Ah, Louisville: land of bourbon, beer, and patios. Yes, despite our wary distance from the ever-unpredictable Ohio River, our famously capricious weather, and our constant allergies, Louisvillians still love to eat and drink outside. Especially at these places...

Royals Hot Chicken

Royals Hot Chicken

Nulu

The great thing about this patio is that you really don’t have to worry too much about the weather when you’re here (unless it rains). Reason being: the surrounding shipping containers serve as a weird sort of protective device against the weather. So, regardless of whether you’re trying to temperature-control yourself by beating that unseasonal June chill with Gonzo hot chicken and a deep-fried sweet potato pie, or alleviating a heat stroke in April by sipping on a milkshake and/or Champagne, you’ll be comfortable.

Courtesy of The Hub

The Hub Louisville

Crescent Hill

Part bar, part restaurant, all neighborhood hangout, The Hub Louisville has it all, including a primo patio space that's decked out with fire pits, a great menu of brunch cocktails, and a large selection of bar items (which you're urged to try yourself rather than see online). Our pick is the Butchertown Swizzle: a lovely, layered cocktail made with Copper & Kings apple brandy.

Levee at the River House

River Rd

The latest undertaking of veteran Louisville chef John Varanese, Levee at the River House is a bar, music venue, and small bites restaurant attached to River House Restaurant and Raw Bar (another Varanese venture). The view on the patio is simply breathtaking, and the frozen craft cocktails will really hit the spot on those long summer nights.

Grind Burger Kitchen

Grind Burger Kitchen

NuLu

Grind Burger Kitchen started off as a plucky food truck with one of the best burgers around Louisville (seriously, trust us): the B&B, housed with brie, bacon, and hot pepper jam. From the beginning, owners Liz and Jesse Huot had a commitment to serving only truly excellent and well-executed food, without cutting corners, which helped set the bar really high for the Louisville food truck scene. It's since become a brick-and-mortar restaurant, now in NuLu, with a great back patio and full bar.

Doc's Cantina

Downtown

This Mexican street food-inspired concept is from the same restaurant group that brought us Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar Downtown. (Fun fact: it used to be Waterfront Tumbleweed.) The outdoor seating area boasts a splendid view of the Ohio River, making it a comfortable place to spend a night surrounded by some drinks and friends.

Bristol

Downtown (& other locations)

Bristol’s Downtown location has an incredible vine-covered hidden side patio. It’s the perfect spot to savor the restaurant's excellent Sunday brunch buffet, which includes a Bloody Mary bar.

Garage Bar

Garage Bar

Nulu

It just isn’t summer until you’ve played a game of ping-pong on those light-up tables while your friends watch, lounging on faux-turf benches and sipping basil gimlets. The decorative remnants of the renovated service station and Garage Bar’s wood-fired pizzas complete the outdoor dining experience.

Copper & Kings

Germantown

The beloved brandy distillery gets double credit on this list -- for the front deck where it hosts parties among renovated train cars and a reflection pool that showcases its gorgeous copper stills; and for the beautiful top deck, which can be rented for events and has a perfect view of Louisville.

The Post

Germantown

New York-style slices on the porch of an old VFW post... what could be better? Oh right -- melted cheese, frothy brews, and hipster-watching. OK, count us in.

Roux Louisville

Roux

Highlands

Roux’s front patio is spangled with lights and often alive with brassy jazz. Eating on the patio at Roux is the closest thing you can get in Louisville to that reckless, breezy NOLA feeling -- plus, the beignets are legit.

The Sea Hag

Anchorage

Drinking on the back patio of The Village Anchor (the downstairs bar, attached to the porch, is called The Sea Hag) feels like living in an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel -- Gilded Age decadent, with undeniable class.

The Silver Dollar

Clifton

If it’s too loud... you’re at the right place. The Silver Dollar (located in a renovated firehouse) is known for loud honky-tonk and whiskey by the drink, and the Christmas lights décor extends to the back patio. Johnny Cash, Four Roses neat, and warm breeze -- sounds perfect.

Down One Bourbon Bar

Down One Bourbon Bar

Downtown

The only below-ground space on this list, Down One’s covered seating area is ideal for dining outdoors on a day when it just might rain -- which is a lot of days in Louisville. Also, there’s a photo op where you can position yourself under a giant (sadly, fake) splash of bourbon.

El Camino

Highlands

Dude, El Camino really brought surfer coolness to Kentucky. Tiki drinks by a fire pit overlooked by a peppy mural of dancing island skeletons? Yes, please.

