17 Best Bourbon Bars In Louisville

When visiting Louisville, Kentucky, your trip is not complete without an abundant dose of bourbon whiskey. It's not only the drink of the Bluegrass State, it's the official native spirit of the U.S., and there is no better bourbon city than Louisville.

Of course, if you do find yourself with some extended time to spend in Kentucky, a thorough quest of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail is also a must. The excursion was established in 1999 by the Kentucky Distillers' Association to encourage tourists to visit the many esteemed bourbon-makers across the state with a field map outlining every location and a passport to stamp at every stop along the way. Visits to individual distilleries often offer tours and tastings that are very educational and enjoyable, but each is limited to only the whiskeys on site.

Luckily, Kentucky is bourbon obsessed, no self-respecting bar or restaurant in the state will be lacking a wide selection of quality bottles of the spirit, and there is no city with more locations to choose from than Louisville. So, here are some options that will offer bourbons from all across the state for you to sip and savor the very best of Kentucky's greatest export.

The Silver Dollar

The Silver Dollar is an iconic piece of the city of Louisville. The building, currently operating as a restaurant and bar, was built back in 1890 and was originally a firehouse, according to Hipstorical. It sustained as one of the oldest continuously operating firehouses in the country until it finally closed and became The Silver Dollar in 2009. Since then, The Silver Dollar has accomplished its mission to embody the spirit of the "Bakersfield Sound" that revolutionized country music and served as the soundtrack of the courage of toughness of the westward expansion era.

As for its bourbon selection, The Silver Dollar offers dozens of whiskeys including reliable classics from the full Maker's Mark and Wild Turkey lineups. It was named one of the top 10 bourbon bars in the U.S. by GQ magazine in 2013, and the award for Best Bourbon List 2020 by Leo Readers' Choice.

Proof on Main

Proof on Main can just easily be worth visiting for its food as much as its selection of bourbon. The kitchen is run by executive chef and Kentucky native Jeff Daily, who has taken the concept of local comfort food and elevated it to upscale fare at accessible prices. Located right on Louisville's Main Street, Proof on Main takes pride in its locally sourced cuisine to go along with as good a bourbon shelf as any other.

There are hundreds of bourbons to choose from at Proof on Main, from the classics to rarer, more expensive bottles, such as Kentucky Owl Bourbon, Willett Family Estate 17-Year-Old, and Last Drop Buffalo Trace. If you're willing to completely splurge on one of the rare bourbons out there, you can even order an ounce of Michter's Celebration Sour Mash and spend $800. No matter how basic or bold your bourbon needs, Proof on Main has you covered.

Old Seelbach Bar

The Old Seelbach Bar operates within The Seelbach Hilton Louisville. Not only is the bar authentically restored to resemble what it was like in the early 1900s, but the hotel, itself, is a historic landmark in its own right. The hotel first opened in 1905 and welcomed both famous and infamous figures including F. Scott Fitzgerald, who is said to be inspired to write "The Great Gatsby" by the hotel's luxury, as well as a favored hangout of Al Capone, according to the official site of Kentucky Department of Tourism.

The bourbon selection at Old Seelbach Bar is just as expansive as its historical significance. Their concentration on single-barrel bourbons is rivaled by few, and the bar has earned itself a place on the official Louisville's Urban Bourbon Trail. If you ever make the pilgrimage, this spot will not disappoint.

Bourbons Bistro

Operating inside a building dating back to the 1870s, Bourbons Bistro is located in the historic Clifton section of Louisville. Any bourbon drinker will find Bourbons Bistro to be their paradise. It was awarded a Gold Medal by Whisky Magazine in its Whisky Bars of the World list, according to Bourbons Bistro's website. It offers a selection of more than 130 bourbons as well as a barrel selection program. Options include the familiar favorites in addition to legendary bottles, such as two Pappy Van Winkles.

There are even full bottles available for purchase, one of which is the Old W.L. Stone "Little Tub Whiskey" Bottled in Bond. This pint-sized bottle of whiskey was barreled in the spring of 1917, bottled in the spring of 1933, and is for sale at Bourbons Bistro for $5,000.

Doc Crow's Southern Smokehouse and Raw Bar

What better place to sip on some bourbon than in a building that used to store it? Doc Crow's Southern Smokehouse and Raw Bar operates inside an 1869 building formerly the home of the Bonnie Bros. Distillers warehouse. Bonnie Bros.' distillery was in the neighborhood of Portland, but their bourbon barrels were housed there. Now, Doc Crow's is a restaurant and bourbon bar steeped in the spirit's history and a staple on Whiskey Row.

