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In Louisville for the Kentucky Derby? Here's where to eat and drink in the city

Friday, 6 May 2016

Think that the Kentucky Derby equals elegant headpieces and sips of champagne? Well, you're only a tiny bit right. While a select few take to the VIP stands in the Churchill Downs, the rest gather together on the field for what sounds like a pretty raucous session.

As it's technically against the rules to bring in your own alcohol, booze is smuggled in using ingenious methods. One man smuggled a bottle of bourbon into a giant baguette. Another managed to sneak in and bury his stash in the field, ready to dig it up on the big day. And plenty of women arrive with rather large bosoms and leave looking rather depleted. (PS - did you know a wine bra is an actual thing?)

But while the party spirit is most definitely in the air on derby weekend, there are plenty of other reasons to head to Louisville. Whether you're heading there this Saturday or not, here are some great spots to check out in the city.

Down One
This bourbon bar is right in the middle of downtown, with a little bit of a speakeasy feel (head through the door of the phone booth and you'll find yourself in a 'secret' room). They make a great Old Fashioned, but be sure to order the Rosemary’s Baby Julep if you spot it on the menu - it's a gorgeous blend of rosemary, bitters and bourbon.

There's a burgeoning farm to fork movement in Kentucky, and one restaurant that sticks to this philosophy is Harvest, in the NuLu district. All the ingredients come from within a 100 mile radius, and when a dish is gone, it's gone. There have been near riots from people looking for a taste of their top notch fried chicken.

Muhammad Ali Center

Believe it or not, there are some people who don't know too much about Louisville's own Muhammad Ali. There are even some people who start walking through the museum dedicated to the man, confused as to who Cassius Clay is. Ahem. But those people do figure it all out - and if you're a fan, you'll love this insightful experience.

Evan Williams Experience
Trust me when I say that Kentucky is all about bourbon. I was there for a week and, at the end of my trip, could have opened my own distillery. There are plenty of distilleries you can tour, but the Evan Williams one is right in the middle of the city, and takes you through the story of the bourbon with an interactive tour and tasting. Added bonus: the guy who plays Evan Williams (on screen and as a hologram) is so handsome that he'll haunt your dreams. Trust me.


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