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    Eat & Swig

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    It’s 7 p.m. on June 6, and everything is going how Joe Heron wants. The soft opening of his new bar ALEX&NDER is an hour underway, and the minimalist space is packed with couples in booths, patrons at the bar taking selfies and spilling onto the patio overlooking downtown Louisville.

    The wall of brandy behind the bar.

    Heron, a co-founder of the Copper & Kings Distillery, fields guests dressed in cocktail dresses and others in jeans. He is at ease except for the excitement with which he greets them.

    The bar welcomes a younger crowd, and the bartenders are masters of multitasking, shaking tumblers with one hand and stirring drinks with the other, a wall of brandy bottles behind them.

    ALEX&NDER is a chameleon in that there are three different areas to enjoy a small plate of food or a drink. The main bar area has more of a traditional feel, and the patio is more relaxed for outdoor-lovers. The back lounge has comfy chairs and couches, offering a quieter atmosphere for those who perhaps don’t frequent the bar scene. All of it is tied together with a signature black and orange color palette.

    And though ALEX&NDER is sophisticated, it’s not exclusive. The distillery door reads, “All cultures, races, genders, religions, people welcome,” in large orange letters. Heron, who was born in South Africa, grew up during apartheid. “No discrimination is getting in here,” he says.

    ALEX&NDER is Louisville’s first brandy bar. The Copper and Kings team hopes to elevate and focus the experience of serving and drinking American Brandy. Heron believes ALEX&NDER could be successful in Hong Kong, London or New York. But what will make the bar successful, he thinks, is its American hospitality.


    The patio at ALEX&NDER.

    “Copper & Kings is young and modern. It’s highly designed. It’s quite different to a traditional perspective of brown spirits. We’re not traditional,” he says.

    ALEX&NDER’s creativity is evident when Heron helps me order a drink at the soft opening. When I ask him what he would suggest, he laughs.

    “Do you like the Beatles or the Stones? That’s an impossible question!”


    The Brandy Alexander.
     

    Finally, Heron says his favorite drink is the Butchertown Old Fashioned, which he calls “beautiful.” Instead I try the signature cocktail, the Brandy Alexander. The soft opening drink menu features clever concoctions like Guns & Rosé — immature brandy, Meiomi rosé, lemon and raspberry syrup, priced at $12 — and To Kill a Mocktail — Raspberry lemon shrub and ginger beer for $5.

    ALEX&NDER’s wine and brandy cocktails, local beer selection and sangria are a hit with the crowd tonight.

    Haley Amoss thinks she’s found her future wedding reception spot.

    “This space is so cool. It’s in an up-and-coming neighborhood, it’s close to work,” she says. “It’s a great spot for friends and to bring clients.”

    Photos by Shelby Brown

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