If you’re in need of a long weekend getaway, consider heading to Louisville! This guide will give ideas for what to eat, where to shop, and places to dance the night away.
For those of you who have followed Wit & Wishes since the beginning: yes, I went back to Louisville this year. Unlike last year, however, my travel buddy (Shannon) and I didn’t go to a random music festival. Instead, we started with the best intentions of having a girls weekend that sampled both downtown and Bardstown Road…but, ended up mostly on Bardstown Road! Still, there are some highlights that I definitely want to share with you all. Read on to learn about some restaurants, shops, and bars that we enjoyed! Also, please excuse the lack of pictures. I was trying to ~unplug~ but didn’t quite think that through…
Without further ado:
Havana Rumba: This delicious Cuban restaurant is located on Bardstown Road – shocker – and boasts some authentic Cuban flavor at reasonable prices. My favorite dish was the Pescado a la Parilla: grilled Swai fish fillet with a cilantro and garlic rub. My dish came with rice, black beans, aioli, and plantains – needless to say, I had more than enough food!
North End Cafe: Also located on Bardstown Road (do you see the pattern here?), this cute little “fine diner” has a menu featuring classics with surprisingly sophisticated upgrades. For example: their hearty Shrimp & Grits with a tarragon butter sauce. Yes please!
LouVino: Miraculously, we did not go to the Bardstown Road location of LouVino! Instead, we ventured out to Douglass Hills for Sunday brunch. I would highly recommend the $2 Mimosa Special, the biscuit starter with seasonal jam, and the Farmer’s Market Frittata baked with sautéed vegetables, eggs, mozzarella, and mixed greens.
During our exploration along Bardstown Road on Saturday (during which we stumbled upon a cute fall festival), we found quite the mix of boutiques! For the sake of clarity – and to avoid being redundant in my descriptions – I’ve split these into three categories:
If you want true vintage:Dot Fox + Hey Tiger: Both of these shops have a cozy, eclectic atmosphere with tons of fun vintage clothing and accessories to discover. I did pick up some Palo Santo from Dot Fox, but saved most of my spending for Baz and Bea (see below).
If you like to keep it trendy: Pitaya + General Eccentric: In contrast to the above boutiques, these two definitely focus on what’s trendy for women present-day. Both have pretty reasonably pricing, but I did find more items that I liked in GenEcc versus Pitaya. It’s also worth noting that Pitaya isn’t just based in Louisville, and that the sizes run pretty small. Great if you’re petite, tricky if you have an athletic frame (hi, me!).
If you want the best of both worlds: Baz and Bea: Shannon and I ended up spending the most time in this boutique, but it was so worth it! Baz and Bea specializes in sourcing unique women’s fashion, as well as fabric/wood-dyeing for a truly one-of-a-kind pieces. We had a great chat with Justin, one of the owners, and he helped us style a few pieces that we ended up taking home. Out of all the boutiques, this one was our favorite!
Nowhere Bar: This bar is located in the Highlands of Louisville along Bardstown Road, and it manages to be the perfect mix of dive-y and trendy all at once! The outside has a patio and is decorated with colorful lights (and located next to the aptly-named “Somewhere” restaurant), while the inside has pool tables and your standard bar decor. But, the aspect that really makes the difference here is their active dance-floor – complete with laser lights and fog. I’m not 100% sure why, but I have a special place in my heart for bars that have unexpected dance-floors. Speaking of which…
Zanzabar: Ah, Zanzabar (Z bar for short). This is by far my favorite bar in Louisville, and it quickly became Shannon’s too. When you first enter Z Bar, it looks like a normal dive bar, albeit with tons of arcade games. But, if you keep walking to the very back of the bar and turn left, you come across a massive dance-floor and stage! And, if you’re there on a Saturday night, you can expect DJs playing EDM and top hits with – you guessed it – laser lights and fog. Quick tip: if you’re dressed to impressed, feel free to ask the bouncer on the side of the stage if you can go up and dance! No matter how you spend your time at Z Bar, it’s a guaranteed good time.
Seidenfaden’s: Seidenfaden’s was the last bar that we went to in Louisville, largely because my friend Sam was DJing that night (be sure to check out his Instagram – he’s awesome!). Seidenfaden’s definitely attracts a different crowd than Nowhere and Z Bar, but in a good way! Seidenfaden’s is located in Germantown and draws a more artsy, hipster crowd. The interior is funky, with random artwork on the walls (such as a painting of “It”), but the dance-floor got packed. Overall, it was an awesome way to end our Louisville trip: dancing and having a great time, sans the laser-light-headaches!
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’m fully aware that these recommendations just barely scratch the surface of all that Louisville has to offer! Regardless, I hope that you learned of a new spot to check out for your own visit. If you’re a Louisville local/native, what places are can’t-miss in your book?