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.
No light fixtures. Anywhere. Instead, neon beer signs that cast an electric glow from the windows supply the only light inside the Magnolia Bar and Grill, simply known as the Mag Bar to regulars, who chase shots of bourbon with bottles of Miller High Life. And they pay in cash because credit cards are no good here. (The “and Grill” is a misnomer, by the way, because the nourishment from the Mag Bar, besides alcohol, comes in the form of a cigarette machine up front.) Skulls cluttered atop the shelves behind the bar could very well be the remains of those who died on their favorite uncomfortable bar stool.
During the late afternoon, the Mag Bar goes quiet every now and then. That’s when somebody heads to the jukebox and plays “Psycho Killer” by the Talking Heads. Great jukebox, you think. Iggy Pop and the Smiths and the Misfits. Play the Clash’s London Calling from start to finish and the other patrons will nod in silent approval. Sometimes, a DJ’s tunes turn the crowd into a sweaty horde, grinding into the early-morning hours. During one of those parties, you glance up and wonder if that’s a tattooed and shirtless dude dancing on the bar. Indeed it is.
Overheard: "Once she wants me, I'll be living the good life." – Mag Bar customer
Photo: Courtesy Magnolia Bar and Gril