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    While growing up in a small town about an hour south of Louisville, my trips to Kentucky’s big River City were few and far apart. However, all those childhood family visits to the Louisville Zoo and elementary school field trips to the Kentucky Science Center instilled a lasting impression of exciting and beautiful Louisville in my mind.

    When I got my first car at the age of 17, my friends and I began taking our own unsupervised trips to the nearby mysterious big city to explore what else existed outside of our conservative hometown. At 17, we were perfectly thrilled with soberly catching a weekend concert at Headliners before ending our adventurous nights with a slice of greasy ricotta pizza at Spinelli’s.

    I moved to Louisville for college and I was eager to find out what else there was for my 18-year-old self to do besides spend all of my money on concert tickets and gain the infamous “Freshman 15” eating local pizza. So, between the ages of 18 and 21, I uncovered Louisville's underage scene. Let this list of things to do in Louisville when you’re under 21 be your guide:

     

    Play Dance Bar
    1101 E. Washington Street
    (502) 882-3615


    Image: Play Dance Bar

    Known among the 21+ crowd for its strong drinks and wild dance floor, Play is also known as one of the most fun experiences for those between the ages of 18 and 21. Live DJs provide poppy dance mixes for this club’s dance floor every week, while some of Louisville’s most talented drag queens - and several nationally-known touring performers - provide live entertainment in its theater, ensuring a fun time for everyone. Play’s cover rates vary depending on performers, but its typical weekend cover charge is $10 for 21+ and $15 for those 18-20. 

     

    The Bard's Town
    1801 Bardstown Road
    (502) 749-5275


    Image: The Bard's Town

    Much more than a staple Highlands restaurant, this place celebrates Shakespeare by doubling as a performance theater as well. With several minor-friendly activities like karaoke, trivia and open mic comedy happening each night of the week, making a stop at this spot should definitely be added to your underage agenda. To view its entire weekly schedule, visit The Bard's Town's website. 

     

    The Laughing Derby
    1250 Bardstown Road
    (502) 459-40204


    Image: The Laughing Derby

    Comedy is something we can all agree on, regardless of age. Luckily, you don't have to be 21 to laugh at Louisville's premier comedy club. The Laughing Derby welcomes those at least 18 years old to several of its performances by both local and nationally touring comedians. Check out the club's website to view its complete calendar of upcoming performers, or stop by at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night to check out its weekly open mic night. 

     

    Diamond Pub & Billiards
    630 Barret Avenue, (502) 690-7040
    3814 Frankfort Avenue, (502) 895-7513


    Image: Life of the Party Entertainment for Diamond Pub & Billiards

    If you want to brush up on your billiards skills before you turn 21 and catch some live music while you're at it, this is the place for you. Both locations of Diamond Pub hosts musical performances of local and national touring bands, many of which are open to minors. Underaged music lovers unite! To see its full schedule of upcoming shows, visit the pub's website. 

     

    The Old Louisville Tavern
    1532 S. 4th Street
    (502) 637-4200


    Image: Old Louisville Tavern

    Before tragically catching on fire in 2014, this Old Louisville gem was known for regularly rounding up all of its fun-loving neighbors for its weekly trivia night and karaoke. This Wednesday, May 11, the newly renovated Old Louisville Tavern is opening its doors once again with the plan to pick up its weekly trivia and karaoke nights right where they left off. We suggest you become a regular here as early as possible, whether you're 21 or not. 

     

    Cafe 360
    1582 Bardstown Road
    (502) 473-8694


    Image: Yelp

    Though its popularity has caught on among Louisvillians of all ages, hookah is undeniably a right of passage for new 18-year-olds. It was often visited by my own 18-year-old self - Cafe 360 never disappoints. Along with its large selection of hookah flavors, this place also has a menu of irresistible American classics, a variety of Middle Eastern dishes and  breakfast all day and night. Did we mention it's open 24 hours? And if you're already an 18-year-old regular at Cafe 360 but want to explore your other hookah options around Louisville, try Casablanca Hookah Lounge or Prince Hookah for an equally exciting experience. 

     

    Rye
    900 E. Market Street
    (502) 749-6200


    Image: Rye

    Though often thought of as a restaurant rather than a nightlife scene, Rye has some pretty cool events to offer its underaged patrons. Consider its upcoming Back Porch Sessions which will run once every month from May until September. These sessions, which are held right outside of Rye, will include live music from Louisville's best local musicians along with delicious food specials and some surprises. Whether you're 16 or 25, you can't go wrong with spending an evening out at Rye.  

     

    Image: osomdacapital.com

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    Carly Garcia's picture

    About Carly Garcia

    Lover of vegetarian cuisine, Stephen King, puppies, camping and wine...lots of wine.

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