Issue April 29, 2008

Nightlife Guide 2008: The Buzz List: 49 things we love about Louisville’s bars

Bar Guide 2008
A few years back, I was in London (England, you wanker) and tried some of the fabled absinthe. The stuff reputedly induces hallucinations, and sure enough, a rabid creature soon clawed at my door. Turns out it was Amy Winehouse looking for a smoke …

Absinthe. Beer. Whiskey. Games. Drink specials. Kentucky Derby — it’s time for LEO’s annual Bar Guide (uh, Nightlife Guide), because going out is about so much more than mere bars. We list 358 watering holes, the places that help make our lives livelier and bearable.

We sent the curious and inimitable Jim Welp into the trenches to check on the recent U.S. legalisation (British spelling, thank you) of absinthe. Sure it’s mean, and green, but is this watered down version worth its weight in trippiness? Don’t count on it.

The thrust of this year’s guide is “The Buzz List” — 49 things we Love about Louisville’s bars. Why 49? Because my freelancers just couldn’t muster one more item … they were pulling their Amy Winehouse act.
Still, we hope this list rings true with your own experiences — and we hope you get inspired to seek new adventures, whether it’s ThursGay Night at the Pink Door or scheduling your annual at the Mag Bar. It’s your party. —Sara Havens


BY JAY DITZER, STEPHEN GEORGE, KEVIN GIBSON, SARA HAVENS, MAT HERRON, BRENT OWEN, KEVIN M. WILSON

Last Call @ 4 a.m.

    A rapid web surf found only two states with later last calls — Alaska (5 a.m.) and Nevada (never). We’re tied with both New York and Illinois. Who knew Louisville had such a seedy reputation? We did, of course. Makes it tough if you have to work in the morning — but it’s all about pacing, my friends. —SH

Half-Off Nights @ 60 West Bistro & Martini Bar
(3939 Shelbyville Road, 426-3354)
    The odds of you drinking for half the price at this posh St. Matthews martini bar are in your favor. 60 West has half-price specials four nights a week — so if I remember my math correctly (bear with me), 4 out of 7 ain’t bad. On Wednesdays and Fridays, you’ll find half-price wine nights from a fairly extensive menu that ranges from $22-$80. And on Thursdays and Saturdays, it’s half-price martinis — and 60 West has more than 100 to choose from. Pick your passion, drink double. —SH

Shower Curtain Bathrooms @ Air Devil’s Inn
(2802 Taylorsville Road, 454-4092)
    This Bowman Field bar has been around since 1934 — so what do you expect? Cold beer? Yes. Low prices? Sure. Badass bartenders? Got ’em. But a decent bathroom ADI is lacking. It’s all good, though. When you’re drinking to forget, do you really care where you sit your bum? —SH

Pours @ The Back Door
(1250 Bardstown Road, 451-0659)
    I talk so much about this divey Highlands establishment in these pages that it’s been suggested I ban it from further mention. Then I threatened to walk, and a smile came across management faces. Followed by an awkward silence. So if my byline is gone from these pages next week, know I am content in leaving you with this: Long live the Back Door! —SH

Bartender Mike @ The Barret Bar
(1012 Barret Ave., 458-9640)
    If you haven’t heard his completely charming, boisterous laugh — like a large animal trying to swallow a smaller one, and gasping for air — you haven’t spent enough time at the Barret Bar, which also happens to be the most solid billiards room east of downtown. Bartender Mike has an encyclopedic knowledge of Louisville sports (among other things), which he dispenses in a way typical of only the most professional bartender: When he’s asked. Go strike up a conversation with Mike, and you’ll leave a better person. Have a glass of bourbon, rocks. And for god’s sake, try to make him laugh. —SG

$11 Buckets of Corona @ Big Al’s Beeritaville
(1715 Mellwood Ave., 893-4487)
    Do the math — $2.20 for a frickin’ Corona! Where do I sign up? Some places around these here parts charge up to $5 for this Mexican beauty — and most of us know it’s not even produced in Mexico! Big Al’s offers this deal all day and all night long — so grab a bucket and head out to the horseshoe pit. I’ll be waiting. —SH

