LexGo's Lexington Bar Guide 2011: 64 great places to drink

August 19, 2011 


    Bar reviews were contributed by Herald-Leader staff members Peter Baniak, Linda B. Blackford, Rich Copley, Tom Eblen, Beverly Fortune, Harriett Hendren, Josh Kegley, Beth Musgrave, Joel Pett, Joy Priest, Sharon Ruble, Sally Scherer, Scott Shive and Alicia Wincze.

A lot has changed for Lexington's drinking culture in the year since we published our first Lexington Bar Guide.

The faltering economy has taken its toll on the notoriously tough restaurant and bar industry, and several popular watering holes have closed. (RIP: Bakers 360, Mia's, Pulse, Bar Louie.)

But entrepreneurs have stepped in to fill the void with ever-flowing firewater. (Welcome: Table Three Ten, Nick Ryan's Saloon, The Crossroad at Southland, Blue Agave Cantina, Wildcat Saloon, Hugh Jass Burgers.)

During the past few weeks, the LexGo Central staff has been visiting bars new and old to come up with this collection of 64 bars and restaurants where having a drink can be an experience.

Not in the guide are a few high-profile places that are on the verge of opening: Trust, the bar in the beautifully renovated space on Main Street across from the CentrePointe block, is set to open Sept. 9; Parlay Social, a Prohibition Era-themed "performance lounge" in the former Pulse space at Short and Market streets, also is expected to open in September; and Forte, which takes the place of the Euclid Avenue staple Blue Moon, is set to open later this month.

Peruse our pull-out guide, suitable for saving, to discover a new favorite watering hole and learn something new about your neighborhood pub.

See the list of links to the right, where the places are broken into several categories, or click the links here:

» Neighborhood bars

» Beer, bourbon and wine bars

» Sports bars

» Bars with a great view

» Gay bars

» Entertainment venues

» Student bars

» Stylish bars

Contributing columnist Wendy Miller discusses the evolving Lexington's drinking culture and shares some tips on new experiences.

You'll find Q&As with a few bartenders we think you should get to know. If you decide to patronize their establishments, tell them we sent you.

It goes without saying: Always drink responsibly, and never, ever drink and drive. Any bar will gladly call you a cab if you've had one too many. Please take advantage of that service.

It also goes without saying that we could not include every bar. We stuck to places in Fayette County. There are plenty of great bars in the surrounding area, but they aren't included here. We also focused on locally owned places, although a few chains made it in.

If we missed your favorite, in or outside of Lexington, drop me an email at sshive@herald-leader.com; we'll try to include it in next year's guide.

Until then, we hope you have as much fun as we did exploring the variety of bars that Lexington offers, meeting new people along the way and hearing their stories.

Scott Shive, Weekender editor

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