Whether you're just in town for the weekend or a local who rarely ventures to the heart of the city, we can be your guide to where to go and what to do in Louisville.
Most spots are near the KFC Yum! Center, Kentucky Center for the Arts & Waterfront Park which is called the Gallery District. Walking up 4th Street away from the Ohio River, you'll find Fourth Street Live!, an entertainment district, and more restaurants in iconic hotels (the Brown, the Seelbach). Other nearby neighborhoods include NuLu (a mile-long walk east of downtown) and the Highlands, Old Louisville & Germantown (all a short drive from downtown).
Troll Pub Under the Bridge, 150 W. Washington St. (Gallery District), (502) 618-4829
Go there for: Situated just to the side of the bridge, the Troll Pub is a preferred dining and drinking destination for game- and concert-bound folks, but on off nights, anyone who wants a drink and some ambitious pub grub in a great environment will love the place.
Bristol Bar & Grill, 614 W. Main St. (Gallery District), (502) 582-1995
Go there for: The service is kind and professional, the food is fresh and tasty, and the price is reasonable. Always order the green chili wantons. Seriously.
Doc Crow's Southern Smokehouse, 127 W. Main St. (Gallery District), (502) 257-7132
Go there for: The culinary heritage of the South with a menu of traditional favorites and fresh seafood. The beverage program focuses on America's native spirit, bourbon, and features excellent wines.
Hillbilly Tea, 120 S. First St. (Gallery District), (502) 587-7350
Go there for: This new place is where you go for all your favorite teas. They even have a tea called Awesome. There is also a full menu of lunch items, including barbecue and burgers.
Garage Bar, 700 E. Market St. (NuLu), (502) 749-7100
Go there for: Garage Bar is housed in a former auto service garage in the East Market neighborhood where Chef Michael Paley produces pizzas from a wood-fired brick oven he brought Naples, Italy.
Toast on Market, 736 E. Market St. (NuLu), (502) 569-4099
Go there for: A wide variety of delicious breakfast items served all day including thick slices of brioche-based French toast, a jalapeno-infused Bloody Mary & more.
RYE, 900 E. Market St. (NuLu), (502) 749-6200
Go there for: The menu changes daily so expect the unexpected. Entrees are formidable — and shareable — but you could make a fabulous communal meal from the small plates and sides.
APPETIZERS AND DRINKS
Proof on Main, 702 W. Main St. (Gallery District), (502) 217-6360
Go there for: The food is delicious, the drinks are wonderful, but it's the decor that makes Proof on Main worth going to. Plus, the bar & restaurant located inside 21c Museum Hotel boasts the best bathroom in the city.
Bistro 301, 301 W. Market St. (Downtown), (502) 584-8337
Go there for: A charming restaurant and coffee shop in downtown Louisville. There is a full bar and happy hour is 4 to 7 p.m. on weekdays.
Bar at Blu, 280 W. Jefferson St. (Downtown), (502) 627-50457
Go there for: While its neighbor Champions is a bustling sports bar, Bar at Blu is a more sophisticated martini bar. You can get appetizers from Blu and sip a drink while you relax after a long day.
Z's Oyster Bar & Steakhouse, 115 S. Fourth St. (Downtown), (502) 855-8000
Go there for: Executive chef Dallas McGarity is leading the kitchen and has created a wide-ranging menu influenced by global cuisines.
Wiltshire on Market, 636 E. Market St. (NuLu), (502) 589-5224
Go there for: Focused on local cuisine, the menu includes a mix of traditional European munchies such as olives, nuts, cheeses, charcuterie and bruschetta.
VINCENZo'S, 150 S. Fifth St. (Downtown), (502) 580-1350
Go there for: One of the best Italian restaurants in the city is definitely a high-end establishment, no posers here. This place is first-class all the way so bring your A-game, and your A-game wallet, too.
Oakroom at the Seelbach, 500 S. Fourth St. (Downtown), (502) 585-3200
Go there for: . With four wine cellars with more than 1,400 bottles and 40+ types of bourbon to choose from, surely you can find something to drink. And the food is some of the highest reviewed and most awarded in the city.
The English Grill, 335 W. Broadway (Downtown), (502) 736-2996
Go there for: The home of Louisville's most famous feast, the Hot Brown sandwich. The Four Diamond restaurant is on the second floor of the Brown Hotel, and you can expect nothing but the best from Chef Laurent Geroli.
Mayan Cafe, 813 E. Market St. (NuLu), (502) 566-0651
Go there for: A simple, elegant restaurant that focuses on one of the great cuisines of Latin America: Mayan-style food from the Mexican province of Oaxaca and from the Yucatan Peninsula.
Harvest, 624 E. Market St. (NuLu), (502) 384-9090
Go there for: Farm-to-table food is on the menu at Harvest. 80% of the products are sourced from within 100 miles.
