Are you a #SHAFR2014 historian who didn’t snag tickets to tonight’s Buffalo Trace bourbon event? Don’t get jealous–get your own bourbon! Here are a few of our favorite spots to sample Kentucky’s native spirit (and a few other spirits too):
Just across Main Street, under the canopy of the Fifth-Third Pavillion at Cheapside is the Bluegrass Tavern. Open from 5 pm – 2 am, BGT has more than 100 bourbons on its bourbon list and 16 beers on tap, including some local craft brews (more on those in a bit). Snag an Old Fashioned from Chris if cocktails are more your style.
Across Short St. and 1/2 a block on Market (you can spot it by the Herakut mural on the side of the building) is Belle’s Cocktail House: The Most Orderly of Disorderly Houses, named in honor of Lexington’s most famous Madam. Snag a hand-crafted cocktail or a glass of wine aged in bourbon barrels and raise a glass to Lexington’s Lady of the Night (her portrait hangs above the fireplace). Sneak upstairs for a chill, lounge atmosphere.
Henry Clay’s Public House
On the other side of the old Courthouse on Main St. is Henry Clay’s Public House. Don’t be fooled by the street construction, this place is worth wandering inside. Henry Clay, the Great Compromiser himself, owned this property from 1805-1816. Munch on some fresh popped popcorn while the bartender crafts one of their classic potables, or choose from their extensive bourbon library.
Paulie’s Toasted Barrel
You can spot Paulie’s Toasted Barrel just across Triangle Park from the convention center. Head upstairs to the mezzanine level to try one of the 101 bourbons available. Can’t decide which one to try? Ask a bartender about a flight!
Everyone’s buzzing about the craft beer scene in Lexington these days! Local food trucks also tend to favor the breweries. Check social media to see who might be parked outside.
West Sixth Brewing
Just like the name says, head 6 blocks North to W. 6th St and have a draught in the beer garden at West Sixth Brewing. According to their Facebook page, the taproom just tapped the “Elkhorn Kriek” – a quasi Kriek style with Tart Michigan Cherries. But we’d also recommend trying the classics like the IPA or Amber.
Country Boy Brewing
For those staying at the Springhill Suites, you’re just around the corner from Country Boy Brewing! A little more experimental than West Sixth, Country Boy brews local favorites like the Cougar Bait Blonde, Cliff Jumper IPA, and Shotgun Wedding.
Other Favorite Hang-outs:
Venture a bit further uptown to North Limestone and 6th St. to check out these dives that are some of the best hidden gems Lexington has to offer! Arcadium’s walls are lined with vintage arcade games that you’ll definitely want to drop a quarter into; PLUS! their neighbors across the street, North Lime Coffee and Doughnuts, often bring over the end-of-day specialty doughnuts.
Al’s Bar is, hand’s down, one of the best spots in town to catch a cool, local band. Serving food, house cocktails, and local beers on tap, spend your night jamming out.
Around for more than 60 years, the Green Lantern is another great spot to catch live music, great beers, and a chill vibe. A review from their Facebook page: “If you want some rock’n’roll but don’t know any band playing that night, go to GL; it will be somebody rocking whether you’ve heard of them or not. This is where the music is.”