Barrel House Distillery on Manchester Street has opened a bar: Elkhorn Tavern, a full cocktail bar that came to fruition after the passage of legislation in 2016 to allow distilleries to sell liquor by the drink.
The distillery is on the Pepper campus, one of the hottest entertainment districts in town, along Manchester Street.
The name comes from the Town Branch of the Elkhorn Creek, which runs along the property. Town Branch is being developed into a park and bike trail leading from downtown.
“This provides a unique opportunity to enjoy a great cocktail in the same location that the spirits are being produced, which is available in only a handful of places in the entire country,” Peter Wright, co-founder of Barrel House Distilling Co., said in a statement.
The distillery also has enlarged its production space, doubling capacity for distilling, and has updated its gift shop.
Founded in 2008, Barrel House is a craft distillery that makes Pure Blue vodka, Devil John moonshine, Devil John Dark ’Shine, Oak rum, White Oak rum, RockCastle bourbon and an as-yet unreleased rye whiskey.
Elkhorn Tavern features rustic décor with a wood-burning fireplace for chilly evenings, and garage doors and patios for warm ones. It has taps for local craft beers and a selection of wines. It opens at noon Wednesday through Sunday and will be closed Monday and Tuesday.
Co-founder Jeff Wiseman said the plan is to add small bites, such as a meat-and-cheese plate and burgoo. “We’re already doing some light stuff, like a beer cheese basket with crackers,” he said.
The bar also has live music on the weekends and a TV for watching University of Kentucky games.