an opportunity to each pattern a $200 pour at any high-end whiskey bar and stroll away with a bespoke bottle from the distillery. That’s unbeatable.
The excursions final one, one-and-a-half, and two hours and price $20 to $100, relying on the tour. Excursions run Wednesday via Saturday each hour between 11 am and 4 pm and Sundays between 1 pm to 4 pm. Every tour comes with a tasting on the finish.
Evan Williams Bourbon Expertise, 528 W Predominant St.
Evan Williams is without doubt one of the most cost-effective whiskey on the cabinets, so this is likely to be the must-stop for each bourbon lover on the market. The Expertise is true in the midst of the Row and one of many busier stops (there are typically traces to get in).
As soon as inside, the cease is an element whiskey store, half museum, half bar, and half micro-distillery. The mini-distillery is form of there for present (the true distillery is out in Bardstown and completely definitely worth the drive down), however whiskey is being made behind the glass as you’re guided via the place. As with all of those excursions, the ultimate cease is the vacation spot of alternative — it’s the place the tasting is.
Can’t Miss Alternative:
Whereas this sounds fairly easy, Evan Williams Bourbon Expertise has some critical selection on the subject of the excursions and tastings. You will get a tour that ends with a charcuterie and whiskey pairing expertise, a speak-easy expertise in a hidden bar, or a cocktail course.
What you actually need to be sure you do is hit the On3 Bar. Since Evan Williams is a part of the bigger Heaven Hill household, you’ll be capable of discover critical pours behind this bar. You may seize a number of Outdated Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond expressions, Parker’s Heritage pours, and the primary expressions from Elijah Craig, Larceny, and, naturally, Evan Williams, plus a number of true gems you’ll should be savvy sufficient to ask about.
Lastly, don’t overlook to seize a bottle of Evan Williams 12-12 months from the bottle store in your method out. You may’t get it outdoors of Kentucky and it is likely to be their greatest expression.
Excursions and tasting value between $18 and $85 and final 45 minutes, one hour, and two hours. The excursions run from Tuesday to Thursday from 11 am to 4 pm, Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm, and Sunday from 1 pm to 4 pm.
Outdated Forester Distilling Co., 119 W Predominant St.
Outdated Forester Distilling Co. is one other cease that can seemingly have a line out the door, particularly if there was a particular whiskey drop that day. The distillery inside is definitely worth the wait, even when it’s a microcosm of the bigger Brown-Forman facility (additionally out in West Louisville in Shivley).
The tour is a stable stroll via each step of the method of whiskey making. The large ripple right here is the on-site cooperage. You stroll via each step of the barrel-making course of from stave choice to charring the barrel. It’s a novel expertise for Whiskey Row and provides to the already nice tour. Naturally, all of this ends with a tasting and cocktail expertise.
Can’t Miss Alternative:
The Nothing Higher In The Market Tour ($70) has the very best tasting on the subject of Outdated Forester whiskey. The lineup could be very high-end and contains Outdated Forester’s famed and fleeting Birthday Bourbon. Since that is without doubt one of the rarest (and spendiest) bourbons on the market, you can’t miss an opportunity to attempt a pour.
Excursions run between $32 and $70 and final about 90 minutes with a tasting. The excursions function day by day and hourly between 10 am and 5 pm. Be warned although that a number of days are booked up months prematurely. So plan forward.
Outdated Carter Whiskey, 105 W Market St.
Outdated Carter isn’t a distillery a lot because it’s a bottle store for among the finest bottlers within the recreation proper now. The “store” is in a historic constructing and actually is an insider-only spot.
You’re going to should comply with Old Carter’s social media to search out out when their Pop Up bottle outlets open at this location. In case you are on the town on the proper time, you’ll be capable of purchase a few of the most sought-after sourced bottlings within the recreation proper now. The precise location can be an ideal, old-school whiskey bar-style location that oozes whiskey lounge.
Can’t Miss Alternative:
Hitting up a pop-up bottle launch is a should should you’re on the town. You’re solely allowed one bottle per particular person however you’ll stroll away with an ideal bottle of whiskey you received’t be capable of get wherever else (not for retail costs anyway).
You may go to by appointment solely or on pop-up days, which differ.