8UP Elevated Drinkery & Kitchen

8UP

Downtown

8UP’s rooftop bar is a multi-seasonal destination with fire pits and an incredible view of downtown. It's a great summertime visit, especially when pairing some drinks with the fried calamari, Korean style wings, or those delicious house cut fries (which come with parmesan and kimchi ketchup).

Nach Bar

Germantown

Nach is a beloved dive for many reasons (RIP Magic the cat!) but chief among them is the comfortable back patio. The long picnic tables foster conversation, and it doesn’t take too many visits to Nach’s patio to make you a regular.

Holy Grale

Holy Grale and Gralehaus

Highlands
Beautifully decked out with strings of lights and trellises of climbing greenery, the garden that connects Holy Grale and Gralehaus is truly a sanctuary in the Highlands -- which makes sense, since Holy Grale used to be a church.

North End Cafe

North End Cafe

Clifton

North End Cafe is a great bet for an outdoor brunch, but better get your name in early because spots fill up quickly on the weekends. If you want the best vegetarian biscuits and gravy in town, North End is your go-to.

Dairy Kastle

Germantown

It’s not really spring until Dairy Kastle opens, and you get to order your first Orange Cow (orange sherbet mixed with Sprite or vanilla ice cream) of the season. Only the very lucky snag the few seats outside Dairy Kastle, and the rest have to make do leaning against cars or even sitting on the church steps across the street. Worth it.

Captain's Quarters Riverside Grille

Captain’s Quarters

Prospect

Captain’s Quarters has a sprawling multi-level deck and a great view of the Ohio River.

The Grape Leaf

The Grape Leaf

Clifton

The Grape Leaf’s patio is incredibly aesthetically pleasant -- bright-red umbrellas, vines twining around trellises, a charming little fountain.

Seviche

Highlands

Seviche’s patio gives diners a front-row seat to one of the most exciting stretches of the Highlands, perfect for people-watching. Also perfect for patio consumption: Seviche’s famous avocado dessert -- avocado ice cream in a chocolate shell with a bourbon truffle “pit” and dulce de leche.

Lydia House

Lydia House

Germantown

Eating on Lydia House’s little patio feels like eating in a friend’s backyard, in the best way possible. It even kept the fence mural advertising “Flabby’s,” a previous restaurant in that space.

Decca

NuLu

Decca’s patio is a pocket of zen in the midst of the East Market Street hustle and bustle. The water feature is especially calming. If you start your night with a meal on the patio you can finish it with a drink in Decca’s cool, rock-walled cellar.

The Monkey Wrench

The Monkey Wrench

Clifton

The Monkey Wrench’s rooftop bar is the perfect low-key stop for some Lil Cheezers grilled cheese and a drink after an evening of prowling the Highlands -- or just a rough day at work.

BARcode 1758

Clifton

Craving sushi late at night? BARcode 1758 has you covered. The outdoor space is actually larger than the indoor space, and is festooned with lights and multicolored screens. BARcode also specializes in shareable food served on skewers, so the picnic spirit prevails.

Against The Grain Brewery

Against the Grain

Downtown

Beer lovers: this is your front porch. Visiting Against the Grain and sitting out front is a good way to quickly acquaint yourself with one facet of the rich craft brewing scene in Louisville.

Joy Luck

Highlands

The first indication that Joy Luck isn’t your run-of-the-mill pan-Asian restaurant is the sign board, often deliciously snarky, “Open! Have your awkward Tinder date here!” or “Who needs cuddles when you could have bourbon?” Joy Luck’s Taiwanese food is complemented by its carefully curated cocktail menu -- particularly refreshing under one of the scarlet umbrellas out on the patio.

RYE

RYE

NuLu

RYE’s patio is so expansive it's able to host a series of concerts in the summer (RYE’s Back Porch Sessions) and even a Buti and Bubbles yoga class.

Ramsi’s Cafe on the World

Highlands

A classic, long-beloved Louisville restaurant, Ramsi’s is known for its Sunday brunch buffet and giant multi-culturally-influenced menu. Anyone can find something to eat at Ramsi’s, and everyone can enjoy the breezy front patio.

El Mundo

Crescent Hill

El Mundo is a not-so-well-kept Louisville secret -- it’s very small, and people will wait forever for a table. Sipping a margarita or a blood orange martini on El Mundo’s patio, behind the vine-covered privacy fence, feels like your induction into a secret club.