Big Rock Show

(www.bigrockshow.com)
    Known as the five-legged Big Rock Show, Dave Ernspiker, Jaymz St. James and David Lloyd Williams Jr. have been fixtures on the local music scene for more than seven years — playing between 250-300 shows annually, including standing weekly gigs all over the city (Tuesdays at R Place Pub, Wednesdays at Quivers Lounge, Thursdays at Two Lane Liquors) while becoming a staple in our local late-night consciousness. The set list is packed with tight covers of old-school heavy metal rockers like Ozzy and Jimi and AC/DC, and they often update their repertoire with on-the-fly requests. “Free Bird”? But of course. —BO

Thursdays w/ Krekel @ Bluegrass Brewing Co.
(3929 Shelbyville Road, 899-7070)
    A wide range of artists has interpreted the soulful songs of Louisville’s Tim Krekel. On his own, Krekel, a former member of Jimmy Buffet’s classic-era Coral Reefer Band, has been known to dabble in beach, blues, country and 1960s-style rock ’n’ roll. And his latest album, Soul Season, recently landed him a feature on World Café. So, it is pretty fucking amazing that you can actually see this guy for free once a week at the BBC in St. Matthews. More amazing still is that sometimes pals like Sam Bush drop by for these intimate shows. If you go, you will want to enhance your listening experience by imbibing a pint of the pub’s hand-crafted pale ale and munching on a spinach burger made from the owner’s sister’s secret recipe. —KW

Living The Dream @ Brownie’s: “The Shed”
(237 Whittington Pkwy., 326-9830)
    When Keith Brown opened Brownie’s, it was almost on a dare. Over time he and the neighbors had developed a weekly Friday night tradition of bringing beer and socializing in his backyard shed. This eventually snowballed into Brown opening a “real” neighborhood hangout, and thus Brownie’s: “The Shed” was born. It’s a place where everybody knows your baby-momma’s name, with fair and often downright unbeatable prices (especially on Wednesdays — $1.25 beer and bratwurst night!). And when you’re there, ask for Anita, aka ”Chuck” — her personality is the perfect blend of sweet and sassy, making her the best verbal sparring partner you’re likely to find anywhere. —BO

Cheese Fries @ Cahoots
(1047 Bardstown Road, 454-6687)
    Damn, the cheese fries at Cahoots are golden. This dark and moody hipster bar knows how to service the spuds. Although the lighting is never bright enough to see what exactly you’re shoveling into your mouth, I detect a delicate mixture of bona fide melted cheese, a few pumps of squirt cheese and bacon thrown on top for good measure. Ask for some ranch to help ease them down your feeding tube. Goes well with an ice cold brew. —SH

City Scoot
(56-NO-DUI, www.cityscoot.com)
    Avoid any guilt and/or jail time in the morning with this remarkable taxi service that gets you and your car home. Just don’t ask for a ride on their scooters. The patient staff has seen and heard everything — you won’t be the first, or the last, to invite the yellow-and-black brigadiers in for a nightcap. Hiccup. —SH

Drag @ The Connection

(130 S. Floyd St., 585-5752)
    You can’t visit Fort Knox without thinking about the golden nuggets allegedly tucked away inside the military compound. Same is true at a Connections drag show, which takes place every Friday and Saturday at 10:30 p.m., 12:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m., and Sunday at 10:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. The $5 LaBoy LeFemme shows are equal bits ’n’ pieces vaudeville, strip show and comedic skits. See the mighty Mokha bedazzle with her bodacious breastesses. Be blown away by Miss Hurricane Summers’ onstage acrobatic abilities. Best of all, find out what Louisville really has tucked up its skirt. —SH

All-Day Happy Hour Sundays @ Cumberland Brews
(1576 Bardstown Road, 458-8728)
    Sundays used to belong to HBO. No longer. Try the reduced pints, $3.25 a piece, at the Highlands microbrewery, along with chips and queso, and your case of the Mondays won’t be as bad. —MH

Impressive Beer Selection For A Coffeeshop @ Derby City Espresso
(331 E. Market St., 442-0523)
    Matthew Landan is a man torn between two loves — coffee and beer. So he opened Derby City Espresso on East Market as a coffeeshop first, and gradually worked in his second love to his inventory. Now the small yet budding store boasts more than 65 beers by the bottle, and one by tap — the one-of-a-kind BBC Derby City Espresso Stout that mixes his two passions into one thick-’n’-tasty brew. Landan keeps his establishment on the hipster threshold with themed nights like Goth & Industrial Night on Saturdays and the Mod Soul Dance Party on Wednesdays. May the buzz be with you. —SH

