The brick building at the corner of Speed Ave and Bardstown Rd has been many things over the years. The only one I even remember was Judge Roy Bean’s, a steakhouse of some sort. It look wholly unappetizing from the outside and we never tried it and didn’t feel sad when it left.
And then, in 2010, something new came to 1801 Bardstown Rd.
I couldn’t tell you the exact date of our first visit. We would’ve passed by it a number of times and wondered about it. It easily could have been another place we never set foot in.
I suspect the first visit happened on a night when we were walking back home from somewhere else. OK, who am I kidding? Staggering home is more accurate. However it happened, we stopped late one night, loved it, and have been going there ever since.
There is so much going on in that place, its amazing. Their own FAQ says that the owners don't sleep and I believe it.
The inside looks like it could be any other bar but they’ve taken great care with the menu. I’ve never had a bad meal there and most things are downright amazing.
The Billy’s Cheese (beer cheese with pretzel bread) is a great starter and you can’t beat Titus Nacho-nicus or Parting is Such Sweet Potato (loaded sweet potato fries) for a late-night snack.
The sandwich/burger selection is also great. My favorites are the Bison-tennial Burger (fresh KY bison!) and the My Kingdom for Some Pork sandwich. Other great entrees are the Rigate Diablo pasta and the Corn-delia.
The beer selection is serviceable but nothing too exotic. Their bartenders have you covered on the cocktail front though.. They also usually have a signature cocktail for Bardstown Rd Aglo. One year was the Cozy Rosie which is 4 Roses bourbon, sour apple pucker, a splash of soda water, cinnamon schnapps, and a garnish of Red Hot candies. We still order that one, even when its not the holidays.
My second favorite is the Fourbon Ball, a wicked concoction of 4 Roses bourbon, white chocolate liqueur and who knows what else. Whatever is in it, it tastes like love.
And, on top of all that, they do theater and music! Local directors and actors, comedy, tragedy, the theater covers the whole spectrum. Sometimes it’s stand-up, sometimes it’s improv. They once did a roast of Harry Potter. There’s usually a music act or karaoke in the small side theater while the larger productions are held upstairs.
One of my favorites is the Ten-Tucky Festival which features ten 10-minute plays shown back-to-back, all written by Kentucky playwrights.
We were there one night at 1:30am when a crowd of people dressed as pirates came pouring in and started singing chanties on the side stage.
You can see their complete calendar online but its just as much fun to show up and see whats happening.
The beauty of The Bardstown is that there’s always something exciting happening.