Bistro 1860

Bistro 1860

Clifton

Bistro 1860’s patio is so delightful it's planned a series of garden parties to celebrate it -- featuring food prepped on smokers and an outside grill. Even if you can’t make a garden party, make it a point to dine outdoors at Bistro at least once, it’s a no-fail first date spot.

The Comfy Cow

New Albany

The New Albany location of the Comfy Cow has a rainbow mural on the back patio featuring grinning ice cream cones and treats. It’s like sprinkles on top of your outdoor ice cream-eating experience.

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Elizabeth Myers is a writer based in Louisville, who believes in brunch outside, with Champagne, whenever possible. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat @Louisvillenoms.

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1. Royals Hot Chicken 736 E Market St, Louisville, KY 40202

This NuLu restaurant has perfected the Nashville craft of dousing a perfectly crisped piece of chicken in a fiery house-made sauce, as the wait time here rivals that of a few other fine Louisville establishments. But of course, this place takes it up a notch, tailoring each brined order to the customer's spice preference, and complementing its carnivorous offerings with a generous menu of sides and desserts.

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2. The Hub 2235 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206

Boasting a large bar, a formal dining room, pool tables, and a soon-to-be-open patio, the Hub offers a dining experience that delivers beyond the eats. Not that the eats leave anything to be desired: southern-inspired small plates, like pimento cheese with bacon pudding, are the savory shareable offerings du jour here, while drinks come in the form of creatively and gorgeously spun cocktails like a pastel pink gin Flame Dame prepared with egg white. After dinner, the lights are lowered and the music is turned up a bit, giving the restaurant a club-like vibe (open until 2am) without ever losing its casual ambiance.

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3. Grind Burger Kitchen 829 E Market St, Louisville, KY

It's no surprise that the best burger in town has a spacious and consistently packed spot in the trendy NuLu (or, "New Louisville") neighborhood. Thankfully, this location offers the usual favorites the restaurant became famous for: that brie bacon burger, the Southern burger, and the Asian pork sandwich, for example. If you’re looking to sit down, know that it’s first come, first served so you may have to wait. Though, the crowd waiting around are a pretty good indicator that it'll be worth it.

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4. Doc's Cantina 1201 River Rd, Louisville, KY 40206

Mexican street food is the specialty at this 10,000 sq ft place, with a deep selection of sandwiches, creative tacos (care for a fried mushroom taco?), and margaritas on offer. Be sure to sit along the wall of windows for a scenic meal, or grab a seat in the patio, because there's little doubt the outside seating overlooking the Ohio will boast some of the most in-demand look-out spots in the city.

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5. Bristol Bar and Grille 614 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202 (Highlands)

The original location for this local restaurant, it's been around since 1997. They serve new American cuisine in a romantic, quaint atmosphere with candle lit tables scattered throughout. Be sure to try the green chili egg roll appetizers when you come here.

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6. Copper & Kings 1121 E Washington St, Louisville, KY 40206 (Butchertown)

This distillery is responsible for eight different types of American Brandy, with varieties like Craft Distilled, Absinthe Blanche, and Immature. Pro Tip: Try them out on the distillery's front deck or the top deck with views of Louisville.

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7. The Post 1045 Goss Ave, Louisville, KY 40217

Housed in a former VFW post, this hip, contemporary Germantown spot serves up New York-style pies and creative subs. The clean, utilitarian room is spacious and unadorned, and there's patio seating suitable for the warmer weather. Craft beers are available in addition to a standard liquor and wine selection.

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8. Garage Bar 700 E Market St, Louisville, KY 40202 (Nulu)

Especially in the warmer months, this renovated garage in the trendy NuLu area is a must-visit. Glowing ping pong tables, Astroturf-covered places to perch, and a consistently ultra-hip crowd make this bar the go-to destination for sticky, hot nights in The ‘Ville. Garage Bar uses local veggies and cured meats to top its pizzas, which bake in a blistering wood-fired brick oven. Be sure to order a tasting platter from the ham bar (yes, it has a bar dedicated to ham) to pair with your pie. It’s got a pretty extensive beer list, too.

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9. Levee at the River House 3015 River Rd, Louisville, KY 40207

An undertaking by chef John Varanese, Levee at the River House is a bar, music venue, and small bites restaurant attached to River House Restaurant and Raw Bar (another Varanese venture). The view on the patio is simply breathtaking, so grab a spot outside to enjoy your frozen craft cocktails alongside eats like sliders, tacos and flatbreads.