Doc Crow's is named after bourbon revolutionary Dr. James C. Crow, who was one of the first innovators to utilize both corn and limestone water in bourbon-making. Doc Crow's has plenty of bourbons to choose from, but, if you need some guidance, they offer whiskey flights. There are eight to choose from, including introductory and intermediate levels as well as flights of rye whiskies and small-batch bourbons. Whether you're a bourbon expert or a beginner, Doc Crow's will take care of you.

Down One Bourbon Bar and Restaurant

Down One Bourbon Bar and Restaurant is the ultimate spot for a game day. Located directly next to the KFC Yum Center in downtown Louisville, this place has been serving up eclectic food fare along with quality bourbons since it opened in 2012. You can satisfy pretty much any food craving you may have at Down One, but their tacos are a go-to.

Down One also offers bourbon flights highlighting lineups from the Woodford Reserve, Old Forester, and Four Roses distilleries, as well as one featuring a combination of Michter's and Angel's Envy. Their bourbon selection includes hundreds of bottles plus their fine selection of rye whiskeys as well. If a classic Old Fashioned is your thing, they have one ready to pour on tap, featuring Four Roses bourbon.

Sidebar at Whiskey Row

When in Louisville, you can pretty much spend all of your time on Whiskey Row and keep finding new places to eat and drink, and Sidebar is no exception. Sidebar At Whiskey Row is a go-to spot to watch Louisville basketball for city residents. They have great food, great bourbon, and a great atmosphere to enjoy them in.

This place is known throughout the city for its burgers, so there is reason to make a visit other than its great selection of bourbon, which is also used to make a wide variety of craft cocktails. The two are even fused together on its menu. For instance, the Hung Jury burger includes a topping of bourbon onions and bourbon mushrooms. If you love burgers, bourbon, or both, Sidebar At Whiskey Row is the place for you.

The Village Anchor Pub and Roost

The Village Anchor is one of the most unique bars and restaurants in Louisville. The building is split between two completely different environments. On top is The Village Anchor, a European style-inspired restaurant serving upscale food and atmosphere, dawned with stone, wrought iron, marble, and even original beer taps from Churchill Downs' Silk Bar, the site of the Kentucky Derby.

Below is the Sea Hag Pub, a traditional pub featuring a copper bar holding 62 beers and 55 bourbons. At either bar, you can order from this wide selection of bourbons from all over the state to accompany either a premium meal or a hangout with loved ones. The Village Anchor is a perfect example of how, no matter where you are in Louisville, the bourbon is always the main event, even in a mashup between a French bistro and an English pub.

Merle's Whiskey Kitchen

Merle's Whiskey Kitchen is another Whiskey Row establishment that actually markets itself as a traditional whiskey hall. The bar inside was built in the 1920s, and the ambiance also reflects that historic, old-fashioned vibe. Merle's is a certified stop on the Urban Bourbon Trail as well as a member of the Stave and Thief Society, an organization founded in 2014 and the first bourbon certification program recognized by the industry (via Stave and Thief Society).

The bourbon you get at Merle's Whiskey Kitchen is completely unavailable at any other place. This is because Merle's hand-selected its very own bourbon barrels from various distilleries and had those bourbons tested, manipulated, and bottled especially for them. These include personally selected and private barrels of Russel's Reserve Single barrel, Woodford Reserve, Jefferson's Reserve, Buffalo Trace Single Barrel, Maker's Mark 46, and Old Forester Single barrel. At Merle's Whiskey Kitchen, you are guaranteed a one-of-a-kind bourbon experience brought to you by people passionate about the industry, its craft, and where it comes from.

Jockey Silks Bourbon Bar

Jockey Silks Bourbon Bar first opened back in 1972 as one of the very first bourbon bars in Louisville. Since then, it has sustained as one of the finest. Not only is it one of the founding members of the Urban Bourbon Trail, but it was also named one of the best bourbon bars in America by The Bourbon Review as part of its 2022 awards.

In 2019, Jockey Silks reopened after a renovation period to modernize the space and became an upscale lounge with more than 100 bottles of bourbon to choose from. Its menu is very user-friendly too, broken down by distillery name and distance of each distillery from their location. Here, you will know exactly where your bourbon is coming from, either from places you may have visited yourself or others you did not know existed until a look at the menu.

Levee Bourbon Lounge

Levee Bourbon Lounge is the perfect balance between nostalgic and modern. It has a distinctly speakeasy-like feel to it while also being as contemporary, fresh, and stylish as any other cocktail lounge. The bourbon paraphernalia on the walls and warmly colored infrastructure make this place an excellent spot to sip on some great bourbon.

There are 277 bourbons to choose from, to be exact, and if you're thinking such an extensive selection is overwhelming, they've done you the courtesy of putting together 24 different flights as well. These are broken down into numerous categories including by distillery, mash bill, pioneering brands, single barrels, bottle-in-bonds, wine cask finished, and rum cask finished. Most bourbon bars have any bourbon necessary to satisfy your taste. Levee Bourbon Lounge has any flight to do the same.

