Lexington Bar Guide 2012: A refresher on 87 of Lexington's favorite watering holes

August 22, 2012 

Here are the details on 87 Lexington bars and restaurants with significant bar scenes that we have included in the three previous editions of our annual Lexington Bar Guide or are featuring this year. If we reviewed it in the past, a capsule review is included. If it's featured this year, we have referred you to where it's featured.

Please note that all information was up to date at the time of publication, but it's all subject to change. If you question the information, call ahead to make sure.


The most popular kind of bar in Lexington is also the most comfortable and casual. Try out some of these neighborhood haunts.

A.P. Suggins Bar and Grill. Click here.

Cheapside Bar and Grill. 131 Cheapside. (859) 254-0046. Cheapsidebarandgrill.com. Lunch/brunch: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat., Sun. Dinner: 5 p.m.-close daily. From 2011: You can't beat the view or the breeze from the patio's upper deck. During happy hour and on weekends, the place can be packed, especially with an after-work crowd of downtown professionals.

Chevy Chase Inn. 833 Euclid Ave. (859) 266-9422. Hours: 2 p.m.-midnight Mon.-Thu., 2 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Fri., 11 a.m.-2:30 a.m. Sat., 4 p.m.-midnight Sun. From 2011: The oldest continually operating bar in Lexington (since 1933), CCI is a seasoned "hole in the wall," full of regulars who come to get the signature drink — the strongest version in town of whatever tickles their fancy.

Durango's. 2121 Richmond Rd. (859) 268-0723. Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun.-Thu., 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Fri., Sat. From 2011: If you want fancy, artisan margaritas, look elsewhere. Durango's, like most Mexican restaurants, is about comfort, casualness and family-friendly fun.

El Toro Cantina and Grill. 1917 Nicholasville Rd. (859) 277-2255. Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun.-Thu., 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. From 2010: Margaritas are the specialty, and the patio dining area is perfect for warm-weather dining and drinking.

The Grey Goose Bar and Restaurant. 170 Jefferson St. (859) 233-1500. Facebook.com/GreyGooseLex. Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun.-Wed.; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Thu.; 11 a.m.-midnight Fri., Sat. Second location: 133 E. Main St., Midway. From 2011: The Goose's extensive outdoor patio with a bar, which was recently expanded, is a popular watering spot for the after-business cocktail crowd and for the smartphone generation on weekends.

Jalapeños. Click here.

Malabu Pub and Grille. Click here.

McCarthy's Irish Bar. 117 S. Upper St. (859) 258-2181. Mccarthysirishbar.com. Hours: 11 a.m.-2:30 a.m. Mon.-Sat., noon-2:30 a.m. Sun. From 2011: The college crowd has become more prominent in recent years, but McCarthy's remains the most authentic Irish bar in Lexington.

Merrick Inn. 1074 Merrick Dr. (859) 269-5417. Themerrickinn.com. Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 5:30-10 p.m. Sat. Bar open until 1 a.m. Fri., Sat. From 2011: Come summertime, throngs turn out to lounge, drink and eat on the patio. Merrick's "Big Bar" is a place to see and be seen — and have a good drink.

Mi Mexico. Click here.

Molly Brooke's Irish Bar. 109 N. Limestone. (859) 420-5792 Hours: 3 p.m.-2:30 a.m. daily. Molly Brooke's is a favorite stop for many, even though the more veteran McCarthy's Irish Bar is just a couple of streets over.

Ole Hookers Bait 'n' Tackle Bar and Grille. Click here.

O'Neill's. Click here.

Ramsey's Diner. 496 E. High St. (859) 259-2708. Ramseysdiners.com. Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Sat.-Sun. (Other locations include 4053 Tates Creek Center Dr., 4391 Old Harrodsburg Rd. and 3090 Helmsdale Pl.) From 2010: Although it's known for its homey food more than its drink, the restaurant's popular bar always has a drink of the day.

Rosebud. 121 N. Mill St. (859) 254-1907. Rosebudbar.tripod.com. Hours: 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Mon.-Sat. From 2011: Rosebud is a fun, homey, unpretentious, if-these-walls-could-talk kind of joint.

Saul Good Restaurant and Pub. 1808 Alysheba Way. (859) 317-9200. Saulgoodpub.com. Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thu.; 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri., Sat.; 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun.; the kitchen stops service an hour before closing. Second location: 3801 Mall Rd., in The Plaza at Fayette Mall. From 2011: Saul Good is like going to your friend's well-decorated house for a little get-together.