Angel’s Envy Distillery, 500 E Predominant St.
On the far east finish of Predominant Avenue, you’ll discover Angel’s Envy Distillery. The distillery is the most important distillery location on the Row with a totally working distillery and warehouse proper on the town, throughout the road from a minor league baseball stadium.
The distillery was constructed right into a historic warehouse the place the crew at Angel’s Envy created an industrial cathedral to all issues whiskey. The excursions vary from taking you thru the “cathedral” which overlooks the distilling ground to a tour on the ground the place you’ll be able to really feel (and see) the whiskey getting made.
The entire expertise is brilliant and shining and really new. It is a huge facility that feels such as you’re strolling via a vacation spot and never only a manufacturing unit for whiskey. There’s additionally an ideal bar and loads of area to savor the juice.
Can’t Miss Alternative:
The whiskey tastings on the finish are the true deal with right here. There’s an ideal, however small, whiskey and chocolate pairing that’s positively value it because it leans into Angel Envy’s total vibe. After that, seize a bespoke cocktail from the bar and let all of it wash over you.
Whiskey excursions value $20 to $25 and run on Mondays and Wednesdays via Saturdays from 10 am to five pm and on Sundays from 1 pm to five pm.
Rabbit Gap Distillery, 711 E Jefferson St.
We’ve made it to the official finish of the whiskey tour and we’re technically off of Whiskey Row (nevertheless it nonetheless counts!). Rabbit Gap is one other model new distillery expertise proper in the midst of town. The distillery is a mixture of fashionable and road artwork and a full-on distillery and growing older facility, which makes it one of many cooler locations within the metropolis.
The distillery could be very modernist and expansive with some of the interactive experiences on Whiskey Row. It’s additionally the form of place you form of what to only hang around at a get a drink. Taking a tour is enjoyable, nevertheless it’s not the one factor to do — the entire place is a vibe.
Can’t Miss Alternative:
The tour and tasting are positively the draw however don’t sleep on the Over Look bar. You’ll find yourself right here for a five-dram tasting of the core line. Keep for some cocktails and benefit from the view. Then be certain to peruse the art collection all through the distillery for a little bit of tradition outdoors of whiskey.
Excursions and tastings value $20 to $25 and final 30 to 60 minutes. They run Tuesday via Saturday from 10 am to five pm.
PART II — The Meals
Repeal Oak-Fired Steakhouse, 101 W Predominant St.
Repeal might be the one place you must eat at whereas in Louisville on Whiskey Row. That is the very best of what Kentucky has to supply from excellent steaks cooked over fires fueled with outdated whiskey oak staves to the very best wedge salad within the recreation to what I declare are the very best dinner rolls within the nation (fermented for per week earlier than they’re baked!).
Repeal additionally showcases some wonderful seafood with a killer oyster menu of baked and uncooked oysters. It’s value noting Louisville has an ideal seafood scene due to it being UPS’s hub. Meaning all of the seafood from every coast stops in Louisville earlier than it goes in every single place else within the nation. That, in flip, signifies that Left Coast and East Coast fish and shellfish are brisker in Louisville than, say, Chicago as a result of irrespective of the place it’s headed, it stops in Louisville first.
Anyway, Repeal additionally has a killer bar scene with some critically nice cocktail mixers working tirelessly to make you the proper sipper when you wait in your dinner rolls, oysters, and steak.
Can’t Miss Dish:
The Oysters Rockefeller is a straightforward win. Bacon creamed spinach and bread crumbs are accented with absinthe and baked over medium. However I’m going with the Iceberg Wedge because the decide (although the French Onion Gratinée soup can be killer).
The Wedge is an enormous quarter head of iceberg that’s mild and completely salted coated in an enormous slab of in-house-cured and smoked bacon, gorgonzola crumbles, tomato, cucumber, pickled onion, and a buttermilk dressing with a hard-boiled egg. It’s a wedge amped as much as its excessive. It’s additionally a full meal by itself.
Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen, 122 W Predominant St.
Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen might be essentially the most enjoyable you’ll have whereas consuming and ingesting on the Row. The bar/restaurant is true throughout the road from each Repeal and Outdated Forester. It’s an open indoor area with a good-sized out of doors patio. There’s a killer bar with an ideal workers who can sense what your orderis going to be because the night time wears on. Make certain to pattern the barrel picks from behind the bar, particularly should you’re on the lookout for a particular pour from Wild Turkey or Buffalo Hint.
