There’s no shortage of things to do after dinner in Louisville, especially with the city’s famous block-long stretch called Whiskey Row and its lively theatre district. The bourbon industry pulsates at the heart of downtown with cool bars and speakeasies harking back to the Roaring Twenties.

    Hit the town and you’ll be treated to rows of striking Revivalist-style buildings and storefronts – cool scenes of which you can even enjoy with a party on a special bike. Whether it’s whiskey, craft beers, retro gaming, Broadway musicals, comedy, or simply history you’re after, here are some pointers on where to go at night in Louisville.

    1

    Louisville Palace Theatre

    A landmark in Louisville's theatre district

    • Nightlife
    • Couples
    • History
    • Photo

    Louisville Palace Theatre is a landmark in the city’s theatre district, noted both for its history and elegance. Opened in 1928, the venue was formerly known as the Loew's and United Artists State Theatre. You can’t miss the dramatic facade and the spectacular interior will further impress visitors with its Spanish baroque motif.

    As a member of the audience among the 2,800 seats, you’re surrounded by velvety drapes and gilded borders and, looking up, you’re treated to a curved and beautifully carved vaulted ceiling. Despite the classic features, modern music concerts, movie events, live shows and more bring the Palace Theatre’s stage to life. Even without a show, the theatre alone is worth a look.

    Location: 625 S 4th St, Louisville, KY 40202, USA

    Open: Hours vary by showtime

    Phone: +1 502-583-4555

    Map

    photo by frankieleon (CC BY 2.0) modified

    2

    The Mercury Ballroom

    Louisville’s cool venue for live concerts

    • Nightlife

    The Mercury Ballroom is one of Louisville’s most happening venues for live concerts and music events, housed inside the Prohibition-era Wright and Taylor Building. It’s easy to spot on 4th and Chestnut streets, thanks to its deviant late gothic revival and Tudor revival façade, which uses glazed architectural terracotta.

    Entering the venue, you’ll find a modern and funky space with one of Louisville's best sound and light systems. Besides tribute bands jamming out your favourite tunes, artists who take the stage here have included the likes of pop star Meghan Trainor and rock bands Mayday Parade and Ghost.

    Location: 611 S 4th St, Louisville, KY 40202, USA

    Open: Hours vary by showtime

    Phone: +1 502-583-4555

    Map

    photo by Lee Burchfield (CC BY 2.0) modified

    3

    Actors Theatre of Louisville

    Watch live plays in multiple theatres

    • Nightlife
    • Couples
    • History
    • Photo

    Actors Theatre of Louisville is a performing arts venue that has been presenting colourful line-ups of live plays and Broadway musicals since the 1960s. Besides top productions, the theatre also regularly rolls out community outreach offerings such as training, seminars and workshops, as well as theatre tours and exhibits with visual artworks showcased in its free galleries.

    Among the notable productions shown here are classics such as A Streetcar Named Desire and Steel Magnolias, and canon works like Dracula, A Christmas Carol and Romeo and Juliet. The plays are presented in the 3 venues within Actors Theatre of Louisville, namely the Pamela Brown Auditorium with mezzanine-level balconies available, Bingham Theatre, and Victor Jory Theatre.

    Location: 316 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202, USA

    Open: Hours vary by showtime

    Phone: +1 502-584-1205

    Map

    photo by Nicolas Henderson (CC BY 2.0) modified

    4

    Sidebar at Whiskey Row

    For bourbon, beers, and burgers

    • Food
    • Nightlife
    • History

    Head down to Sidebar at Whiskey Row for some of the best burgers in downtown Louisville, paired with your choice from their great selection of bourbon and craft beers. located on 2nd Street, it occupies the elegant Whiskey Row Lofts, which was built as the headquarters for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad company back in 1877.

    It’s a great place to come with an empty stomach for their unique, handcrafted hamburger blends from certified Angus beef, chuck, brisket, and short rib with no trimmings, added fats, fillers or binders. Then, let them educate you on America’s native spirit – skilled bartenders can whip up a historic bourbon cocktail for you to go with your fine burger stack.

    Location: 129 N 2nd St, Louisville, KY 40202, USA

    Open: Monday–Wednesday from 11 am to 10 pm, Thursday from 11 am to 11 pm, Friday from 11 am to midnight, Saturday from noon to midnight (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +1 502-384-1600

    Map
    5

    Howl at the Moon Louisville

    Have a wild night out with duelling pianos and bucket drinks

    • Nightlife

    Howl at the Moon Louisville is a great venue in the city’s Fourth Street Live! entertainment complex where you can spend a fun night out dancing and singing along to duelling pianos. As its focal feature, the pianos often bring out the best singer in everyone, occasionally throwing in a few hilarious acts in between to keep the crowd cheering on.

    Most of the performers are multi-instrumentalists who can play anything besides the piano. They also play across different music genres. The party vibe gradually builds up through the night, so don’t forget to pick up novelty bucket drinks from the bar to help lubricate both your vocal cords as well as your evening.

    Location: Fourth Street Live!, 434 S 4th St, Louisville, KY 40202, USA

    Open: Daily from 7 pm to 2 am

    Phone: +1 502-562-9400

    Map
    6

    Stevie Ray's Blues Bar

    A bustling spot for live blues and more

    • Nightlife

    Stevie Ray's Blues Bar is one of the top old-time evening spots in Louisville for grooving to live blues, jazz, and even rock, 6 nights a week. The vibe here is very casual and laidback, with a well-stocked bar serving cold cocktails to help make your evening here even smoother.

    Live bands play all types of music and hits, though headlining bands often perform single-hour sets from 8 pm. If you’re becoming a little peckish during the night, you can grab sandwiches from a food truck that’s often parked out front and bring them in. Hit the back patio if you want to sit back or chat with your zesty Bloody Mary or margarita.