Shamrock Bar and Grille. 154 Patchen Dr. (859) 269-7621. Shamrocksky.com. Hours: 11 a.m- midnight Mon.-Thu.; 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Fri., Sat..; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sun. Second location: 4750 Hartland Pkwy. From 2011: This casual, neighborhood bar/restaurant provides a great atmosphere for sports fans, music lovers and those seeking comfort and a wide variety of cold beers.

Sidebar Grill. 147 N. Limestone. (859) 225-8883. Facebook.com/sidebar.grill. Food: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 5-10 p.m. Sat. Bar: 11 a.m.-2:30 a.m. Mon.-Sat. Cozy is the best way to describe Sidebar, which can't hold more than 40 people.


Some bars make names for themselves by stocking an amazing selection of beers, wines or bourbons. Here are some worth a visit.

The Beer Trappe. 118 Euclid Ave. (859) 309-0911. Thebeertrappe.com. Hours: 4-10 p.m. Mon., 11 a.m.-midnight Tue.-Sat., 1-10 p.m. Sun. From 2011: In an issue early this year, The Beer Enthusiast's Draft: Life on Tap magazine named Lexington's craft-beer mecca one of the 100 best beer bars.

Bluegrass Tavern. 115 Cheapside. (859) 389-6664. Hours: 5 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Mon.-Sat. From 2011: Modeled after an old-fashioned saloon, this deep, narrow joint tries hard to be Kentucky's best bourbon bar.

The Chase Tap Room. 135 N. Broadway. (859) 309-9300. Facebook.com/chase.taproom. Hours: 2:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. daily. From 2011: If your downtown bar binge begs for a brew, duck into the chummy Chase. Sure, they can mix you a drink, but the real draws are the 22 beers in the on-tap rotation.

Country Boy Brewing. Click here.

DeSha's and The Horse and Barrel. 101 N. Broadway. (859) 259-3771. Deshas.com. Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun.-Thu.; 11 a.m.-midnight Fri., Sat. (If there's a crowd, Horse and Barrel stays open later.) From 2011: Sitting in an 1870 building at the prime corner of Main Street and North Broadway, deSha's has long been a cozy spot to experience an antique vibe, English fare and Southern hospitality. The same goes for its sister bar next door, The Horse and Barrel, which Whisky Magazine named one of the best bourbon bars in the world in 2008.

Dudley's on Short. Click here.

Henry Clay's Public House. Click here.

Jonathan at Gratz Park. Click here.

Lexington Beer Works. Click here.

Lynagh's Irish Pub. 384 Woodland Ave. (859) 255-1292. Lynaghsirishpub.com. Hours: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Mon.-Sat., noon-2 a.m. Sun. From 2011: With 24 beers on tap and 85 overall, Lynagh's has something for every palate.

Marikka's Bier Stube. 411 Southland Dr. (859) 275-1925. Marikkas.com. Food: 5-9:30 p.m. Mon.-Thu.; 5-10:30 p.m. Fri, Sat. Bar: 5 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Mon.-Sat. From 2011: It might bill itself as a German restaurant and bar, but Marikka's is more a bar of the world, not just Deutschland. After all, it boasts 972 available beers that cross the continents.

Portofino. Click here.

The Pub. 3750 Mall Rd., in The Plaza at Fayette Mall. (859) 971-2748. Experiencethepub.com/lexington. Hours: 11 a.m.-midnight Mon-Thu.; 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Fri, Sat.; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sun. From 2011: The drinking sets the real standard for the self-proclaimed traditional English drinking establishment.

West Sixth Brewing Co. Click here.

Wines on Vine. Click here.


Lexington loves the University of Kentucky Wildcats. Here are a few places, all of which serve food, where you're guaranteed to find a game, or games, on the TVs and some fellow sports fans to talk stats with.

Buffalo Wild Wings. 3094 Old Todds Rd. (859) 263-9464. Buffalowildwings.com. Hours: 11 a.m.-1 a.m. daily. Another location: 1080 S. Broadway, Suite 104. From 2010: If you want good food and a family-friendly atmosphere with your ball game, this sports-bar chain is the place for you. Children are welcome.

Campus Pub. Click here.

Drake's. 3347 Tates Creek Rd. (859) 335-6500. Drakeslansdowne.com. Hours: 11:15 a.m.-1 a.m. Mon.-Thu.; 11:15 a.m.-2:30 a.m. Fri., Sat.; 11:15 a.m.-11:15 p.m. Sun. From 2011: If Malone's is the upscale steakhouse, Drake's is its loud, laid-back cousin. Its ample TVs make it a favorite spot to take in the game, but conversation can be challenging when the music is on full blast.