U of L Madness @ Dundee Tavern
(2224 Dundee Road, 458-6637)
    Whereas the Monkey Wrench (in the Original Highlands) has emerged as a hipster-equivalent U of L Bar, Dundee Tavern (a little further southeast on Bardstown Road) is the true Fan’s original. Heartily equipped with huge, high-quality TVs and a waitstaff sympathetic to the Fan’s preternatural urge to bark at the TV as if he will be heard by those he is watching, Dundee is a veritable Cards institution, and probably the most dependable place this side of The Hall to hear a legit C-A-R-D-S cheer on game day. —SG

Tequila Menu & Blue Mundo @ El Mundo

(2345 Frankfort Ave., 899-9930)
    El Mundo might not be the most authentic Mexican restaurant in town, but it’s my favorite. The food’s good, the servers are fun and, best of all, the bartenders know how to pour. You see, I like my drinks the way I like my women: pretty and full of alcohol. They should also go down easy, and for these purposes, the best drink at El Mundo is the Blue Mundo. Made with Sauza Blanco, triple sec and blue curacao, the Blue Mundo is super sweet, almost painfully so. Therefore, it’s kind of girly, but it’s a rugged shade of Windex blue and packs a mighty wallop. Enjoy three on an empty stomach and you will sleep like a baby — maybe even at your table.

    But if it’s something a bit more elegant you seek, El Mundo offers tequila flights. If your total experience with tequila is pounding shots of Cuervo, you are missing out. Tequila can be refined and subtle, like good bourbon. Try Flight No. 12, which features Frida Anejo, Don Julio 1942 and Casa Noble Anejo. Sip them slowly. Let the burn subside and savor the taste. Be amazed as various flavor characteristics make their presences known. The Frida is mild and smooth. The Don Julio has a vanilla nose and a sweet finish. The Casa Noble, meanwhile, is not fucking around. It’s bold, assertive and will straighten scrotum hairs — additional qualities I find attractive in a lady. Hola, senoritas! —JD


$5 Beer Sampler @ Flanagan’s Ale House

(934 Baxter Ave., 585-3211)
    Props to Flanagan’s Ale House for adding a $5 beer sampler to its offerings; it’s great marketing on their part, and a great social opportunity when you’re out with friends. Mix and match, share and trade, compare notes — it’s a beer lover’s paradise. Basically, for five bucks, you get five, 4-ounce samples of whatever is on tap. Which beers you try is your choice, and choosing is half the fun. Sister pub O’Shea’s, just a block or two away, has added this concept as well. Sounds like the makings of a damn fine pub crawl, if you ask me. —KG

Free Outdoor Concerts @ Fourth Street Live!
(www.4thstlive.com)
    They do it all the time in New Orleans and Memphis. And they get it on 24/7 in Key West and Vegas. So why can’t we get some, too? I’m talking about the privileges of drinking alcoholic beverages outside, on the sidewalk, stumbling from one bar to another. Well, we can, sometimes, when Fourth Street Live closes down the block and hosts an outdoor concert. In the past, they’ve had the free Wednesday night country concerts that are always a blast; and even the local showcase concerts they held last year on Fridays were fun. Up next — the Goo Goo Dolls play for free on Derby Eve. Drink it loud; drink it proud. —SH

Beerhalla @ Frankfort Avenue Beer Depot

(3204 Frankfort Ave., 895-3223)
    Augusta? Connemara? Valhalla? No thanks. We’ll take Frankfort Avenue Beer Depot, friends. In the springtime, it is a scenic locale where the mediocre, after cups of liquid courage, navigate the Byzantine putt-putt course. It’s where dreams are crushed and legends are made — at least until the buzz wears off. And it’s free, bitches. —MH

Time Warp @ Freddie’s

(220 W. Broadway, 582-9123)
    Freddie’s is where the cool cats hung and still hang. I doubt much has changed since it opened in the late ’40s, except, say, the prices and beer labels. Stepping through its doors off Broadway, you’re immediately transported to a time when life moved at a much slower pace. When deals were made with handshakes. When stopping for a beer after work was a given, not a privilege. Check your cell phones and iPods at the door. Bring cash. Slow it down. —SH