    Location: 230 E Main St, Louisville, KY 40202, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Friday from 5 pm to 4 am, Saturday from 5 pm to 2 am, Sunday from 5 pm to 9 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 502-582-9945

    Map
    7

    Haymarket Whiskey Bar

    A bar, bottle shop, arcade, and concert venue rolled into one

    • Nightlife

    Haymarket Whiskey Bar is a lively spot in Louisville offering an extensive list of whiskeys, a boutique bottle shop, and a classic arcade. The bar’s arcade also features 2 Skee-Ball lanes, and there’s even a live music venue – a combo that makes it a great go-to for a fun night out with friends in downtown.

    The bar sits on E Market Street on the edge of Louisville’s Whiskey Row. It’s housed inside a narrow red brick building that dates back to 1885. Haymarket has the city’s largest selection of private barrels, so you might face an issue when choosing from the 400 whiskeys with 250 unique bourbons. Hit the front bar for free events throughout the week, from vintage skate video screenings to midnight-hour DJ sessions.

    Location: 331 E Market St, Louisville, KY 40202, USA

    Open: Monday from 4 pm to 1 am, Tuesday–Thursday and Saturday from 4 pm to 2 am, Friday from 4 pm to midnight, Sunday from 2 pm to midnight

    Phone: +1 502-442-0523

    Map
    8

    The Caravan Comedy Club

    Let the good times roll… on the floor, laughing

    • Nightlife

    The Caravan Comedy Club is the place to hit in Louisville for some good laughs with good company. Besides the line-up of talent presenting hilarious stand-up acts, you can also expect music concerts, contests and other entertainment on its show list.

    Shows start at 7 pm, with the doors usually opening at 6.30 pm. This gives you enough time to check out the menu before heading to your seat when the spotlights shine on the opening acts. Drop by on a Wednesday night for their open mic sessions, featuring up-and-coming talent – or if you’d like to have a go with some jokes of your own.

    Location: Mid City Mall, 1250 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40204, USA

    Open: Wednesday–Saturday from 7 pm to 10.30 pm (closed from Sundays to Tuesdays)

    Phone: +1 502-459-0022

    Map
    9

    Derby City Gaming

    Try your luck at Louisville’s late-night gambling house

    • Nightlife

    Derby City Gaming in Louisville is the answer to the city’s lack of traditional, commercial, Vegas-style casinos, with about 1,000 cool games and slot machines in its collection. Kentucky has a gambling law that only permits horseracing bets, so you won’t find traditional slot machines or any table games like poker or blackjack here.

    Instead, you’ll be able to spin and win on mobile slot games as well as retro horseracing machines. There are titles such as Super Charged 7s, Bridgette’s Biergarten, Triple Action Dragons alongside many others. Interestingly, most do look – and play – like slot machines.

    Location: 4520 Poplar Level Rd, Louisville, KY 40213, USA

    Open: Sunday–Thursday from 9 am to 4 am, Friday–Saturday from 9 am to 9 am

    Phone: +1 502-961-7600

    Map
    10

    Kentucky Bourbon Trail

    Sip and savour Kentucky’s famous whiskey

    • Food
    • Nightlife
    • Couples
    • History

    Kentucky is the undisputed global capital for bourbon production, with some 95% of the world's supply made in and around Louisville. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail was created to help visitors make a self-guided discovery of this barrel-aged, corn-based whiskey and enjoy some samples at distilleries along the way.

    Stop first at the Frazier History Museum, the official starting point of the trail and a wealth of information about what to see and do on the trail. There's also an exhibition, tastings and storytelling sessions about such characters as the bootlegging and kidnapping couple George "Machine Gun" Kelly and his wife Kathryn. Don’t forget to pick up a trail map and passport, which you can get a stamp in at each distillery you visit. 

    Location: Frazier History Museum, 829 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202, USA

    Phone: +1 502-753-1699

    Map
    11

    Fourth Street Live!

    Downtown dining and entertainment district

    • Food
    • Nightlife
    • Couples

    Fourth Street Live! is a party and dining hub in downtown Louisville that has live music venues, restaurants and bars. It's set up as an open-air walking street but the clear canopy covering the top keeps it dry regardless of the weather. Enjoy some hearty eats at such places as Guy Fieri's Smokehouse or the Hard Rock Café, or try a taste of real Kentucky bourbon at the Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse. There's also a food court for quick and cheap eats.

    Gaming fans should stop by Tavern on 4th for some billiards, darts, pinball or bocce ball sessions, while those who love a tipple will want to check the schedule of the regular Wine Walks hosted on the street.

    Location: 411 S. 4th St, Louisville, KY 40202, USA

    Phone: +1 502-584-7170

    Map

    photo by Sharon Mollerus (CC BY 2.0) modified

    12

    The Thirsty Pedaler

    Go for a bar crawl in Louisville… on wheels

    • Nightlife

    The Thirsty Pedaler is a quirky and fun way to go out on the town and explore Louisville’s thriving bar – aboard a specially designed 16-passenger cycle. The cool bar bike is driven by an always-sober lead and hosted by a bartender who cheers you on and keeps the fun alive. The bike even has a sound system to help keep your pedalling spirit high.

    Starting and ending at Fourth Street Live!, you’ll be stopping at 2 bars along the way. The 2-hour tour is good to go for a minimum party of 6. You can also book it for celebrations like bachelorette parties or even an outing with grownup family members.

    Location: 411 S 4th St #170, Louisville, KY 40202, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 11 am to 11 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 502-354-8822

    Map
    Ari Gunadi | Compulsive Traveller

    Start planning your trip

    Maps