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10. Roux 1325 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40204 (Highlands)

Located in the Highlands, Roux brings a taste of New Orleans to The 'Ville offering staples like po' boys and jambalaya, not to mention live jazz and a bar serving quality Sazeracs.

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11. The Silver Dollar 1761 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206 (Clifton)

If it’s too loud... you’re at the right place. The Silver Dollar (located in a renovated firehouse) is known for loud honky-tonk and whiskey by the drink, and the Christmas lights décor extends to the back patio. Johnny Cash, Four Roses neat, and warm breeze -- nothing but a perfect year-round combination.

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12. Down One Bourbon Bar & Restaurant 321 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202 (Downtown)

Down One’s bourbon list is so large it is divided into eras: Pre-Prohibition, Post-Prohibition, and Modern. And their “Get Splashed” wall is the perfect photo opportunity for the bourbon lover.

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13. The Sea Hag 11507 Park Rd, Anchorage, KY 40223

This downstairs bar is a part of the Village Anchor restaurant, attached to the porch. It's a bit opulent, and gives a bit of a Gatsby vibe -- but the wine, beer, and bourbon lists go well with the Southern fare you can get at the restaurant.

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14. El Camino 1314 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40204 (Highlands)

Tequila might never be the most popular spirit in The 'Ville, but El Camino is certainly making it a runner-up. The drink menu here is “artisan Tiki” offering both twists on traditional options like a Mai Tai or a daiquiri, and more traditional libations like bowls of punch that you should definitely not try to drink by yourself. And whoever said honky-tonks don't deliver on food hasn't checked out El Camino's list of Mexican eats, which includes savory creations like grilled petite filete with cotija, and a pan roasted salmon with grilled pear.

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15. 8UP Elevated Drinkery & Kitchen 350 West Chestnut St, Louisville, KY 40202 (Downtown)

Whether you’re looking for breakfast, for a sleek dining experience, or craft cocktails at an open-air rooftop bar, 8UP Elevated Drinkery & Kitchen has got you covered. Located on the 8th floor of the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown, the rooftop restaurant and bar provides hotel guests and Louisville residents alike with progressive American fare, craft cocktails, and some seriously stunning views of the surrounding area. And with a bar program concentrated mainly on bourbon (the list is extensive) and bourbon-based cocktails, 8UP is a solid stop for elevated (literally) New American cuisine and quality drink.

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16. Nach Bar 969 Charles St, Louisville, KY 40204 (Germantown)

On the surface, this Germantown drinkery just your run-of-the-mill, neighborhood bar with a good outdoor area (and it’s dog-friendly!), a great beer selection, and inexpensive drinks. But some would say Nach Bar is the soul of young Louisville’s music-loving, sort-of-hipster, just-wanna-hang-out-somewhere-tonight youth.

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17. North End Cafe 1722 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206 (Clifton)

The North End Cafe, aka the brunch spot of your dreams, dishes out modern American and Mexican dishes for breakfast all day long in a minimal, industrial space. Aside from morning staples like corned beef hash and biscuits and gravy, North End serves a solid selection of lunch and dinner offerings like goat cheese quesadillas, reuben sandwiches (vegans, there's a version for you, too), and smoked pork loin.

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18. Dairy Kastle 575 Eastern Pkwy, Louisville, KY 40217 (Germantown)

The small outdoor seating area at Dairy Kastle is always overflowing with people enjoying sweet treats like Orange Cows (orange sherbet with vanilla ice cream and sprite). They also serve hot dogs, brats, nachos, and BBQ pork.

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19. Captain's Quarters 5700 Captains Quarters Rd, Prospect, KY 40059 (Prospect)

The deck at Captain's Quarters is multi-level runs right up to the water, where people can dock their boats at The Harbor at Captain's Quarters. They serve classic american seafood and meat dishes, along with some more internationally inspired dishes.

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20. The Grape Leaf 2217 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206 (Clifton)

Much like the red umbrellas and lush greenery that line this Clifton eatery's popular back patio, the bright colors in The Grape Leaf's flavorful Mediterranean fare jump right out at you, from the bright white of the feta and yogurt sauce that cover every plate of hummus and gyro, to the pink pop of the pomegranate seeds on top of the balsamic chicken and kale walnut salads. The wafting scents coming from all around during the busy lunch rush, however, won't leave you wanting to admire for very long.