Two-fers @ Golden Nugget

(2922 Hikes Lane, 454-9914)
    Missed the band on Friday? It’s all good. Shannon and the crew at Golden Nugget in Hikes Point ensure a weekend of consistency by having each act play two nights. So relax. —MH

Upstairs Couches @ Headliners Music Hall
(1386 Lexington Road, 896-1553)
    The older you get, the less likely it is you’ll stage-dive from a balcony. The second floor at Headliners boasts comfy leather couches, just a few steps from a second full bar. They’re hard to snag, so get there early. —MH

Small Packages @ The Hideaway
(1607 Bardstown Road, 485-0114)
    The Hideaway is great little honky-tonk joint that’s set off the beaten path — while, at the same time, is right in the center of everything. This is a Highlands bar that you probably forget about from time to time. You’ve obliviously driven past it countless times — it’s squeezed in the alley between neighborhood pillars Leatherheads and Grateful Threads. With only a small, usually unlit sign that hangs over the alleyway to draw you in, it almost feels more like Prohibition-era speakeasy than a real live bar. Remember to get there early, though, because it’s tiny and only takes a few folks to fill in the place. —BO

Al Fresco Drinking @ Joe’s Older Than Dirt & O’Shea’s Irish Pub
(8131 Lagrange Road, 426-2074/956 Baxter Ave., 589-7373)
    Sometimes you feel like bustin’ a nut, and sometimes you don’t. When you don’t, it’s nice to just hang. Chill. Scope the scene. Graze for shorties. And on a clear day, you can see forever while lounging on the picnic tables at Joe’s or rod-ironing it up at O’Shea’s. Drinkin’ is more fun in the sun — and both places provide the perfect place for pimpin’ passerbys. —SH

Irish Rover Red @ Irish Rover
(2319 Frankfort Ave., 899-3544)
    Irish Rover Red is a tantalizing tradition of which many locals aren’t aware, a beer so perfect it almost defies explanation. It is legend. It is Irish Rover Red. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating just a bit, in part because I really love red ales. But the great thing about this smooth, malty brew is that unlike, say, a Smithwick’s (bo-ring!), you can’t get Rover Red anywhere but the Irish Rover. Bluegrass Brewing Company makes the beer especially for the Rover, so it’s a unique item, a true signature. And it tastes great with Scotch eggs. Go get one, and save me a spot at the bar. —KG

Cougars @ Jim Porter’s

(2345 Lexington Road, 452-9531)
    Three years ago, I went to Jim Porter’s Good Time Emporium for a LEO story and discovered that my brand of young, thin dude was in high demand among the, uh, older set there. My friends and I walked away with phone numbers and left behind on-the-spot offers.

    I returned a couple weekends ago. Not the same scene. A friend called it the “Wrinkle Ranch,” which is condescending but not wrong. It’s just plain hilarious. But with the emergent popularity of the modern-day “cougar” — an older woman hunting younger men — it’s important to note: Most of these cougs seemed taken. —SG

Guinness Surger @ Kaelin’s

(1801 Newburg Road, 451-1801)
    No taps? No problem. Here’s how it works: Bartender places pasteurized can of Guinness on coaster-size holder, presses button, and soundwaves shoot through the bottom of the glass, creating white, foamy goodness, aka “head.” You gotta see it to believe it. —MH

Classic Dive @ Lisa’s Oak St. Lounge
(1004 E Oak St., 637-9315)
    I’ve played Lisa’s before, during a recent past incarnation as a guitar player and singer in a rock band. I’ve seen shows there: rock, metal, indie, pop, indie rock, indie pop, indie metal, death metal, country, alt country, rap, singer-songwriter … I could continue, but who’s counting? Lisa’s has a low-rise, low-rent stage in the back, walls dutifully tacked with what appears to be some kind of wood paneling, and cheap PBR in cans. It’s intimate enough to smell the sweaty arms of the dude beside you at the Dead Child show, and big enough to not be noticed moshing there. It is, in the parlance of our times, rad. —SG

Gaming @ Longshot Tavern
(2232 Frankfort Ave., 899-7898)
    If you come strolling through Longshot’s door expecting to find bar staples like pool tables and Golden Tee machines … then you’re in the right place. But if you’re looking for some more unconventional fair, like: foosball, ping pong or pinball machines … then you, too, are in the right place.