Neat Bourbon Bar and Bottle Shop

Walking into Neat Bourbon Bar & Bottle Shop is like taking a passage through time. This establishment, although only just opened in early 2022, is a vintage-themed bourbon lounge that encapsulates the rich history of America's spirit. Wooden walls, booths, and furniture all contribute to making Neat a romantic experience.

Neat Bourbon Bar offers an extensive selection of bourbon, each categorized by the distillery. Where most bourbon bars have one expression of a certain brand, however, Neat seems to offer every single edition. For example, there are 11 bottles of Blanton's to choose from, ranging from bottles from 1990 to 2021. They even offer pours of Stitzel-Weller Very Old Fitzgerald, bottled in 1967. Neat Bourbon Bar will draw you in with the atmosphere and keep you there with its whiskey.

Gertie's Whiskey Bar

The original Gertie's Whiskey Bar is located in Nashville, Tennessee, but their Louisville location is just as awesome. The bar is named after Gertrude Cleo Lythgoe, who was referred to as the "Queen of the bootleggers" during the Prohibition Era. Gertie's locations are both quite modern, but they do present an element of history, a history well represented through their collection of whiskeys.

These whiskeys are broken up by their geography, with sections for Kentucky, Tennessee, east of the Mississippi, west of the Mississippi, Scotland, Ireland, and Japan. Their bourbon takes up the majority of the list, however. Not only is there a lot of whiskeys to choose from, but you can also choose where to enjoy it. Gertie's Louisville location offers the main bar area, a speakeasy-style downstairs, and an outdoor patio with high-top tables. There's plenty of room, plenty of whiskeys, and plenty of good times to be had.

Taste Fine Wines and Bourbons

Taste Fine Wines and Bourbons is actually a store to buy bourbon, wine, and other spirits, but this place is nothing like your local liquor store. With a great location in the East Market District of Louisville, this bar/retailer has 438 different bourbons available, 155 of which are offered as part of a guided tasting.

If you or a friend or family member is not too keen on bourbon, or whiskey in general, there is just as good a selection of wine. Taste Fine Wines and Bourbons strives to offer bottles that often go overlooked by larger, more mainstream retailers. Here, there is no doubt you will be able to try something you haven't had before or even something you've never even heard of. There are discoveries to be made at this bar and bottle shop, as well as experts to help you along the way.

Frank's Whiskey Place

Frank's Whiskey Place is the first, and only, bourbon bar on this list to distinctly be pet friendly. Opening just this year, Frank's does not only have a great selection of bourbon, including top-shelf pours for just $13, but it also offers treats for your dog. It doesn't get any better than that.

During the holiday season, Frank's offers a Santa Claus photo-op every Sunday for you and your dog to have your picture taken with Santa. This spot features a super friendly atmosphere all around with whiskey experts to help guide beginners as well as connoisseurs. Sometimes, walking into a serious bourbon or any spirits bar can be a little intimidating. With so much to know about the topic, being a novice about it may not be the most welcoming place. At Frank's Whiskey Place, you can rest assured of walking into a super casual environment open to answering any questions you may have in addition to plenty of great bourbons.

North of Bourbon

North of Bourbon is a restaurant and bourbon bar that does both exceptionally well. The kitchen is led by an up-and-coming chef named Lawrence Weeks, who has worked under Todd Richards, a chef recognized by the James Beard Foundation. A Kentucky native, Weeks returned to his home state to combine the knowledge and skills he accumulated elsewhere with his roots in Cajun and Southern cooking. That, along with the bourbon selection of over 300 bottles, makes for the ultimate Southern dining experience.

The space, itself, is modern and sleek. The dining booths are actually designed to look like bourbon barrels, which is one unique feature that makes an evening here that much more fun. It's a great environment to sip on timeless classics or indulge in one of their many, original craft cocktails, including four original Old Fashioneds.

Trouble Bar

Trouble Bar is one of the most esteemed bourbon bars in the entire state of Kentucky. In fact, it is the only Kentucky establishment to be included in Esquire's "The Best Bars In America" list for 2021.

There is plenty offered at Trouble Bar, including a wide array of specialty and original cocktails, wine, and beer. Of course, it is its bourbon that is best, especially, its flight selection. Each flight is carefully curated by the staff at Trouble Bar, and each comes with a brief background to educate customers on what they are tasting. These include the "Strong Whiskey, Strong Women" flight, dedicated to the founder of Bourbon Women, Peggy Noe Stevens; a flight for beginners; and one called "The Aficionado," which includes a barrel select of Willett 6 Year Family Estate Rye. You will be more than taken care of at Trouble Bar, so come check out this cool space and drink some great whiskey.