This article appears in the January 2011 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe, please visit loumag.com.
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.
This unassuming little hangout on the corner of two residential Germantown streets is the latest in a line of bars dating back to the 1930s. When you walk in, it’s not hard to imagine Ghosts of Drinking Past sitting on the stools. With the exception of some new stained-glass windows and signage, the decor doesn’t appear to have changed much over the years. And that’s part of the Nachbar’s (969 Charles St.)charm.
On weekends — and, really, most weeknights — 20- and 30somethings line the bar and huddle around the small wooden tables, drinking microbrews from a thoughtfully chosen selection. On the jukebox, you can hear everything from Yo La Tengo and Beck to Miles Davis and Patsy Cline. Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf” is a perpetual favorite. Graffiti in the tiny but clean bathrooms adds artistic flair way beyond the usual “for a good time call this number” inquiries.
The Nachbar has hosted quirky events — moustache parties and spelling bees — and has live jazz every Wednesday. When it’s warm, bands set up on the deck out back. This place may have a reputation as a hipster dive, but it’s welcoming to all walks of life. That “No Smiling” sign above the refrigerator? Don’t take it seriously.
Overheard: "It's been a half-good day." – Nachbar regular
Photo: John Nation