    Longshot is a bar’s bar. It’s got live music almost every weekend, a creepy front room that is just about overtaken with foliage and some of the coldest brew in town. Hell, I’ve even seen dogs roaming the place around closing — the four-legged kind, ladies. When you stop in, ask for Alana, she’s more than a little accommodating. —BO

Pabst Smears @ The Mag Bar
(1398 S. Second St., 637-9052)
    I’m a sucker for gimmicks. Make your “annual appointment” with the Mag Bar on a Friday for a delicious, nutritious Pabst Smear — a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon and a shot of whiskey for $4. Not a bad deal at all. I swear you’ll be in and out in no time. Just remember to skooch closer to the bar. Just a little closer. A little more … —SH

Kubota Senjyu Sake @ Maido Essential Japanese Cuisine & Sake Bar
(1758 Frankfort Ave., 894-8775)
    Most Americans assume ordering sake means getting a tokkuri of warm sake (a type of wine made with rice) with a couple tiny cups for sipping. But at Maido, most of the sake is served cold, and one selection in particular stands apart. That would be Kubota Senjyu, a dry, delicious sake served in a small wine glass that will knock everything the average person knows about sake on its ass. (And not just because of the alcohol content.) Maido owner Jim Huie recommends the stuff, and notes in his libations menu that Kubota is known for making the finest sakes in the world. It’s ultra smooth, and it’s a bargain at $7.25 per glass or $48 for a bottle. —KG

Jukebox @ Nachbar
(969 Charles St., 637-4377)
    Time was the Mag Bar had the “best” jukebox in town for punks, indie rockers and anyone else with a taste for Louisville’s brands of rawk. No more. It’s this nabe hole in Germantown these days. Not only does Nachbar serve a wider variety of beer than the dive-bar format normally affords, its house tunes are superb: In the box you’ll find local favorites like Crain’s “Speed,” along with unusual jukebox fare like Wu Tang Clan.
    Put it this way: It’s the only bar where you can play pool to Slint’s “Spiderland,” which is a singular experience. —SG

The Red Room @ New Albanian Brewing Co.
(3312 Plaza Drive, New Albany, 812-949-2804)
    New Albanian Brewing Co. (best known as Rich O’s/Sportstime Pizza) is known for its incredible beer selection, its delicious New Albanian house brews, its great pub food and the friendly atmosphere. But the Rich O’s part of this establishment wouldn’t be Rich O’s without the Red Room, a sort of tribute to, well, Communism. No, seriously. Communist memorabilia adorns the walls on all sides, and one wall is painted bright red to enhance the mood. The back wall features a giant portrait of Vladimir Lenin that, well, can really be startling for the uninitiated. But don’t freak, there’s nothing unpatriotic going on; the legend of the Red Room has fed itself. Truth is, part-owner Roger Baylor bought the Lenin portrait during a trip to the USSR years ago, and he simply didn’t have room for it in his house. Nevertheless, it’s a great place to converse and drink a tasty adult beverage. —KG

Big Ass Bottles @ Norm’s
(907 Ulrich Ave., 966-0654)
    When’s the last time 12 cold, hard ounces truly satisfied you? Those standard bottles are for the kiddies. I need something bigger and huskier to wrap my lips around — and Norm’s is the place I go to get fulfilled. They sell 22-ounce bottles of Bud, Bud Light and Miller Lite for a mere $3, or $2.75 during happy hour (4-6 p.m.). This is a third-shift bar, so even if you work up a thirst in the early morning, it’s good to know they’ll have a cold one waiting on the bar. Norm’s: Where everybody calls you names. —SH

Stevie Nicks @ Old Hickory

(1038 Lydia St., 634-3011)
    OK, so the Fleetwood Mac frontwoman isn’t taking gigs here in town at a tiny Germantown dive bar, but I swear that karaoke crooner Teresa Floyd could have you fooled, depending on how much you’ve had to drink. I refer to Teresa as “The Nick at The Hick” because her raspy yet solid voice sounds spot-on when singing classics like “Gypsy,” “Sara” and “Landslide.” Add to that her confidence behind the mic and penchant for a shooter or two during her performances, and you’ve got a damn near Nicks double. “I’ve been singing since I was 2,” she recently told me. “I had the brush and the mirror — the whole thing. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.” Teresa runs her MoFun Karaoke every Saturday night at Old Hickory. Stop by and make a request. —SH

