January 30, 2007

The Bar Belle: G-town’s the spot

A friend recently moved here from Chicago, the land of the wind and bustling city-dwellers who can afford to drop $12 on a cosmo. As she settled in to Louisville, she found herself most comfortable at places like Molly Malone’s or Fourth Street Live. She rarely ventured out of these comfort zones, except for the one time I dragged her to a happy hour at the Back Door. Frightened at first, she soon learned to appreciate the in-your-face welcoming Southern hospitality. A few weekends ago, I thought I’d introduce her to another Louisville gem. We headed to the quirky complex of neighborhood bars splattered throughout Germantown. Our first stop: Jockamo’s, a family-friendly joint and one of the newer kids on the block. We fueled up on pizza, breadsticks and beer and headed in the direction of neon beer signs to …Old Hickory Inn, which just happened to have karaoke on tap that night. We were greeted by a lady on a stool who called herself Cleopatra, and her friend, Captain. She made a spot for us at the crowded bar to order our swill. Three longnecks for $5.50 (not sure how that adds up, we took it). “Which one of them do you like?” she asked as she pointed to a group of young men hovering in the back of the bar. “The one in the red jacket is mine!” We smiled, shrugged and found a table that faced the karaoke mic. As the hours passed, we were invited to dance, sing and even join the smoking-ban resistance. (Old Hickory has protest T-shirts for sale, as well as a scrolling marquee that implores the mayor to, basically, piss off.)We were having so much fun at Old Hickory, we only made it to one other bar that night — Check’s Café. I told my friend about their delicious fried chicken, and we talked up the bartender, but she was eager to get back to the Old Hick stage. Go figure.Lesson: Don’t be afraid to change your routine every now and then. You never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll do, or vice versa.Beer me at shavens@leoweekly.com