“18 Best Food Neighborhoods in America" - Thrillist
The East Market District of downtown, also referred to as NuLu (standing for New Louisville), has become known for its unique art galleries, specialty stores, antique shops and award-winning culinary scene. In fact, it has been named one of the “Best Neighborhoods in America” by Thrillist.
EAT & DRINK
Kick-start your day at Quill’s Coffee located in a 19th-century firehouse or at Please & Thank You, a café and record shop that sells coffee, sweets, sandwiches and is lauded for its chocolate chip cookies. Or, have a hearty biscuit sandwich at Biscuit Belly, where they whip up classic southern dishes with a twist (try the chocolate gravy or coffee-braised brisket).
You can sip on superfood smoothies at Lueberry Acai or Cherry Pickin’ or indulge in Bourbon slushies at both Feast BBQ and Royals Hot Chicken. Dive into Cajun and Creole goodness at the Seafood Lady. Locals rave about the wok-seared lima beans from Mayan Café and the chocolate “cigar” at La Bodeguita de Mima Cuban Restaurant & Rum Bar is a showstopper. Satisfy your appetite and your Instagram feed at Guacamole Modern Mexican, where the vibrant, whimsical decor and a rooftop bar will rival the food for your attention.
NuLu is also home to MeeshMeesh Mediterranean, a Levantine-focused restaurant with dishes designed to be shared. Try Bar Vetti for housemade pasta, brick oven pizza and seasonal shared plates. Houseground and grass-fed burgers are served alongside 75+ Bourbons at Grind Burger Kitchen. Trust us on the Brussels sprouts! Grab a margarita at Galaxie, a light-filled watering hole and late-night dance spot. Taj Louisville, located in a storied space that dates back to the 1770s, has signature drinks and a BYOF (bring your own food) policy. For a New Orleans experience, Lou Lou on Market has weekly live jazz. You can order a Voodoo Punch with bayou-inspired dishes or duck downstairs into The Stave for a Bourbon. Rosettes, located in Hotel Genevieve, has a menu inspired by al fresco Parisian cafes. Look behind the yellow door in the hotel’s Mini Marché for a speakeasy called Lucky Penny or head to the sixth floor for roof-top views and cocktails at Bar Genevieve. For dessert, there’s Louisville Cream, home to a rotating menu of premium small-batch ice cream in creative flavors like Bourbon Smoked Pecan and Peanut Butter Feelings.
Unwind at Garage Bar (housed in a former auto service garage) with beer, Bourbon, a seasonal cocktail or wine. The casual neighborhood spot also serves up pizzas from a wood-fired brick oven and a selection of premium country hams. During warmer weather, ping pong matches are in full swing outside on the patio.
Nouvelle Bar & Bottle is a stylish wine bar serving more than 40 varieties by the glass. You can also purchase a bottle to take home with you. NuLu Marketplace offers many options, including The Local Seltzery, Gertie’s Whiskey Bar and Gertie’s Sports Bar, where you’ll find a Fireball machine and tequila snow cones.
For craft brew devotees, Akasha Brewing Co., Goodwood Brewing Co. and West Sixth Brewing are part of Louisville’s growing beer scene and are all within walking distance of each other.
For a heart-thumping adventure, try indoor rock climbing at Climb NuLu or throw some axes and enjoy a cold brew, all at the same time, at Flying Axes. Enjoy an authentic Bourbon experience at Angel’s Envy or Rabbit Hole Distillery, where you can take intimate tours and get an up-close look at the entire operation capped off with guided tastings. At Taste Fine Wines & Bourbons, you can sample before you buy at the tasting bar. From tasting notes to music notes, NoraeBar is a Korean-inspired karaoke bar offering a main stage and private karaoke rooms. Visit The Craftery for DIY crafting and drinks.
During the warmer months, catch a minor league Louisville Bats baseball game at nearby Louisville Slugger Field.
East Market Street is peppered with local shops, including Peace of the Earth (locally-made bath products), Muth’s Candies (home of the famous Modjeska – a caramel-covered marshmallow confection), Red Tree (home furnishings), Mahonia (floral and plant boutique), Revelry (jewelry, art, apparel and more by local artists), Six Sisters Boutique (women’s clothing and accessories), Woman-Owned Wallet (feminist gift shop), Sugar Town Vintage (known for their renowned Mystery Outfit Bags), Jones & Daughters (clothing, home goods and gifts), Clayton & Crume (high-end leather goods), Evergreen Liquors (full-service liquor shop), and Pappy & Company (fine Bourbon-inspired products). The NuLu Marketplace offers many options for grabbing a drink or a bite to eat and for shopping. The innovative mixed-use development is home to clothing boutiques like Mamili and Hazel + Hunt.
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