Food & Drink

Louisville's 8 best bourbon bars

Published On 08/20/2014 Published On 08/20/2014
Facebook/Haymarket Whiskey Bar
Facebook/The Silver Dollar
Bourbons Bistro
Facebook/Proof on Main
Facebook/Seelbach Hilton Louisville
Facebook/Down One Bourbon Bar
Facebook/Marriott Louisville East
Facebook/Doc Crow's Southern Smokehouse and Raw Bar
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1. Haymarket Whiskey Bar 331 E Market St, Louisville, KY 40202 (Downtown)

Haymarket Whiskey Bar has more than 100 bourbons and almost 200 whiskeys, as well as live music four-plus nights a week. If the extensive liquor selection isn't enticing enough, visit for the décor alone: '80s memorabilia, Star Wars posters, old pinball machines, and a gorgeous green glass bar.

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2. The Silver Dollar 1761 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206 (Crescent Hill)

Situated inside a former firehouse, this redbrick Crescent Hill whiskey temple models itself after the old-school honky-tonks of Bakersfield, California (in the 1930s, Southerners migrated to SoCal and, shunned by native Californians, formed their own subculture known as the "Bakersfield Sound"), merging modern takes on traditional Southern fare with vintage country records and craft cocktails. Silver Dollar's spirit menu is laden with bourbon selections sorted by distillery, plus moonshine, rye, and seasoned bourbon -- all from the Bluegrass State. You can pair your drink with hearty dishes such as Cajun shrimp & oyster stew, hickory-smoked beef brisket, chicken & waffles, and brunch specialties like cornbread pancakes and a fried oyster sandwich.

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3. Bourbons Bistro 2255 Frankfort Ave, Louisville, KY 40206 (Clifton)

Bourbons has a truly world-class selection, and offers amazing bourbon flights: like the “Traditional” flight with Jim Beam White Label, Wild Turkey, and Ancient Age; or the “Wheated” flight with Old Fitzgerald Prime, Weller Special Antique, and Maker’s Mark.

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4. Proof on Main 702 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202 (Downtown)

Located in The 21c Museum Hotel Louisville, a boutique hotel and art museum, Proof on Main serves up gourmet meals from Chef Levon Wallace, including a unique and scrumptious burger made out of bison and topped with a Jezebel sauce that gives it a fruity, earthy flavor, plus Tillamook cheddar and applewood-smoked bacon. You'll want to throw in a side of the crispy cauliflower, and top it all off with the s'mores dessert. This trendy spot houses the Proof Bar, too, which offers an enormous bourbon list (we're talking upwards of 50 varieties).

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5. The Old Seelbach Bar 500 S 4th St, Louisville, KY 40202 (Downtown)

Drinking at the Old Seelbach Bar feels like stepping into a scene from The Great Gatsby; which is fitting since the Seelbach Hotel served as inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece. The Seelbach’s signature cocktail features bourbon and Champagne, an uncommon but deliciously fizzy combination.

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6. 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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7. Charr'd Bourbon Kitchen and Lounge 1903 Embassy Square Blvd, Louisville, KY 40299

Louisville’s Marriott East is a bourbon-themed hotel, and their bar and restaurant, Charr’d, has bourbon barbecue sauce, bourbon butter, bourbon-smoked wings, a bourbon-marinated Portobello sandwich... the list goes on. Naturally, a great bourbon and cocktail list accompanies this menu.

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8. Doc Crow's Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar 127 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202 (Downtown)

Located on the famous Whiskey Row, Doc Crow’s serves down-home Southern fare that celebrates both coastal and barbecue cuisines and focuses on bourbon in its beverage program. Starters include fried oysters, smokehouse mussels, and beef brisket tacos, while mains include baby-back ribs, blackened tilapia, and fried pork chops. Choose your poison from the drink menu’s anthology of whiskeys or imbibe a classic, like an old fashioned or mint julep lemonade.