Shotgun homes, dive bars & German heritage
Germantown was named after the influx of German immigrants who first settled into the neighborhood in the mid-1800s. The area is dotted by one of the largest collections of shotgun houses in the country. A popular local saying is that there’s a dive bar on every corner. Recently, the neighborhood has become a mix of the old and new, maintaining its rich history while welcoming hip eateries and bars.
EAT & DRINK
Kick off your morning at Bean, where you can watch them roast your coffee beans before exploring the neighborhood or grab a bite at Breakfast AF. Hammerheads’ selection of house-smoked meats and duck-fat fries have attracted a huge following to this tiny restaurant. Look for the stuffed hammerhead shark just above the entrance and you’ll know you’re in the right spot.
Four Pegs Smokehouse & Bar is a welcoming gastropub that serves smoked foods and inventive dishes for carnivores and vegetarians alike and is located in a historic building that’s been a landmark in Germantown for 150 years. Local favorite Check’s Café has been a Germantown neighborhood tradition for more than 60 years. It’s the kind of place where cold beer and inexpensive, tasty food (German and American dishes) go hand in hand. Rolled oysters or fried bologna, anyone?
Hauck’s Corner is one of the newest additions to the culinary scene in Schnitzelburg (Germantown’s sister neighborhood), but it is also one of the most historic sites in the area. Opened as Hauck’s Handy Store in 1912, this is where the World Championship Dainty Contest got its start (keep reading). Now reopened as a bar and restaurant, its menu includes classics like the bologna sandwiches and beer that made the original Hauck’s a local favorite.
Nearby, Six Forks Burger Co. is great spot to grab a quick, gourmet burger or hot dog. If you have a taste for Italian, there’s Sarino. Or, order up a slice of New York-style pizza at The Post. Dine while seated in an oversized Bourbon barrel at North of Bourbon, which celebrates the connection between New Orleans and Louisville was forged by the exporting of Bourbon downriver. You’ll find gumbo and crawfish on the menu, and the expansive Bourbon offerings spill over five pages.
Dairy Kastle has been a Louisville summer tradition for more than 40 years. If you’re here during the warm weather months, pop by the walk-up counter for a soft-serve ice cream and a chili dog.
Looking for something out of the ordinary that tastes extraordinary? Stop by Nord’s Bakery for one of their legendary maple bacon doughnuts. Sis Got Tea is Louisville’s Black-, queer, woman-owned tea shop and cafe, a welcoming sober space where you can relax and enjoy a hot cup of tea.
For craft beer enthusiasts, Awry Brewing offers a full array of brews from ales to kombucha, a pub grub menu, and a rooftop patio, providing a perfect vantage point for soaking in the Germantown neighborhood. Monnik Beer Co. is a Schnitzelburg gathering place with twenty taps, pouring a diverse selection from bitters to Barleywine to pair with their full menu, featuring snack, mids and dinner mains, including vegetarian and vegan options.
For nightlife, Zanzabar has established a reputation among locals for being a go-to live music venue featuring both local and national acts. It’s also home to a vintage arcade. The Merryweather hosts a rotation of unique pop-up food vendors, from Lou Oyster Cult to Huddy Dawgs, and has full-service bar that’s open late. Karaoke enthusiasts will appreciate 21st in Germantown, where you can sing seven nights a week. Spin the drinks wheel at The Pearl of Germantown if you’re feeling indecisive, and enjoy tunes on the jukebox or live DJs on the weekend at this buzzing neighborhood hangout. Relax on the roomy patio at Nachbar, a laid-back dive bar.
Schnitzelburg is home to the annual World Championship Dainty Contest in July. Since 1971, this imported German game has drawn people to Goss Avenue. The game calls for a broomstick handle, the wood dainty (similar in size to sidewalk chalk, sharpened to a point at both ends) and an open street. Players (who must be 45 or older) hit the dainty like a baseball—the person who hits their stick the farthest wins.
There is a trove of vintage and vinyl treasures to be found in this area. The Nitty Gritty is a classic vintage and costume shop that has been outfitting locals for decades. It anchors a row of brightly painted shops along Barret Avenue where you’ll find Fat Rabbit Thrift & Vintage, Barret Babes, Ultra-Pop, Butcher Cabin Books, which specializes in horror, Goldheart: Stones and Such, Derby City Market and ShopBar, a curated boutique and full bar housed in a 100-year-old garage with a patio. Around the corner, find Artist & Craftsman Supply. Over on Goss Avenue, What the Lou gives ‘80s MTV vibes with its records, rock tees and sports jerseys.
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