McDreamy @ Patrick’s  
(3202 Frankfort Ave., 897-6962)
    Brandon Smith, aka Bartender McDreamy, has been making Patrick’s pretty for more than six years. A cross between a Ken doll, a “Baywatch” lifeguard and Fabio, Brandon can make your mood smoother than a Woodford on the rocks. It’s his full-time gig, and when he’s not doling out drinks or advice, he spends his time restoring old cars. He’s always got a smile, and, in fact, he glows. Seriously. On a good day, his shoulder-length blond hair will fall across his face. Yeah, I’ve been staring. So what? —SH

No Hipsters @ Phoenix Hill Tavern
(644 Baxter Ave., 589-4957)
    The Phoenix Hill Tavern is a gigantic complex conveniently across the street from Cave Hill Cemetery. On the one hand, the club has hosted a pretty diverse array of music acts over the years, from the sublime (Bob Mould, Cousteau, Tapes N’ Tapes, British Sea Power) to the ridiculous (Seven Mary Three, Saliva), plus local and regional faves like Big Rock Show and Velcro Pygmies, plus karaoke.

    But no matter what the owners of PHT think, it’s not a music venue — it’s a meat market. College kids go there to drink cheap beer, dance and meet people with whom they want to bump uglies. Nothing wrong with that, and you know, sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the hipster douchebags at Nachbar and hang out with the fratboy douchebags at PHT. At least the tools who regularly patronize PHT won’t try to impress you with shit like their ironic beards or the Deerhoof b-sides on their iPods. —JD

ThursGay Nights @ The Pink Door
(2222 Dundee Road, 413-5204)
    I’m tired of hearing about the lack of a decent dance room in Louisville. Girls, if you like to dance but can’t stand the unwanted gropes and grinds from horny pervs, come by the Pink Door on a Thursday night, say, after 10 p.m. DJ Syimone spins the sounds, and the diverse, eclectic and eccentric crowd generally keeps to themselves. Unless you ask for it. Yeah, I’ve seen you. —SH

Tap Museum @ Pizza Place
(2931 Richland Ave., 451-2237)
    Roddy Shannon is into taps. Old ones. New ones. Red ones. Blue ones. He’s got more than 450 displayed throughout his 14-year-old Hikes Point pizza joint, accentuated with twinkling Christmas lights in a display that’d make the Smithsonian salivate. Roddy says he’s just always found the variety of beer taps interesting and began keeping them long after the beer was gone from his draught. His collection is also supplemented by patrons and beer distributors who enable Roddy’s hobby with taps they may come across. His favorite? Since he’s into music — he still plays gigs on occasion with his band, Rock ’n’ Roll Revival — it’s gotta be the MGD tap in the shape of a microphone. —SH

Shuffleboard @ R Place Pub

(9603 Whipps Mill Road, 425-8516)
    How good are you with a puck and a greased up slab of hardwood? Fantastic? Then that means the shuffleboard at R Place has your name written all over it. There are no sticks involved here; it’s suitably safe for the average weekend partier.

    During football season you should swing by on Sunday afternoons just to witness the sports bar in all its Pittsburgh Steelers glory. It also has some of the best live acts in the city playing almost every day of the week. And if at any point you feel like you need a drink, the competent staff will have your back. I also hear they have some of the best cheese fries in town. It’s on. —BO

“The Donut Shop” @ Resch’s Tavern
(523 Eastern Blvd., Clarksville, 812-288-6042)
    Years ago, when my dad’s best friend used to tell my dad to meet him at “the donut shop,” I always wished Dad would bring back some bear claws. It turns out that was code for Resch’s Tavern, a neighborhood bar in Clarksville, Ind., that once upon a time was, indeed, a donut shop. Sometime in the late 1960s or early ’70s, it spent a short while as the town library before becoming Resch’s. It’s still owned by the same family, and it still attracts regulars with its yummy cheeseburgers and chili, plus cheap beer and good friends. You gotta like a place that carries Miller High Life tall boys. —KG