Pazzo's. 385 S. Limestone. (859) 255-5125. Pazzospizzapub.com. Kitchen hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Wed., 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Thu.-Sat., noon-10 p.m. Sun. From 2011: With its diverse beer list and laid-back atmosphere, Pazzo's is a staple for the campus crowd or families wanting a good slice of pizza.

Village Host Pizza and Grill. Click here.

Winchell's Restaurant & Bar. 348 Southland Dr. (859) 278-9424. Winchellsrestaurant.com. Hours: 8 a.m.-1 a.m. Mon.-Sat.; 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Sun. From 2011: This Southland neighborhood hangout is Wildcat fan central, with happy hour during all televised UK sporting events.


Lexington's gay bars, all of which are straight-friendly, have a long history. But there are only a few left. Here are some worth looking into.

The Bar Complex. 224 E. Main St. (859) 255-1551. Thebarcomplex.com. Hours: 4 p.m.-midnight Sun.-Wed., 4 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Thu.-Sat. From 2011: "The Bar," a Lexington institution with roots dating back decades, opens onto Main Street, but if you come in the catacombslike back entrance, it feels as if you're entering some secret members-only club.

Crossings. 117 N. Limestone. (859) 233-7266. Crossingslexington.com. Hours: 4 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Sun.-Thu., 4 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Fri.-Sat. From 2010: It retains its dark aesthetic, but you're just as likely to see leather-bar types as you are college guys, professionals and a handful of straight people. The drinks are strong, a pool table is a big draw, and in summer, the sidewalk and patio are hopping.

Pulse. Click here.

Soundbar. 208 S. Limestone. (859) 523-6338. Soundbarlex.com. Hours: 4:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. daily. From 2011: After work, the sounds in the Limestone bar are muted, but come nightfall, especially on weekends, the dance floor, the lounge upstairs and the patio out back can be packed. Cocktails are the specialty here.


Some bars serve arresting views with their beverages. Here are a few that offer prettiness with their potent potables.

Jean Farris Winery and Bistro. 6825 Old Richmond Rd. (859) 263-9463. Jeanfarris.com. Wine bar hours: noon-close Tue.-Sun. Restaurant hours: 5:30-9 p.m. Tue.-Sat. noon-7 p.m. Sun. From 2011: Leave behind the urban/suburban rut to watch the sun set over the vines and enjoy the wine at Jean Farris.

Riptide Restaurant, Bar and Marina. 9079 Old Richmond Rd. (859) 263-3286. Riptideontheriver.net. Hours: 4-10 p.m. Thu.; 4 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Fri., noon-2:30 a.m. Sat., noon-midnight Sun. From 2011: Who knew that Interstate 75 could be a pleasant piece of scenery?

Skybar. Penthouse floor at 269 W. Main St. (859) 368-7900. Skybarlex.com. Hours: 11 a.m-2 p.m. and 4 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Tue.-Fri., 4 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Sat. From 2011: Skybar is one of the few places downtown to sit high above the city and have a drink (or a meal).

Vue. Click here.


Lexington is many things, but one of its most prominent faces is that of college town. Here are bars that students flock to when school is in session.

Charlie Brown's Restaurant and Lounge. 816 Euclid Ave. (859) 269-5701. Charliebrownslex.com. Hours: 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Mon.-Thu.; 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Fri., Sat.; noon-midnight Sun. From 2011: The place is a restaurant and bar, but it could easily be mistaken for an abandoned library.

Harvey's and Hugo's. 200 W. Main St. (859) 226-9333. Facebook.com/harveys.hugos. Hours: Harvey's, 3 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Mon.-Sat.; Hugo's, 10 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Fri., Sat. From 2011: The laid-back upscale contemporary-yet-casual cocktail lounge with jukebox at Harvey's segues to the weekend-only DJ-spinning dance club Hugo's next door.

Hugh Jass Burgers. S. Limestone and Euclid Ave. (859) 357-8934. Hughjassburgers.com. Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thu.; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri., Sat.; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sun. From 2011: This bar and grill at a prime spot next to the University of Kentucky campus is clean, light, airy and sports-centric.

The Penguin Dueling Piano Bar. 517 Main St., in The 500s. (859) 327-3333. Penguinpianobar.com. Summer hours: 8 p.m.-close Fri.-Sat. (shows begin at 9 p.m.). From 2011: Pianists are flown in from all over the country to perform each weekend at this local edition of the regional piano-bar chain, so the show's always different.

