If you are looking for a bourbon bar …
The Silver Dollar
1761 Frankfort Ave., 259-9540
Housed in a beautiful former firehouse, the Silver Dollar hits consistently with its food and drink. It has one of the largest bourbon collections in the city. GQ included its list of the “Top 10 Best Whiskey Bars In The Nation.”
2255 Frankfort Ave., 894-8838
It was a LEO Weekly Readers’ Choice winner for best bourbon list, more than 130 long. Who are we to argue with our readers? Also, the place is pretty swanky — in a beautiful building.
Down One Bourbon Bar
321 Main St., 566-3259
With some 160 bourbons to pick from, this downtown bar has won many plaudits and is on the Urban Bourbon Trail and is on Whiskey Row. Relax neat or with a splash on the patio there after a day of tasting.
Haymarket Whiskey Bar
331 E. Market St., 442-0523
An expansive bourbon list, with knowledgeable bartenders. Haymarket is great for first-time bourbon drinkers and people looking for top-shelf selections. Mixing that focus on quality, with the comfortable aesthetics of a dive bar, Haymarket is a place where you can grab a Pappy 23 or a $5 bonded, get lost in a game of pinball or catch a show in the back room.
Buck’s Restaurant and Bar
425 W. Ormsby Ave., 637-5284
More of a meal-with-your-bourbon kind of place than a bourbon-bourbon-bourbon kind of bar, but Bucks has been an Old Louisville staple for almost 25 years, and it boasts a bourbon list worthy of note.
If you are looking for a place to drink and eat outside …
8UP Elevated Drinkery & Kitchen
350 W. Chestnut St., 631-4180
Oversize couches, designer drinks and panoramic views of the Louisville skyline from a rooftop. What more could you want in a bar on a steamy summer night? And if your allergies are bothering you, 8UP has dining inside with windows on the city.
Louis’s The Ton
1601 Story Ave., 494-4007
The beautifully-restored building in historic Butchertown has it all: craft beer and cocktails, great food, fine art, live music — and a no-cover policy. Out back is a capacious, comfortable place to sip outside.
700 E. Market St., 749-7100
Yup, it was a garage in the NuLu district. Now it is a bar with all the bar stuff you would expect and wood-fired pizzas you might not, in addition to Southern dishes. Outside are plenty of places to sit, play ping pong and watch kinetic art: Jonathan Schipper’s “Slow Inevitable Death of American Muscle” (two cars slowing crush into each other).
1314 Bardstown Road, 454-5417
Are you wandering around Bardstown Road looking to take in some sun with your Margaritas (or just straight tequila, mezcal or rum)? El Camino has the patio — and list of tequilas, mezcals and rums — for you!
Saints Pizza Pub & Sky Bar
131 Breckenridge Lane, 891-8883
One of the great, intimate patios in St. Matthews, Saints brings the neighborhood bar-and-grill feel, and TVs for any sports fan. Ensuring that the craft beers stay seasonal and plentiful, the staff is friendly, welcoming and attentive. Saints also has some of the most underrated chicken and wings in the city, as it’s all cooked out on the back patio.
5700 Captains Quarters Road, Prospect, 228-1651
Louisville’s go-to, by-the-river bar and restaurant for years. When the weather cooperates, there’s hardly a better venue for drinks while watching the boats and barges on the Ohio River. Some of the boats and boaters provide some good, free entertainment at the docks.
1135 Bardstown Road, 552-6942
As the newest outside-drinking (or eating) addition to Bardstown Road, it’s good to have “Somewhere” to go next to “Nowhere.” The oversized garage doors let the outside festivities spill inside, where the food and drink mix well with the music and dancing.
If you are looking for a beer …
Monnik Beer Co.
1036 E. Burnett Ave., 742-6564
A craft brewery in an increasingly hip part of the city. Great beer equaled by its inventive selection of food. Donder fries? Fresh-cut fries with Flemish sweet and sour beef stew, onions and crème fraîche (… Hmmm.
Apocalypse Brew Works
1612 Mellwood Ave., 495-4843
This is a fun place to drink on an eccentric mix of small-batch beer, with such delicacies as Licorice Stout. Perfect spot for spring evening sipping, it has a large courtyard that food trucks visit.
Great Flood Brewing Co.
2120 Bardstown Road, 457-7711
Started by home-brewers, Great Flood has gained a following for its beer and its inviting space. Also, it encourages drinkers to order from food trucks or call for delivery from area restaurants.
Flat 12 Bierworks
130 W. Riverside Drive, Jeffersonville, (812) 635-2337
If you are interested in escaping the insanity that is Derby, walk across the Big Four Bridge to this craft brewery and sip while watching barges ply the Ohio River.
Sergio’s World of Beers
1605 Story Ave., 618-2337
One of the most unique bars in the city, Sergio’s has walls and walls lined with coolers and refrigerators. Get lost in rows of beers that you never have heard of, grab one, take it to the counter, repeat and pay on your way out.
Against the Grain Brewery & Smokehouse
401 E. Main St., 515-0174
If you like hops, this is the joint. But you also will find an enormous array of other beers — and tasty food, thus the “smokehouse” in its name.
If you are looking for a place to get a late bite to eat …
1450 S. Brook St., 635-7410
This Louisville tradition is open 24 hours, scored health inspection grade of A and serves a great mix of diner favorites, including, of course, a pretty good burger.
Ramsi’s Cafe on the World
1293 Bardstown Road, 451-0700
Our food critic called Ramsi’s “fun, funky and multi-ethnic,” and “along with plenty of delicious carnivorous fare, the menu is half vegetarian, and it ranges broadly through the realms of vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, gluten-free and even raw, all clearly and unambiguously noted.” ‘Nuff said.
Barbara Lee’s Kitchen
2410 Brownsboro Road, 897-3967
A favorite late-night spot for a No. 9 Old South Sunday with a Cherry Coke. Still there on Lower Brownsboro pumping out greasy dishes of deliciousness … all … night … long.
732 E. Market St., 690-6595
So, say it’s approaching midnight (or later) and you’ve been out at the bars all night … or just stuck in downtown traffic leaving work … and you need something to eat (especially something that’s not White Castle or pizza). Galaxie is the place for your late-night bite. They also make Margaritas and specialty cocktails that are out of this world.
If you are looking for a glass of wine …
1606 Bardstown Road, 365-1921
A LEO Reader’s Choice for Best Wine list, Louvino offers a great selection for experienced connoisseurs and enthusiastic consumers alike. You can even drink in honor of some of Louisville’s hometown heroes, with tasting flights in the name of Jennifer Lawrence, George Clooney, Ali and more.
1538 Bardstown Road, 473-8560
Pretty much everything is exquisite at Seviche. It is where Hollywood dines when it deigns to visit Louisville.
Proof On Main (Bar)
702 W. Main St., 217-6360
We can’t decide which we like more at Proof Bar — its selection of wine or its art. Part of the 21c Museum Hotel, the bar (and restaurant adjoining) was chosen by Food & Wine as offering one of “America’s 50 Most Amazing Wine Experiences”
211 Clover Lane
211 Clover Lane, 896-9570
One of the great places to wine with your dine, 211 Clover is one of the great intimate restaurants in town. Newly expanded, but still quaint, the food is still excellent, and the wine list is outstanding (and half-priced bottles on Wednesday!).
Equus & Jack’s Lounge
122 Sears Ave., 897-9721
Looking for a low-key, quieter place to snack on some good food with some good wine? Maybe impress your date with a slightly more upscale, lounge location with some good vino …? Jack’s is your spot. Also offers some excellent nachos and fried chicken to pair with that wine (or bourbon, of course).