Louisville may be a small big city, but it still has a pretty good diversity of eating & drinking in its many neighborhoods -- but what if you were subjected to some kind of cruel-and-unusual-yet-awesome house arrest that allowed you to only eat and drink in ONE of those neighborhoods, and were weirdly allowed to pick which one? Which one would you chose?! Well, we crunched the numbers, and savagely pitted ‘hood against ‘hood until we found out... Disagree? Tell us why in comments!
9. Crescent Hill
The few highlights in this upscale section include the acclaimed Blue Dog Bakery & Cafe for lunch, and Bluegrass Burgers, home to some inventively tasty grub. To drink well while you eat well, the new Crescent Hill Craft House is a welcome complement to the reliable Frankfort Avenue Beer Depot.
Way out East, it’s another immigrant enclave amongst the chains, as Guaca Mole and Havana Rumba tiene comida en Español, while Jasmine, Peking City Bistro, Simply Thai, and Clay Oven offer a few varieties of Asian cuisine. The Village Anchor Pub & Roost is a great place to let Grandma treat you on a special occasion.
7. Old Louisville/University/Churchill Downs
An area that should have more options includes the fancy fine 610 Magnolia and Buck’s, and the holy trinity of Mexican -- Santa Fe Grill, El Molcajete, and Coconut Beach Tacos & Cerveza. Beyond that, there’s the comfort of Burger Boy and Hill Street Fish Fry, and the much-loved Magnolia Bar & Grill after hours.
6. Germantown/Schnitzelburg/St. Joseph
Eiderdown is the standout here, with its German/Southern mix of influences, and neighbor Four Pegs satisfies beer lovers and food fans. Check’s Cafe and Danny Mac’s Pizza provide comfort, and attempts to claim Grind Burger Kitchen and Hammerheads only boost this area’s food fame. Plus, Nord’s Bakery is in a league of its own. Then there are the dozen bars within walking distance, including Zanzabar.
5. Southern Indiana
Growing annually, and much closer to Downtown than Middletown or St. Matthews, this is a regular dining/drinking area for Louisvillians. The new Big Four Bridge from Downtown to Jeffersonville has fueled Big Four Burgers + Beer and the Red Yeti Brewing Company, while nearby New Albany rightly brags about Feast BBQ, The Exchange, Bread and Breakfast, Habana Blues, and the legendary New Albanian Brewing Company and spinoff Bank Street Brewhouse.
This convenient urban turf offers good options: the upscale Bistro 1860 Wine Bar & Spirits and Varanese, the Southern-themed The Silver Dollar, Middle Eastern Andalous, and The Grape Leaf, plus the Asian range provided by Basa, Four Sisters, Zen Garden, and Osaka. Then, drink up at Apocalypse Brew Works (weekends only) and Sergio’s World Beers (cash only).
3. St. Matthews/Lyndon
Relatively underrated for those outside, this suburban border offers many bars, including leader Bluegrass Brewing Co. and a variety of food: barbecue from Atypical Man and Momma’s Mustard, Pickles & BBQ; some of the best slices around from Coals Artisan Pizza; the Asian sensations that are Bombay Grill, Charim Korean Restaurant, NamNam Café, Simply Thai, Oriental House, and hiko-A-mon; plus Havana Rumba, and Dad and his friends eat and drink at Equus & Jack’s Lounge.
2. The Highlands
There are two (or more) distinct Highlands, depending on how South or North you’ve gone. Taken together, it is a great group of high/low options, led by the date night favorites Seviche, Jack Fry’s, Lilly's Bistro, and more. On the comparably funkier side, there’s Gralehaus, Dragon King’s Daughter, Morris’ Deli, El Taco Luchador, Bánh Mí Hero, etc.. Throw in outliers such as Game, Wiltshire Pantry, and Oishii Sushi and you’re really talking... Plus some of the best drinks (and often, food) can be found at Holy Grale, and Cumberland Brews.
The benefit of revitalization efforts for several years now, this tourist-friendly center is powered by all-stars like 21c’s Proof on Main, Doc Crow’s, and MilkWood, with support from Atlantic No. 5, Hillbilly Tea, Marketplace, and traditional treasures Abyssinia, Masala Grill and hiko-A-mon. When you add the NuLu corridor (Decca, Garage Bar, Harvest, RYE) it smells like victory. Especially when paired with drinks and more from Against the Grain, the Louisville Beer Store, Meta, or BBC Taproom.
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