4 Louisville Bars to Hit During the Kentucky Derby

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4 Louisville Bars to Hit During the Kentucky Derby
Louisville residents don’t mess around when gearing up for the Kentucky Derby. And it’s not just the race that everyone looks forward to; there’s also the fun of wearing extravagant hats and sipping mint juleps. Outside the racetrack, in the surrounding city of Louisville, streets are lined with bars, from lively dives to fine-dining restaurants, that will all be serving a range of drinks made from locally distilled bourbon. 

We got the chance to chat with Louisville native Trey Zoeller, founder of Jefferson's Bourbon, about his favorite bars to grab a good glass (or shot) of bourbon.
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    1. Manny & Merle
    “Get a shot and a beer at Manny & Merle, a bourbon-tequila bar on downtown’s ‘Whiskey Row.’ They have a band most nights; think a three-piece with a standup bass. It’s the kind of atmosphere that’s fun for dancing and hanging out. An overall nice joint.”

    Photo courtesy of Manny & Merle 
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    2. Garage Bar
    "Slide right down to Garage Bar, which is a great spot that is pretty open-air. It has an illuminated ping-pong table outside with a base made from a crushed car. In front they’ve got a Camaro and a Firebird that are on some track that pulls them together slowly until they eventually run into each other, kind of like a demolition derby. They make great cocktails in there, but it’s also a big craft beer spot.”

    Photo courtesy of Garage Bar/Facebook 
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    3. Sergio's World Beers/ Bistro 1860
    "Sergio’s is a total dive. I’ve read they have the largest beer collection in the country, and it’s been around since almost before craft was cool. And very close to Sergio’s is my favorite fine-dining restaurant, Bistro 1860, which has a great atmosphere and an outdoor patio. You’ve got really informed mixologists in there who can whip up some great cocktails.”

    Photo courtesy of Christopher Carlsson/Flickr 
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    4. MilkWood
    "After the races, I pop into the great bourbon bar MilkWood for a cocktail. It’s pretty casual (certainly a lot more casual than other restaurants). They’ve got a very informed bar staff; they could tell you about every bourbon you’ve ever heard of. Pair my favorite dish, chicken and waffles, with a Jefferson’s old fashioned. Chef Edward Lee and I put that drink together to pair with spicier foods.”

    Photo courtesy of MilkWood 
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