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This article appears in the January 2011 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe, please visit

Don’t know about you, but we could really use a drink right about now. So we’ve scoured the city to find our 21 favorite bars — from upscale jazz joints to dives where your beer bottle sticks to the table. We’ve also tossed in some personalities familiar with local nightlife and quotes we overheard while out on the town.

Joe’s Palm Room (1821 W. Jefferson St.) is an anachronism, a throwback to an era when, before heading out for the evening, men buttoned up a two- or three-piece suit and women pulled out their finest jewelry. Sure, some of Joe’s Palm Room’s younger fans — whose parents came here decades ago — are in baggy jeans and oversized sweatshirts. But the men with graying hair beneath their top hats, well, they look downright debonair. They’ve come to listen to live R&B or jazz, and a machine near the band twirls colorful lights onto the wooden walls. Your mind plays a trick on you when you walk in, and you can see the cigarette smoke that once hung in the air and probably still hasn’t settled. Talk to the regulars and they’ll tell you about how there’s nowhere else they like to hang out, at least not in this part of town.

Photo: John Nation

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Didn't I tell you? I run this place! Not much goes on here without me knowing...I'm always watching.

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