People are always asking where to stay, which distillery to visit, which bar has the best bourbon list and where to eat when they head to Kentucky for their bourbon pilgrimage. Here’s the thing, just because we love a place doesn’t mean you will.  This week we took The Bourbon Road to Louisville for an interview with Jason Brauner of Buzzard’s Roost Sipping Whiskeys  and part owner of Bourbons Bistro . The trip got me to thinking of my list of places to stay, distilleries to visit, drink and eat while on The Bourbon Road or as some call it the bourbon pilgrimage.

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Let’s keep this bourbon trip list to just Louisville for this blog. In future blogs I will take you to Bardstown, Lexington and Frankfort. I will even add to my list, Liquor Stores that are both honest and have a nice selection. I will select my top 3 must for each category. Just remember that this is Big Chief’s list from my experiences. Let’s get started my top three in each category in no particular order.  This grand old hotel was built in 1905 and is regarded among the finest hotels in the U.S.. F. Scott Fitzgerald, who took inspiration from the Seelbach for a hotel in The Great Gatsby. It’s a part of the Hilton chain and of course has it on bourbon bar. Gangsters such as Lucky Luciano, Dutch Schultz, and Al Capone all were frequent guest of the Seelbach as well as several U.S. Presidents.  This hotel opened in 1923 and is home to the Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich. If that isn’t enough its right on 4th street which has plenty of bars, restaurant and entertainment like 4th Street Live where is Louisville goes to kick up their heels.  The hotel on the Ohio River. You won’t get a more beautiful view and what’s more they have a roof top dinning that spins. The brunch is a must. Its within walking distance of most of the Urban Bourbon distilleries. It has two amazing bourbon bars, Down one Bourbon bar and Jockey Silks Bourbon Bar.  Great for steaks! Bobby Benjamin, executive chef and owner culinary philosophy is simple, like his food: respect ingredients, cook with integrity and be honest on the plate. I can tell you he meets all those with his food and the bar at this place is on spot.   If you want to try something a little different, then this is it. Put a little Cuban flare in your life. La Bodeguita de Mima has been a dream of Owners, Chefs, and cousins Fernando and Yaniel Martinez. From early childhood they discovered their passion for food and family. Learning all they could as children from their mothers and their abuela(grandmother) Ela’s kitchens.   Doc Crow’s showcases the culinary heritage of the South with a menu of traditional favorites and fresh seafood. The world-class beverage program focuses on America’s native spirit, bourbon, and features excellent wines.. If you’re looking for variety then look no further. Right on Whiskey Row and in walking distance to all three hotels and distilleries that I listed.   Just to see something new and innovative. Their tour and bar are amazing.  Because every bourbon lover needs to get into a craft distillery.   Just a cool place to visit and you might just be able to grab one amazing bottle.  This place is one of the top bourbon bars in American on many list. It is located in a remodeled fire house, is known for their loud honky-tonk atmosphere and amazing bourbon list.   This bar right on whiskey row is a must. The bartenders are well-informed and accommodating. The bourbon and rye is second to none.  Louisville’s premiere riverfront dining destination. They have a spectacular view of the river and their bourbon bar is amazing. You can also enjoy one amazing meal.  A place you have heard Jim and I mention time and time again. Chris Zaborowski is famous for his bourbon picks and you can taste almost anything before you buy it at their tasting bar.   Liquor Barn St. Matthews is a store you don’t want to miss, they have a great tasting bar and their bourbon bar is great, but what you want to see if there wall of bourbon.  This place might look small from the outside but they have some amazing picks and the staff is out of this world on the way they take care of you and explain bourbon.

We hope this list will help you plan your pilgrimage and I look forward to compiling a list for both Bardstown and Lexington/Frankfort to help you have a more enjoyable trip to the Bluegrass state.  We do suggest you pick up a bottle of Buzzard’s Roost Sipping Whiskeys and visit Jason at Bourbons Bistro. You will be missing out if you don’t. If they have the Buzzard’s Roost toasted on the shelf it is something special. 

So grab a glass, hopefully one of ours, a bottle of your favorite craft bourbon and listen as Jim and I take The Bourbon Road to Louisville to visit with Jason Brauner of Buzzard’s Roost. Cheers

Mike (Big Chief)