The meals menu is an inventory of traditional Midwest-meets-Southern classics. Candy potato casserole, baked mac and cheese, and cornbread all make appearances alongside pulled pork, fried hen, and “dunked” Cuban sandwiches.
Can’t Miss Dish:
You can’t sleep on Merle’s fried hen. The entire half-fried hen is the way in which to go should you’re planning to share. It’s a complete half of a hen that’s battered and deep fried after which drizzled with scorching honey. It’s just about excellent bar-food fried hen and pairs awesomely with a tall boy of Coors Banquet and a pour of the Buffalo Hint Bourbon barrel decide.
The Bar at Fort Nelson, 801 W Predominant St.
The Bar at Fort Nelson is the bar above the Michter’s distillery. This place is particular and also you’ll must name forward for a desk. At first, the workers is amazingly nicely educated. They’ve that particular bar-sense of figuring out how a lot consideration to present you and when, whereas conserving one hundred pc cool and picked up even when slammed. Subsequent, they make their very own enormous blocks of ice and course of them into various-sized cubes, orbs, and crushed ice within the again. This makes for a massively higher cocktail-making expertise as block ice holds the chilly higher with out over-diluting drinks.
Then there’s the setting. It is a chill bar with a contact of Belle Epoque meets Misplaced Era vibe in a really snug setting. The fermenting malts from the distillery under waft as much as the bar, creating a way of place. Lastly, you will get a pour of some critically uncommon Michter’s expressions right here… for a worth.
Can’t Miss Drink:
I’m keen on the Boulevardier. It’s served up with a big ice ball. It’s the proper mixture of Campari, Michter’s whiskey, and candy vermouth with a few particular touches to raise it.
From there, you may need to think about your checking account earlier than you dive into the 20 and 25-year pours of Michter’s.
Hell or Excessive Water, 112 W Washington St.
Louisville is filled with hidden bars behind no-descript doorways. It’s a city that fits secret speakeasies. Hell or Excessive Water is a well known and well-hidden speakeasy proper on Predominant Avenue.
The bar — which requires a reservation nicely prematurely — is unattainable to search out should you’re simply on the lookout for it. As soon as inside, you’ll be handled to a luxurious library of booze with huge velvet cubicles, outdated leather-based wingback chairs, and a bar menu second to none.
Can’t Miss Drink:
I’m keen on the My Oh Mai!, which is a bourbon tackle a Mai Tai with loads of rum too. It’s tropical, boozy, and filled with nuttiness that performs properly with the Outdated Forester 1920 on the base of the drink.
As with all bars like this in Louisville, there’s an unbelievable whiskey bottle record as nicely.
Third Avenue Dive, 442 S third St.
That is simply off Whiskey Row (by lower than a block) and price hitting up after the opposite bars shut — loads of Louisville closes down by 11 pm (or earlier). That is after hours with bands, karaoke, and bacchanal each night time, however particularly on the weekends. It’s additionally a dive bar so it’s extremely low cost to drink right here. Fundamental pictures and bottles of beer are a few bucks every.
The decor is an uber-dive bar with chalk graffiti in every single place, pinball within the again, a cool pool desk, and neon in every single place. It’s a dive bar, you get it.
Can’t Miss Drink:
A beer and shot. That is the place the tattooed and pierced crowd go after they’d their dinner and cocktails so don’t anticipate fancy except it’s somebody belting out the track on karaoke night time.
PART III — The Resorts
21c Museum Resort Louisville, 700 W Predominant St.
21c Museum Resort might be your greatest wager for slightly tradition subsequent to nice meals (Proof on Predominant within the foyer is a must-stop for brunch or cocktails) and comfortable rooms.
The resort is true in the midst of Whiskey Row, making the whole lot on this information inside strolling distance. The foyer is a small artwork exhibit hooked up to a bigger set up/full-on museum that rotates via artwork seasonally. The rooms are bespoke however easy — actually, that is the place the cool children go to take selfies subsequent to artwork, which means the bedrooms should not the true draw.