Redmon's Fine Music and Spirits. 269 W. Main St. (859) 252-5802. Hours: 9 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Thu.-Sat. From 2011: A basement bar along Main Street, Redmon's might best be described as an upscale live country music venue.

Saddle Ridge. 1030 S. Broadway. (859) 254-0391. Myspace.com/ saddleridgelexington. Hours: 9 p.m.-3 a.m. Thu.-Sat. From 2010: With a dance floor, arcade games, a pool table and an outside patio with a stage for live bands, the only thing Saddle Ridge is missing is a place to talk to someone at a reasonable volume.

T Bar. Click here.

Two Keys Tavern. 333 S. Limestone. (859) 254-5000. Twokeystavern.com. Hours: 11 a.m.-2:30 a.m. daily. From 2011: Two Keys, directly across from UK's North campus, doesn't have much to offer in ambience, or even bar service for that matter, but its patrons don't ask for much.

Wildcat Saloon. 123 Cheapside. (859) 309-1297. Hours: 5 p.m.-3 a.m. Thu.-Sat. From 2011: Even though it bills itself as a college bar, you'll find less of a college motif and more of a Western theme; it features nice woodwork reminiscent of a Colorado bar.


These places offer some music, a movie or even a poetry reading with your beverage.

Al's Bar. 601 N. Limestone. (859) 309-2901. Alsbarlexington.com. Hours: 4:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m. daily. From 2011: Since a 2007 transformation, this dive has become a hangout for the young, artsy people who are turning old northside Lexington into a cool place.

Atomic Café. 265 N. Limestone. (859) 254-1969. Atomiccafeky.com. Hours: 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Tue.-Thu.; 4 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Fri., Sat. From 2011: The brick-paved patio with an outdoor bar is the perfect summer destination, tucked behind the restaurant and dotted with live plants with plenty of tables for dining

Austin City Saloon. 2350 Woodhill Dr. (859) 266-6891. Austincitysaloon.com. Hours: 7 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Wed.-Sat. From 2011: One of the best country bars in town, casual Austin City Saloon, aka "The City," is centered on live music.

Buster's Billiards & Backroom. 899 Manchester St., (859) 368-8871, Bustersbb.com, 7 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Fri.-Sat. unless concerts scheduled. From 2011: Buster's is widely regarded as Lexington's best concert destination.

Comedy Off Broadway. 161 Lexington Green Cir., on the lower level of The Mall at Lexington Green. (859) 271-5653. Comedyoffbroadway.com. Hours: Standard show times are 7:15 p.m. Wed.-Thu., 7:15 and 9:45 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; check Web site for special events. From 2010: OK, nobody hangs out at a comedy club just for the drinks. But as house comic Scott Wilson likes to say, the show is funnier if you treat yourself to a sip or two.

Cosmic Charlie's. 388 Woodland Ave. (859) 309-9499. Cosmic-charlies.com. Hours: doors open at 9 p.m. daily. From 2011: Walking into Cosmic Charlie's is like walking into an eccentric spaceship. As one of the only venues in Lexington that allows an 18-and-older crowd on specific nights, Charlie's books local and national music acts for all ages

The Green Lantern Bar. 497 W. Third St. Hours: 4 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Mon.-Fri.; 5 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Sat., Sun. From 2011: The Green Lantern is the kind of place where no one's a stranger. Rub elbows with college kids, old-timers, musicians and bikers.

Jazzy G's Bar and Grill. 209 Old Georgetown St. (859) 351-4080. Hours: 4-11 p.m. Mon.-Wed., 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Thu.-Sat., 6-11 p.m. Sun. From 2010: It feels more like a family reunion than a club, and it has the cleanest bathrooms I've ever seen in a bar.

Movie Tavern. 133 N. Locust Hill Dr. (859) 266-4667. Movietavern.com. Bar open during movie-screening hours, as early as 9 a.m. daily. From 2011: The name says it all: It's a movie theater and a tavern in one, and it's the only place in town besides the Kentucky Theatre or your living room where you can knock back a cold one while catching a flick.

The Tin Roof. 303 S. Limestone. (859) 317-9111. Tinroofbars.com. Hours: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Mon.-Sat. From 2011: The Tin Roof, which bills itself as a "live music joint" and features performances every night, is the quintessential UK fan hangout on campus, introducing drinks named after former Wildcat stars John Wall and Demarcus Cousins.


Some places are so stylish that you might feel as if you've left our laid-back town for a sophisticated big city. Here are bars that get extra points for style.

