NCAA Visitors Guide: Food and drink guide

March 21, 2013 

Patrons gathered at Table Three Ten, in a former law office on West Short Street. It won an adaptive re-use award from the Blue Grass Trust.



    Most of the venues listed here serve food, but when looking for places to eat, your best bet is just to walk around downtown. The Limestone and West Short Street corridors are particularly ripe with restaurants. For our reviews of local restaurants, visit

Here are bars — and restaurants with a significant bar scene — within about a half-mile of Rupp Arena. Text is from the 2010-12 editions of our annual Lexington Bar Guide (online at

Bellini's. 115 W. Main St. (859) 388-9583. From 2011: This sophisticated, sexy restaurant is in the middle of downtown.

Bigg Blue Martini. 369 W. Vine St., in Hilton Lexington/Downtown. (859) 231-9000. From 2011: Sip your favorite martini in the heart of downtown, overlooking Triangle Park.

Bluegrass Tavern. 115 Cheapside. (859) 389-6664. From 2011: This deep, narrow saloon tries hard to be Kentucky's best bourbon bar.

Buster's Billiards & Backroom. 899 Manchester St., (859) 368-8871, From 2011: Widely regarded as the city's best concert venue.

The Chase Tap Room. 135 N. Broadway. (859) 309-9300. From 2011: The draws are the 22 beers in the on-tap rotation.

Cheapside Bar and Grill. 131 Cheapside. (859) 254-0046. From 2011: You can't beat the view from the patio's upper deck.

Crossings. 117 N. Limestone. (859) 233-7266. From 2010: At this gay bar, the drinks are strong and a pool table is a big draw.

DeSha's and The Horse and Barrel. 101 N. Broadway. (859) 259-3771. From 2011: DeSha's is cozy, and The Horse and Barrel was named one of the world's best bourbon bars.

Dudley's on Short. 259 W. Short St., Suite 125. (859) 252-1010. This beautiful place can be crowded, but the selection of food and drink makes the coziness worth it.

The Green Lantern Bar. 497 W. Third St. From 2011: Rub elbows with college kids, old-timers, musicians and bikers.

The Grey Goose Bar and Restaurant. 170 Jefferson St. (859) 233-1500. From 2011: The extensive outdoor patio is a popular watering spot. Check out its sister bar, The Blue Heron, at 185 Jefferson Street.

Harvey's and Hugo's. 200 W. Main St. (859) 226-9333. From 2011: The laid-back cocktail lounge Harvey's segues to the weekend-only dance club Hugo's next door.

Henry Clay's Public House. 112 N. Upper St. (859) 368-7754. From 2012: Named for the legendary statesman, it is dedicated to "ladies and gentlemen who make drinking one of the pleasures of life, not one of its evils."

Jazzy G's Bar and Grill. 209 Old Georgetown St. (859) 351-4080. From 2010: It feels more like a family reunion than a club.

JDI Grille and Tavern. 319 Cedar St. (859) 246-0202. The gorgeous JDI, short for Jefferson Davis Inn, is a brand-new version of an old Lexington favorite.

Jonathan at Gratz Park. 120 W. Second St. (859) 252-4949. This restaurant has one of the toniest, most intimate bars in town.

Lexington Beerworks. 213 N. Limestone. (859) 359-6747. From 2012: An upscale beer bar, Beerworks has a dozen rotating taps that trend toward American breweries.

McCarthy's Irish Bar. 117 S. Upper St. (859) 258-2181. From 2011: The college crowd has become more prominent, but this remains the most authentic Irish bar in Lexington.

Molly Brooke's Irish Bar. 109 N. Limestone. (859) 420-5792. From 2012: Molly Brooke's is a favorite stop for many.

Nick Ryan's Saloon. 157 W. Jefferson St. (859) 233-7900. From 2011: Nick Ryan's has only one problem: It can be hard to get a table.

Ole Hookers Bait 'n' Tackle Bar 'n' Grill. 205 S. Limestone. (859) 552-6427. From 2012: Folks here are like the bar: friendly, laid-back and lots of fun.

Parlay Social Club. 257 W. Short St. (859) 244-1932. From 2012: The savvy sangria is refreshingly fruity.

Paulie's Toasted Barrel. 517 W. Main St. (859) 327-3333. Next to Lexington Center, this new bar has pool tables, live music, sports on giant TVs and a bourbon bar.

Redmon's Fine Music and Spirits. 269 W. Main St. (859) 252-5802. From 2011: Redmon's can be described as an upscale live country music venue.

Rosebud. 121 N. Mill St. (859) 254-1907. From 2011: Rosebud is a fun, homey, unpretentious kind of joint.

Sabio. 380 S. Mill St. (859) 368-9901. From 2012: The "detention bar" boasts an eclectic, well-defined drink menu.

Shakespeare and Co. 367 W. Short St. (859) 367-0413. From 2012: The atmosphere of this Dubai-based chain's first outpost in the States lends itself to wine or beer.

Sidebar Grill. 147 N. Limestone. (859) 225-8883. Cozy is the best way to describe Sidebar, which holds about 40 people.

Skybar. Penthouse floor at 269 W. Main St. (859) 368-7900. From 2011: Sit high above the city and have a drink (or a meal).

Soundbar. 208 S. Limestone. (859) 523-6338. From 2011: After work, the sounds in the Limestone bar are muted, but come nightfall, especially on weekends, it can be packed.

Table Three Ten. 310 W. Short St. (859) 309-3901. From 2011: Possibly the city's hippest bar and best, most exciting restaurant.

The Tin Roof. 303 S. Limestone. (859) 317-9111. From 2011: This "live music joint" is the quintessential UK fan hangout on campus.

Trust Lounge. 123 W. Main St. (859) 317-9399. From 2012: Chic Trust has a big selection of beer, wine, bourbon and good cocktails.

Two Keys Tavern. 333 S. Limestone. (859) 254-5000. This campus mainstay is low-key, low-budget and fun.

The Village Idiot. 307 W. Short St. (859) 252-0099. From 2012: "Lexington's first gastropub" is friendly with fancy, admittedly pretentious-sounding, good food.

Wildcat Saloon. 123 Cheapside. (859) 309-1297. From 2011: It's less of a college motif and more of a Western theme, reminiscent of a Colorado bar.

Yesterdays Billiards. 410 W. Vine St., inside Lexington Center. (859) 231-8889. A laid-back atmosphere rules at this pool hall inside Lexington Center.


Most of the venues listed here serve food, but when looking for places to eat, your best bet is just to walk around downtown. The Limestone and West Short Street corridors are particularly ripe with restaurants. For our reviews of local restaurants, go to

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