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    Ever since Butchertown Grocery opened, the upstairs bar has been a bit of a mystery. Dimly lit candles and red fabrics line the walls to create an aesthetic just dark enough to elicit a feeling of mischief. Are you allowed to be up here? Are the lights off for a reason? Why did you have to climb up a side staircase outside? A small performance stage sits nestled in the northwest corner of the room. Plump velvet couches, pillows and booths line the walls where a first date is likely to be found, and brought back for a second.


    Image: Avery Walts

    This room hasn’t always been the best-defined, but now it has an official moniker: Lola at Butchertown Grocery, a late night drink and food lounge. I had the pleasure of attending an intimate event yesterday before the grand opening tonight, November 23. Chef Bobby Benjamin and Beverage Director Nic Christiansen served up a few samples from the new food and drink menus, which will be served exclusively Thursday through Saturday from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Wednesday and Sunday from 6 p.m. to midnight The space will continue to serve as a live music venue and private event area upon reservation.

    With a focus on “food we crave while drinking,” the menu features spinach artichoke dip ($10), portobello mushroom fries ($11) and a cuban sandwich ($16), among other drunken delicacies – all made with all-natural ingredients. Sample after sample was presented, each with an emphasis on quality ingredients and appropriate portion size, something Chef Bobby Benjamin says was an important factor in creating a new menu.


    Image: Lola Negroni, Avery Walts

    Christiansen has created a cocktail menu fit for the daring. The mezcal-based Long Dark Blues ($13) cocktail contains egg white and green chartreuse – which turns out is the perfect ingredient for highlighting flavors without overwhelming the drink. On the opposite spectrum is Lola’s Negroni ($10). This gin-based cocktail is barrel aged in-house packing a powerful punch with a fiery yet innocent rouge hue vermouth. To round out the menu, Christiansen and Benjamin have added unusual $5 shots that bartenders enjoy serving, including a bone marrow luge shot. Yes, you read that right. “The idea was for people to have fun without having to spend a lot of money,” Christiansen said.

    Butchertown Grocery partner Patrick Hallahan said the process of opening Lola has been an observation study. “We paid attention to what people want,” he said. “We didn’t want to open anything until it was all fine-tuned.” In fact, Butchertown Grocery opened exactly a year ago, while Lola is just now officially opening upstairs as a separate entity. If the speakeasy-style bar seemed exclusive before, Benjamin made clear it’s open for anyone and everyone. “Lola is everybody,” he said. “She doesn’t have a side of politics. Come as you are.”


    Image: Lola

    When you go to Lola, you don’t have to make sacrifices. You can have great cocktails, delicious food and a wonderful night. Hallahan said it best - this room is happy when people are in it. Lola is one charismatic lady, and Louisville is ready for her.

     

    Lola | gotolola.com
    Wednesday: 6 p.m.-midnight
    Thursday-Saturday: 6 p.m.-2 a.m.
    Sunday: 6 p.m.-midnight
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    Cover Image: Lola

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