A la Lucie. 159 N Limestone. (859) 252-5277. Alalucie.com. Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri., 5-11 p.m. Sat. From 2010: Leopard-print décor, funky table lamps and eclectic art fill this cozy and fun restaurant, which at three seats has what is perhaps the city's most intimate bar.

Azur Restaurant and Patio. 3070 Lakecrest Cir. (859) 296-1007. Azurrestaurant.com. Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 5-10:30 p.m. daily. From 2011: Azur's owners knew what they were doing when they put the word "patio" in the restaurant's name. The al fresco dining and drinking spot is right in the middle of a bustling Beaumont Centre strip mall, but despite that, it's quite lovely.

Bellini's. 115 W. Main St. (859) 388-9583. Bellinislexington.com. Hours: 5-10 p.m. Sun.-Thu., 5-11 p.m. Fri., Sat. From 2011: This sophisticated, sexy, standalone bar next to the fine-dining restaurant of the same name sits smack in the middle of Lexington's rejuvenated and happening downtown.

Bigg Blue Martini. 369 W. Vine St., in lobby of Hilton Lexington/Downtown. (859) 231-9000. Thebiggbluemartini.com. Hours: 3 p.m.-1 a.m. Sun.-Fri., 1 p.m.-1 a.m. Sat. From 2011: Sip your favorite martini in the heart of downtown, overlooking Triangle Park.

Blue Agave Cantina and Tequila Bar. 410 W. Short St. (859) 797-3112. Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; bar open later Fri., Sat. From 2011: All margaritas at Blue Agave are made from 100 percent blue agave tequila, as opposed to the "mixto" tequilas commonly found at most bars and Mexican restaurants.

Le Deauville. 199 N. Limestone. (859) 246-0999. Facebook.com/ LeDeauvilleFrenchBistro. Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 5:30-10 p.m. Mon.-Sat. From 2011: A bar and restaurant serving French fare, Le Deauville is a beautiful place to relax and people-watch with a glass of wine.

The Dish. 438 S. Ashland Ave. (859) 317-8438. Thedishlex.com. Bar hours: 4-10 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 4-11 p.m. Fri., Sat. Kitchen hours: 4-10 p.m. Mon.-Thu.; 4-10:30 p.m. Fri., Sat. From 2011: Why aren't there lines of people waiting to get into this place? Maybe because it's in a lightly trafficked section of town or maybe because it's small. From a top-notch selection of wines and specialty drinks to some of the best seasonal food in town, it's apparent that The Dish's team put great thought into its offerings.

The Julep Cup and Seahorse Lounge. 111 Woodland Ave., in The Woodlands. (859) 226-0300. Thejulepcup.com. Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Mon., 11 a.m.-"late" Tue.-Sat., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sun. From 2011: The art on the colorful walls completes a Thoroughbred theme, and the signature drink is the — what else? — mint julep.

Nick Ryan's Saloon. 157 W. Jefferson St. (859) 233-7900. Nickryans.com. Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri-Sat. From 2011: Nick Ryan's has only one problem: Sometimes it's hard to get a table to enjoy the restaurant's inventive and moderately priced menu.

Parlay Social. Click here.

Rosetta. Click here.

Rossi's. 1060 Chinoe Rd., Suite 104, in Chinoe Center. (859) 335-8788. Rossis-restaurant.com. Hours: 5-10 p.m. Sun.-Thu., 5-11 p.m. Fri., Sat.; brunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sun. From 2011: Up front is the huge zigzag-shaped bar, with its expansive selection of wines and spirits and a more modest list of beers.

Sabio. Click here.

School Restaurant. 162 Old Todds Rd., Suite 110. (859) 269-0677. Schoolrestaurantlex.com. Hours: 5:30-10 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 5:30-11 p.m. Fri., Sat. From 2011: The restaurant is known primarily for its locally unique sushi conveyor system, but it also offers a small bar area with what the employees deem "culinary cocktails."

Shakespeare and Co. Click here.

Table Three Ten. 310 W. Short St. (859) 309-3901. Table310.com. Hours: 4:30-10 p.m. Mon.-Thu.; 4:30-11 p.m. Fri., Sat.; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat., Sun. From 2011: Table Three Ten might be Lexington's hippest new watering hole, really best described as a wine bar with a wide array of delectable nibbles. Owners Andrea Sims and Krim Boughalem create a minimalist yet warm atmosphere where you can combine exquisite food and wine from around the world.

Trust Lounge. Click here.

The Village Idiot. Click here.

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