Best Food, Drink in Louisville for Kentucky Derby 2018
When you live in a city with as many stellar places to eat as Louisville, it’s easy to take for granted. One of the best parts of being a Airbnb Superhost in town is to see my city through the eyes of travellers.
The people who stay at our full-time home rental in Old Louisville bring enthusiasm and appreciation for our offerings that make me want to go out and eat and drink through Derby City every night.
Our Airbnb has a guest-sourced chalkboard guide to the best food and drink according to travelers, and I thought it would be fun to share that with my fellow Louisville folks ahead of the 2018 Kentucky Derby.
Nothing will surpass the haiku for Mayan coffee lima beans on the board, but enthusiastic thumbs up are also given to hammerhead sharks (put your hipster jeans on, they said), lobster ramen at Chik’n & Miand the new Northern lime donuts.
Some of our past guests were happy to share their top picks for readers. So dive in. This is the best kind of culinary tour:
“My husband and I went to Butchertown Grocery for my birthday dinner, and we were blown away by the restaurant and its food. The orecchiette (from chef Bobby Benjamin) with butternut squash and spicy pork sausage was sensational! My Ribs with polenta were rich and delicious. Delicious for a more upscale evening!” — Alexis from Houston
“We had an outstanding all at this place. Best choice for a little fancier dinner where you want to linger in the restaurant all night and have no other plans.” — Lisa from Seattle
“Another great classy option in Louisville. Great cocktails, interesting decor (we loved having all the art to look at), and delicious food (I had the smoked brisket sandwich last time, and it was great).” — Alexis from Houston
“We really loved Proof on Main for their whiskey selection and Against a current The brewery, 401 E. Main St., had great staff and a wonderful selection of really interesting beers. And probably our favorite night was at Highland Tasting Room, 1056 Bardstown Road. They had a great selection of whiskeys, cheap glasses of hard to find bourbons, some truly amazing locals, and of course a pool table!” — Tanya and David of Jersey City
“It was an awesome bar with a great whiskey selection, fun music, friendly bartenders and, of course, beer hen. PSA: Don’t drink the canned beer. For real.” — Lisa from Seattle
“Silver Dollar has a great brunch. I still catch myself thinking about that Texas Toast Stack some mornings!” – Alexis from Houston
“We stumbled upon Dragon King’s Daughter the very first time we came to Louisville, and have returned (sometimes for multiple meals!) every time we have visited. They have a special fusion of Mexican and Japanese that is just amazing. Think avocado tempura with mango chili sauce or snapper with wasabi aoli. Delicious! Plus they have a late night happy hour from 10pm until closing which is great for theatergoers, going out after a play and needing a snack of sushi.” — Debra from Athens Ohio
milk wood316 Main Street West.
“This last visit to Louisville, we had tickets to a whole weekend of plays at Theater Actors, so we couldn’t stray far for our meals. Luckily for us, Milkwood is on site, and they not only served slow roast pork with coconut rice so delicious I almost licked my plate, but it’s also where we met Juan, a bartender who is an absolute entertainer. He created custom cocktails for us; one started with duck fat infused gin and ended with fresh lime. I can’t explain the magic, but it was fantastic!” — Debra from Athens, Ohio
“Copper and Kings was my favorite distillery tour. Not only are they standing tall with a mission statement that basically involves being a good human, but they have a great story and even better spirits. Limited release gins are all worth trying, even the ones I haven’t tried yet… I’m confident. The Cr&ftwerks line is brandy aged in different casks previously used for various beers and spirits. These were also great to try.
“With all the taste, this is the coolest aging technique to check out – Sonic Aging. The playlists on their website aren’t just for fun – they actually play them, loud – in the warehouse and the sound waves move the mind in the barrel. (Move the mind…) It replaces the humans who have to muscle the barrels. I love bourbon and really enjoyed the bourbon distilleries we visited , but Copper & Kings was definitely the most unique distillery and makes for a great tour.” — Lisa from Seattle
Derby parties you can actually attend? Here are some chic (and fun) ones in Louisville
“Monnik Beer Company was a great recommendation coming straight from the Airbnb host which illustrates the clear differences between a good host and a great host – the latter being exceptionally knowledgeable about their area beyond easy Yelp searches and searches We loved the outdoor patio which is dog friendly so our four legged friends can enjoy some downtime while we enjoy beers – great selection – and food – the Donder Fries Mouth-watering just thinking about it!” — Michelle, Ben and dog Remi from Washington, DC
garage bar700 E. Market St.
“It’s what the name suggests: a bar that’s in a garage. But we loved the style — fun, laid back, inviting, perfect for a midday tune-up. We snacked on the salmon pizza and capers — a cool take on the more traditional brunch staple of lox and bagels. Michelle, Ben and dog Remi from Washington, DC
“For us, Against The Grain was the best of both worlds. We met some family there, and the menu and atmosphere were kid-friendly. But after they left, we headed to the bar to find out more about the beer and the place – and to hear that we made it. The bartenders were happy to tell us the stories behind the fun funky designs on the beer cans, guide us to new experiments in the mixed drinks and helping us weave our way through a tasty BBQ menu.touristy from the outside, but don’t let that fool you – it’s quirky, it’s fun and it’s a great place in Louisville .” — Michelle, Ben and the dog Remi, Washington, DC
Tell it to Dana! Send your restaurant “Dish” to Dana McMahan at [email protected] and follow @danamac on Twitter.
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Other hotspots in Louisville recommended by foreigners:
► Akasha Brewery909 E. Market St., #700
► El Mundo2345 Frankfurt Ave.
► Gralehaus1001 Baxter Ave.
► Lola1076 E.Washington St.
► Mayan Coffee813 E. Market St.
► Old Louisville Brewery625 W. Magnolia Ave.
► Please and thank you800 E. Market St., 252 E. Market St. and 2341 Frankfort Ave.
► Feathers930 Baxter Ave., 327 W. Cardinal Blvd., 802 E. Main St. and 137 E. Market St., New Albany, Indiana
► Royal Hot Chicken736 E. Market St.
► Zanzabar2100 S. Preston St.