Chili & Old Milwaukee @ Rush Inn
(1801 Brownsboro Road, 895-4413)
    There’s just something about the neighborhood bar, isn’t there? Well, Rush Inn is among the best. Homemade chili leads the menu (although the burgers and grilled cheese are good, too), and it’s hard to beat Old Milwaukee on draft if you’re in the mood to let your hair down. The best thing is that I’ve never seen an unfriendly face in the place. And if you’re a baseball fan — the New York Yankees in particular — you’ll love the décor. Now get down there before they run out of barstools. —KG

Queer Beer @ Woody’s Tavern
(208 E. Burnett Ave., 635-9221)
    Bartender Brian shrugs his shoulders at the mystery surrounding the unmarked Queer Beer that Woody’s sells on tap. There’s no label on the keg. No identification. So what is it, then? Who cares? All you need to know is that on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, this light-tasting lager (my guess: Michelob) is $6 for all you can drink between 9 p.m.-2 a.m. As the QB poster on the wall proclaims: “Better beer. Better head.” Indeed. —SH

Singer-Songwriters
    For some of our most talented musicians in Louisville, strumming a guitar and sharing original songs with an audience is all the gratification they need. And on just about any night of the week, you’ll be able to find these venerable singer-songwriters busking for a little attention on our bars’ stages. Our favorites include Butch Rice, Heidi Howe, Teneia Sanders (who hosts an open-mic night every Monday at Stevie Ray’s), Brigid Kaelin, Kimmet & Doug, Leigh Ann Yost and Joe Hanna. They’ve all put in the time, so show them some love. —SH

Indiana Wants Me @ Third Base Tavern

(135 Spring St., Jeffersonville, 812-283-4947)
    It sounds like your average sports bar, but in my estimation, the name is more likely a reference to Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” since this refreshingly blue-collar Indiana dive is actually heavily focused on music. Among the best aspects of Third Base Tavern is the fact that it is a dimly lit, unpretentious establishment where everyone seems laid-back. As such, you can engage in some serious drinking and music listening without dealing with a crowd of idiots hoping to be seen. Moreover, this is the sort of place where (unlike, say, FSL) everybody really will know your name before long. This includes the cabbie who will be required to bring you back across the Mason-Dixon line! —KW

Thursday Happy Hours @ Slugger Field
(401 E. Main St., 212-2287)
    The origin of the term “happy hour” is unclear. What we do know is that it’s a sales tool built on the assumption that, if you sell your patrons a few cheap beers, they’ll be tipsy enough to stick around and pay full price for more. But at Slugger Field, Thursday happy hours, from 5:30-7 p.m., include one huge bonus: atmosphere. Here’s what I think: Screw Disney World, because Slugger Field is the happiest place on earth. Baseball, fried bologna, live music and dollar Bud and Bud Lights? Play ball! —KG

Horseshoe Bar @ Steinert’s Tavern
(2239 Charlestown Road, New Albany, 812-945-8827)
    Steinert’s Tavern is a pretty basic pub in most ways — reasonably-priced beer, good food, pool tables, live music, etc. But one thing sets it apart: A big horseshoe bar that takes up most of the main room. The thing about this bar is that it offers kind of a “Cheers”-like dynamic — you can not only mingle with the folks on either side of you, as well as the bartenders, but you can also make eye contact and communicate with folks on the other side of the bar. And with all those barstools, your next beer is never far away. Pass the beer nuts, Sammy. —KG

Beer Pong Thursdays @ Tailgaters
(2787 S. Floyd St., 637-5241)
    If you haven’t been to Tailgaters on a Thursday for their Beer Pong tournaments, then you’ve been missing one fantastic show on a weekly basis for God knows how long. Starting between 11 p.m. and midnight, it’s $10 per team of two, in this double-elimination bracket, played on official “league” tables. Even if you’re not there to play, it’s well worth the trip just to hear the “creative” team names and see the lengths some folks will go to distract their opponents. And if you’re lucky, they might just have Jell-O shots waiting for ya behind the bar. —BO

$1 Pabst Blue Ribbon Wednesdays @ Seidenfaden Café
(1134 E. Breckinridge St., 582-9217)
    Falls City went bye-bye, but it’s still the same special, different name at this Germantown mainstay. PBR for a buck cures hump-day blues, greasing the skids, and your liver, for a joyful weekend. —MH