Jeff Ruby's, 325 W. Main St. (Gallery District), (502) 584-0102
Go there for: There's a 1,200 gallon fish tank, sushi bar with garden decorations, art on the walls and tons of glass panels on the ceiling holstered at different angles. The specialty is, of course, steak.
Bluegrass Brewing Company, 300 W. Main St. (Gallery District), (502) 562-0007
Go there for: A down-to-earth bar and grill just across the street from the KFC Yum! Center where you can order a decent, affordable meal and a good local draft beer before or after a game.
Sergio's World of Beers, 1605 Story Ave. (NuLu), (502) 618-2337
Go there for: If you have some time to venture outside of downtown (this spot is not within walking distance), you'll find over 1000 brews at this world class beer emporium.
Maker's Mark Lounge, 446 S. Fourth St. (Fourth Street Live), (502) 568-9009
Go there for: This Fourth Street Live bar/restaurant will leave its mark on you. The atmosphere is cozy, and needless to say, the bourbon is top-notch.
Jockey Silks at the Galt House, 140 N. Fourth St. (Gallery District), (502) 589-5200
Go there for: Get your bourbon drink on here. You can pick from more than 120 types of bourbons, and if you can't make up your mind there's always the tasting tray. Munch on some bar food while you drink.
The Marketplace Restaurant, 651 S. Fourth St. (Downtown), (502) 625-3001
Go there for: It's just the sort of multifaceted center that you'd find in the large cities throughout the country, a place where you buy can fruit, cheese and wine to take back to the hotel room, grab a bagel in the morning, return in the evening for wine and live jazz, or settle in for a meal.
Mozz Mozzarella Bar & Enoteca, 445 E. Market St. (NuLu), (502) 690-6699
Go there for: You like cheese? Who doesn't? (No, seriously. Who doesn't?) Mozz is the place to get you some. It calls itself an Italian Supper Club, Neapolitan Pizza bar and more.
Prime Lounge, 104 W. Main St. (Gallery District), (502) 587-7463
Go there for: Offering a long wine list and more than 20 different kinds of martinis, you'll need to 'dress to impress' to fit in at this swanky downtown hotspot.
Sully's Saloon, 434 S. Fourth St. (Fourth Street Live), (502) 585-4100
Go there for: The party never stops at Sully's, well maybe for a few hours, but not for too long. It's the only one of the Fourth Street Live nightclubs open seven days a week.
Tengo Sed Cantina, 432 S. Fourth St. (Fourth Street Live), (502) 540-1461
Go there for: Tex-Mex food, gallons of tequila and scantily clad ladies are the formula for success at this hot club. And, really, what's not to like about a place that brings in Playboy Playmates for its parties?
LATE NIGHT SNACK
Sports & Social Club, 427 S. Fourth St. (Fourth Street Live), (502) 568-1400
Go there for: A relaxed sports bar offering classic pub food and tremendous sports viewing, in a comfortable tavern setting. Serving lunch, dinner and a dynamic nightlife with bowling, live entertainment & more.
Spinelli's Pizzeria, 538 South 5th St. (Gallery District), (502) 749-0919
Go there for: Giant slices of Philly-style pizza, hip atmosphere & open til 5:00am to fulfill your late night cravings.
Bearno's by the Bridge, 131 W. Main St. (Gallery District), (502) 584-7437
Go there for: The atmosphere is family and/or buisnessman-friendly in the afternoon and early evening, but at nighttime it becomes more of a bar. On the weekends there is usually live music.
EAT LIKE A LOCAL
Frankfort Avenue Beer Depot, 3204 Frankfort Ave. (East Louisville), (502) 895-3223
Go there for: The nine-hole miniature golf course out back is what draws most people to this joint, but they often stick around for the barbecue, which is smoked out front on a huge grill.
Check's Cafe, 1101 E. Burnett Ave. (Germantown), (502) 637-9515
Go there for: This humble Germantown spot has great food and tasty drinks. Regulars surround the small bar and gleefully eat the home-style cooking. Newcomers are welcomed with open arms.
Baxter Station, 1201 Payne St. (Highlands), (502) 584-1635
Go there for: Not too big but not a hole-in- the-wall, Baxter Station Bar and Grill may look like it would be famous for beer and burgers -- which it does well -- but the menu also includes dishes like pan steamed mussels, warm goat cheese salad and a veggie Cuban sandwich.
The Back Door, 1250 Bardstown Rd. (Highlands), (502) 451-0659
Go there for: When you walk in, it's easy to tell it is a neighborhood bar with a friendly group of regulars; easy to tell because they are all painted on the wall -- literally. Aside from a drama-free night, you will get good hot wings, burgers and sandwiches from the kitchen and fresh, cold beer at the bar.
Havana Rumba, 4115 Oechsli Ave. (East Louisville), (502) 897-1959
Go there for: Authentic Cuban cuisine so flavorful, it will make you wonder where this little restaurant has been all your life. It's small, hidden away from the road, and a favorite among Louisvillians.