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21. Seviche Restaurant 1538 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40205 (Highlands)

The distinct latin menu at this restaurant changes seasonally, but the high-quality is maintained thanks to James Beard: Southeast finalist chef Anthony Lamas. His famous "avocado" dessert is made with avocado ice cream, dulce de leche chocolate, a bourbon pit, and coffee pine nut soil.

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22. Lydia's House 1101 Lydia St, Louisville, KY 40217 (Germantown)

Lydia's has a super short menu, but brunch on their patio is basically perfect. Dishes like the "Hot Mess" -- two eggs with potatoes, ham, cheddar, onions, and blackstone gravy -- will help you feel like less of one yourself.

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23. Holy Grale 1034 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40204 (Highlands)

This converted century-old church now works full-service as an artisanal pub specializing in beer and food pairings. The space is equal parts ingenious adaptation and gorgeous design and the menu is always changing, as are the beers. Be sure not to miss the choir loft and the beer garden, and if the Scotch quail eggs are on the menu, order them immediately.

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24. Gralehaus 1001 Baxter Ave, Louisville, KY 40204 (Highlands)

Beer and breakfast. That's what's being served up at Gralehaus, where they're giving a whole new meaning to the term B&B. The same masterminds behind The Holy Grale and The Beer Store have taken morning classics and given them their unique spin, like their black pepper biscuits, which are smothered with duck gravy and topped with duck sausage, a fried egg, and crispy duck skin.

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25. Decca 812 E Market St, Louisville, KY 40206 (Nulu)

Decca's outdoor patio is like a haven in the hectic East Market area, and a great place to eat a meal before spending the night at The Cellar, Decca's downstairs lounge.

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26. The Monkey Wrench 1025 Barret Ave, Louisville, KY 40204 (Highlands)

This Highlands bar and resto refers to itself as "Louisville's finest eclectic hillbilly headquarters," and it offers more than 60 bourbons and terrific pub fare, from wings by the pound to jambalaya and sliders.

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27. BARcode1758 1758 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206 (Clifton)

The outdoor space at BarCode lends itself to picnic vibes, which works perfectly with their menu of shareable sushi and skewers.

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28. Against The Grain Brewery 401 E Main St, Louisville, KY 40202 (Downtown)

Damn good beer and damn good barbeque are the hallmarks of downtown Louisville staple Against the Grain, located right at the famous Louisville Slugger field. Since opening their doors, the creative brewing team at Against the Grain have created over 100 unique beers that are so good they've evolved from local brewery to national beer distributor. With a full range of beer types, from light session ales to hop-full IPAs and smoky stouts, Against the Grain has a beer for every drinker. And if you don't drink, then chow down on their house-smoked barbeque, with favorites like brisket and pulled pork sitting alongside vegetarian options, like a signature chickpea sloppy joe, more adventuresome than just another salad.

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29. RYE 900 E Market St, Louisville, KY 40206 (Nulu)

This NuLu cocktail bar is ever-changing and always on point, which makes it a no-brainer when your cocktail craving strikes.

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30. Ramsi's Cafe on the World 1293 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40204 (Highlands)

Ramsi's Cafe on the World is just that -- a trip around the globe from the comfort of the Highlands. Mix-and-match decor and art collected over the years from a slew of countries you'd only ever dreamed of visiting transport everyone who walks through to door, from those lined up against the bar for a an imported draft beer to the diners in the back perusing the equally diverse menu for a plate of house-made tortellini or falafel with veggie sides taken straight from Ramsi's own organic garden.

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31. El Mundo 2345 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206 (Crescent Hill)

Known for the strength of their margaritas and their addictive Mexican cuisine, this Crescent Hill resto features a quirky ambience and a back patio for dining in pleasant weather.

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32. The Joy Luck 1285 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40204 (Highlands)

This Taiwanese resto in the Highlands quietly opened in 2013, but really gained steam a year after once people caught word of their delectable soup dumplings and other fantastic noodle and meat dishes.

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33. Bistro 1860 1765 Mellwood Ave, Louisville, KY 40206 (Crescent Hill)

This Crescent Hill eatery/drinkery features eclectic décor, French-American fusion cuisine, and an array of delicious and unique cocktails, not to mention a full bar. On any given evening, pick from a selection of 50 different wines, a delicious dinner menu, and a great patio to use during the warmer months.

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34. The Comfy Cow 339 W Cardinal Blvd, Louisville, KY 40208 (Old Louisville)

This ice cream parlor has some awesome ice cream flavors. When you go try the Secretariat (vanilla ice cream with blueberry cobbler and blueberries). Every flavor here is mouth-watering and one of a kind.

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