The general vibe is younger and hip from the foyer to the bar to the rooms. There’s a full-sized golden statue of David outdoors, which tells you that this can be a place to be seen.
Rooms begin at $188 per night time for a Deluxe King.
Resort Distil, Autograph Assortment, 101 W Predominant St.
Resort Distil is the resort hooked up to Repeal listed above. It is a boutique resort with one other nice location proper in the midst of the motion. Should you’re planning on simply specializing in Whiskey Row in your journey to Louisville, you received’t should lease a automobile should you keep right here.
The resort has an ideal foyer scene due to the bar at Repeal overflowing into Distil’s precise foyer. You will get drinks from Repeal and sit within the overstuffed chairs within the foyer and chat should you like. The foyer additionally serves chilly pours of free bourbon on the weekend evenings round 6 pm. Count on one thing like JTS Brown Bourbon.
A fantastic bar with free whiskey within the foyer? I believe you’re bought.
As for the remainder, the rooms are barely company however plush with nice facilities. The resort can be tremendous canine pleasant with welcome baskets in your pup, which is a pleasant contact. The beds are very snug and the facilities are top-notch as nicely, however not mind-blowing. It’s an ideal resort, not a luxurious resort.
What is mind-blowing is the bar cart you will get delivered to your room. It’ll have tremendous uncommon bottles like Pappy 10-12 months and Eagle Uncommon 17-12 months on there. The bar cart could have the whole lot you should pour the proper dram or combine up the proper cocktail, nevertheless it’s going to value you.
Count on to pay $250 per night time for a King Room.
The Hidden Gems
Justins’ Home of Bourbon, 101 W Market St.
Justins’ House of Bourbon is a multi-faceted cease. One facet is the wonderful bottle store that’s the guts of the institution. That is the place you get all of the bottles you’ll be able to’t discover at residence or aren’t prepared to face in a two-day-long line for. Justins’ can be among the finest locations within the nation to attain a dusty (outdated bottle from a bygone period). Once more, these should not low cost, however should you’re a collector/investor, that is most likely going to be the place the place you spend essentially the most time (and cash).
Past the bottle store, there’s additionally a really unassuming-but-great bar in the midst of all of it. You will get a critical cocktail whereas considering that $500 bottle of Outdated Crow from the Sixties. You too can get a pour of some critical whiskey starting from old-school Pappy to fashionable gems that flew below the radar. The very best wager is to get a flight of whiskeys. The Weller flight covers all of the expressions and is simply $35. That’s a steal.
After which there’s the tasting room which leads us to…
The Hidden Gem:
The true hidden gem of this place is the hidden whiskey tasting room behind a wall of whiskeys in the primary room. Should you plan forward and plan to purchase some actual bottles, you’ll be able to ask for a personal tasting with one in all Justin’s skilled workers members (everybody who works here’s a true professional). You’ll get to select a handful of bottles and also you’ll be guided via a historic tasting of a few of the greatest bourbons ever made. There’s nothing else fairly prefer it in America.
Doc’s Bourbon Room, 129 W Predominant St.
Doc’s Bourbon Room, hooked up to Doc Crow’s restaurant is a kind of locations that looks as if a reasonably commonplace whiskey bar on the floor. There’s a protracted bar up entrance and loads of seating that stretches towards a backroom. Like Justins’ above, that is open to the general public. Hell, they even serve an ideal brunch each morning.
Within the evenings, this place can get hopping as nicely. Individuals within the know drop in for a chew (Doc Crow’s subsequent door is one other nice Southern-ish Kentucky restaurant) and a pour. The black partitions are adorned with what looks as if limitless bottles, which leads us to…
The Hidden Gem:
That is the most important assortment of whiskeys on a single menu in all of Kentucky and so they’re what beautify the place. All of these cabinets and cabinets of whiskey on the partitions from each nook of the world are on the menu, which is — watch for it — FIFTY-EIGHT eight-by-eleven pages lengthy. Their whiskey record goes so deep that they’ve a piece for “undisclosed” whiskeys that can not be categorized.
Whereas bourbon and rye are the focus in every single place else, that is the place you go for all of it. All of the whiskeys are right here and able to pour — which means it’s an ideal probability to check numerous kinds.