Whether it's overlooking our fair city or our even fairer landscape, some bars offer a view that's just as good as the cocktails they serve.
201 E. Main St., on the 15th floor of Chase Bank Building. (859) 523-7797. Bakers360.us. Bar hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 11 a.m.-2:30 a.m. Fri.-Sat.
Occupying the entire top floor of one of the tallest buildings downtown, Baker's offers a contemporary interior with a 360-degree view of Lexington. Baker's bar/nightclub, which overlooks the south side of the city, is a destination for serious drinking. Choose from more than 41 bourbons and whiskeys and more than 200 wines, plus a few "nicer" ones that aren't listed but are tucked away in a back room collecting dust for the connoisseur. Grab a seat at the bar, order sushi made before your eyes and get an education in rum, Scotch, vodka and tequila. Saturdays are the busy nights in the club; music starts at 10 p.m., but things don't heat up until about 11:30.
Taste: The bottle of 1969 Chateau Lafite Rothschild. It's $850, so best not to put it on your company credit card.
Jean Farris Winery and Bistro
6823 Old Richmond Rd. (859) 263-9463. Jeanfarris.com. Wine bar hours: noon-9 p.m. Tue.-Sun.; dinner served 5:30-9 p.m. Tue.-Sun., and weekend brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat.-Sun.
From a high seat at Jean Farris' copper-topped wine bar, where you're sampling a flight of classic reds, you look out at rolling vineyards, tobacco fields and a black barn. You sip wine. You nibble cheese or a Kentucky prosciutto. You watch an employee bring heirloom tomatoes and zucchini from the garden to the kitchen. You choose your favorite wine and take a bottle home. It's quintessential Kentucky at the vineyard, which offers a fine dinner menu in addition to the wine tastings.
Taste: The "Truffle Tremor," in which the "classic flavor of truffle meets the velvety perfection of ripened goat's milk cheese."
Riptide Restaurant, Bar and Marina
9079 Old Richmond Rd. (859) 263-3286. Hours: 4-11 p.m. Mon.-Thu., noon-2:30 a.m. Fri.-Sun.
Riptide has views of something other than a parking lot, a rarity in Lexington. From the top deck, you can see the Kentucky River, the bridge over the river on Interstate 75 north of Richmond, the volleyball court, the cornhole area and the band stage. From the lower deck, you can see it all a lot closer. Happy hour is 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays; drinks are $1 off domestic and $1 off well brands.
Hear: There's a band Thursday through Saturday nights. And "unofficially," it's biker night on Thursdays and Sundays.
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.
One elevator ride transports you from Main Street Lexington to a chic, cosmopolitan bar in any major city. With dark woods, perfectly coiffed waitresses in stiletto heels and a jovial piano man, Skybar-Lexington is brilliant. Separate party rooms overlooking the city make it the perfect place for a gathering, and there are nearly as many wines and premium spirits on the menu as there are faux sparkling stars in the ceiling of the bar.
See: Lexington in a whole new way: from the sky.