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.
If you’ve been to Cumberland Brews  (1576 Bardstown Road) enough times, then you have heard somebody ask for a Bud Light. “Don’t carry it,” the waitress always replies. What Cumberland does have, however, is beer that the brewery makes itself, such as red, pale and cream ales. Depending on the season, the beer selection may also include, say, a porter made with fresh cherries.
In addition to some of the best bar food in town (daily quesadilla specials, written in colorful chalk on a wall-mounted board, are always tasty), the menu also includes short bios about the waitresses, who wear T-shirts that have a whale on the front and say “Save the Ales” on the back. Jennifer “loves naps.” Casey, meanwhile, “believes gardening is the slowest of the performing arts,” and Crystal is “waiting to be reincarnated any day now.” Mandy and her twin brother were born on Valentine’s Day. It’s a friendly crew that’s happy to talk about the glass beer taps, made by the Natural Mystic store across the street.
Old concert posters for Widespread Panic and the Grateful Dead, who had a song named “Cumberland Blues,” help establish a relaxed vibe. And whether you’re upstairs near the fireplace or downstairs where steps of the beer-making process are sketched on the wall opposite the bar, all ages are welcome. On a recent Saturday afternoon, for example, a man sat with his son and grandson, who was in a high chair.
Overheard: "God, I love a good IPA." – Cumberland Brews bartender
Photo: Courtesy Cumberland Brews