The Thrillist Awards: Louisville's Best New Food, Drink & Everything Else
2015 was a great, if construction-filled, year for Louisville... and those two things aren't exactly unconnected, because most of the coolest stuff that happened in 2015 was thanks to the slew of excellent new places that've been popping up all over town. And because we want to give a shoutout to every spot that deserves one, we're awarding honors across a variety of vital categories. So, without further ado:
Best new dinner
This tapas place in Westport Village has something for everyone: from luscious beef cheek to bacon-wrapped, cheese-stuffed dates.
Best new hangout bar
Louis’s looks deceptively small from the outside, but it stretches back into several rooms. It’s a comfortable but classy post-work hangout spot, and they sometimes have a beer float on the menu with Louisville Cream ice cream.
Best new night-out bar
Galaxie is the neighborhood bar NuLu didn’t know it needed. The space is small but the cocktails pack a punch, and the staff are always friendly.
Best new outdoor bar
Technically yes, 8UP Elevated Drinkery & Kitchen opened in late 2014, but there was no chance to use their primo rooftop bar until 2015, so it counts. Especially in warmer weather, the view from 8UP is unbeatable.
Best new brewpub
Goodwood uses the same pure limestone water used to make bourbon to make their beer. They also wood-age their beer as an homage to Louisville’s favorite spirit.
Best new hotel bar
The lobby, restaurant, and bar at Aloft in Downtown Louisville are connected with an open floor plan and a cool retro-future look to the decorations. Great for a big crowd.
Best new breakfast
You heard it here: the best eggs in town. Get there early, the restaurant is tiny and on weekends Con Huevos fills up fast.
Best new brunch
The griddled bread pudding at Lydia house is beyond compare, and their Germantown Booch-made craft kombucha will really start your morning off right.
Best new lunch
Nashville-style hot chicken finally made the drive (flight?) to Louisville, and it’s a hit. Go extra spicy and get the JoJo sauce with your fries.
Best new dinner and drinks
When you’re finished with dinner downstairs (order the gnocchi and the rotisserie chicken) walk around the outside of the restaurant to the bar upstairs and sample some of Butchertown’s best cocktails.
Best new late night
America The Diner is primely positioned to suit the needs of Highlands barflies late into the night and early into the morning. The cheese curds and the alcoholic milkshakes at America The Diner are good any time of the day, but there’s something about eating in a diner in the wee hours of a morning that just works.
Best new Louisville-made product
Butchertown Soda (info)
Produced by local brandy distiller Copper & Kings, Butchertown Soda has a more delicate flavor than the heavy-hitters of the soda world. The ginger beer is particularly spicy, and goes well with bourbon.
Best new park
Turkey Run Park (address and info)
Turkey Run Park opened this autumn at the Parklands of Floyd’s Fork and features 800 acres of meadows, forests, fields -- as well as biking, walking, and hiking trails, AND the Brown-Forman Silo Center lookout.
Best new bridge
The Abraham Lincoln (info)
What a stunner. Take advantage of your free drive over the Lincoln before it becomes a toll bridge!
Best new adventure
Go Ape! at Jefferson Memorial Forest (address and info)
Brush up on your Tarzan yell, you can now Go Ape! at a zip-lining treetop obstacle course around Jefferson Memorial Forest.
Best new place to climb
Climb Nulu (address and info)
This climbing gym is really conveniently located for those living in the Highlands, Downtown or Butchertown, and during the warmer months they’re open-air for events like the Flea Off Market.
Best new co-working space
The Park (address and info)
If you’re interested in creative co-working and collaboration, The Park is the perfect place for you to post up with your laptop or moleskin notebook. Bonus: the leafy wall looks SO good on Instagram.
Best new way to connect
CreativeMornings Louisville (address and info)
This monthly lectures series has quickly become a popular stomping ground for Louisville’s creative up-and-comers. Held on Friday mornings in a variety of locations, every CreativeMornings event centers around a lecture by a notable Louisvillian, on themes like empathy, humility, and collaboration.
Best new way to stay fit
Suspend Louisville (address and info)
Because nothing takes the sting out of gym time like spending it swinging around on a flying trapeze or mastering aerial silks.
Best new place to catch a movie
Xscape (address and info)
At this movie theater you don’t have to worry about kids kicking the back of your chair; the aisles are extra-wide and the seats are GIANT soft recliners. Better see something scary or you’ll fall asleep with your fingers in a bucket of popcorn.
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Elizabeth Myers is a Louisville writer who is driving over the Abraham Lincoln to go to Xscape before hitting Butchertown Grocery. Follow her at @LouisvilleNoms.