Welcome to Vertigo
Hi! We look forward to having you stay at Vertigo. We’d like to share a few of our favorite places, and answer some questions you may not even know you have 🙂
Where should I go for breakfast or coffee?
Your first breakfast is on us at North Lime Doughnuts! You’ll find a North Lime gift card in Vertigo — just give it the cashier to cover two cups of locally roasted coffee and a couple (amazing) doughnuts.
They’re a quick walk south on 6th St. (going away from downtown) two blocks to Ormsby, then right and it’s the cool old brick building across the street at the end of that block. (For a total Old Louisville detour, skip the Ormsby turn and continue on 6th another half block to Floral Terrace on the right. Open the gates and follow the brick path through this hidden treasure to 7th, and North Lime is back to the north).
For a classic greasy spoon diner experience instead, head east on St. Catherine to the Dizzy Whizz at 217 (follow the scent of burgers on the griddle). Fair warning: you will see ALL walks of life here. And it’s cash only. Yeah, it’s that kind of place. I hope it never goes away. (If places like this are your jam you should really go to Ollie’s Trolley, 978 South Third Street, and read this excellent story about them.)
OR, if you don’t mind a quick drive into the heart of the trendiest neighborhood, head to Please & Thank You (the original one at 800 E. Market) in NuLu for the Spanish Latte and an awesome breakfast sandwich. Also records and the best chocolate cookies. Really. (Maybe hit Mahonia a couple doors down while you’re there for plant therapy!)
Who delivers good pizza?
Pizza Donisi New York style for the win. Be sure to use the address 1049 S. 6th St., otherwise it will show up at our front door and we may not be able to resist: (502) 213-0488.
You can also order there and head to the classic dive bar next door and have a very cheap, very generous bourbon and ginger. They’ll bring your slice to you when it’s ready. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you! It’s really a dive, but the kind that the locals love. And, apparently, Thrillist.)
Where should I drink beer?
Do go to Old Louisville Brewery! It’s a great little craft place down the street. Their beer is awesome and all the neighbors bring their dogs. Holy Grale in the Highlands is also pretty much the holy grail of beer (and they serve good food, too.)
Where should I buy bourbon to take home and what should I get?
I’ll refer to you this story I wrote on the very topic 🙂
Also go to Red Castle Liquors in the neighborhood. They’ll wave you back behind the security glass to browse and they have some wonderful single barrel picks. (Sometimes they are even sampling!)
What are the best bars?
Oh wow. This is a city of bars. If you’re looking for bourbon (and I hope you are) you’ll want to go to the Silver Dollar. Zero attitude, tons of knowledge. And so many bourbons. So, so many.) The same folks own the old school corner bar Pearl of Germantown and the same bartenders make the best $6 Old Fashioned in town (anywhere, probably). Order a pizza delivered, spin the wheel, play some tunes on the free jukebox, and plan your move to Louisville where this can be your every night.
There are more, of course. Meta cocktail lounge won the internet the time they served Pappy Jello shots. Proof on Main is *the* place to see and be seen. And for speakeasy style and top notch service, definitely hit Mr. Lees in Germantown.
We also have to give a shout-out to our neighbors, Sour Mash Tours. They do a bourbon tasting/walking tour of the NuLu neighborhood where you’ll get a solid bourbon 101 — and taste some fun stuff. use code VERTIGO when you book for a nice discount!
I want to tour some distilleries — where should I go?
In town, head to Old Forester, the incredible new grain to bottle distillery on Whiskey Row in the very same building where their offices were located in the late 1800s. It’s worth the visit just to see them char the barrels (seriously, fire under the same roof as a bourbon warehouse!). If you book online ahead of time Angel’s Envy maxes at 10 people per tour so it’s a nice, intimate experience. Also, their pretty swank bar is only open to people on tour, so plan to hang out there after. Did you know we make brandy in Louisville? There are tickets for free tours at Copper & Kings for you in Vertigo.
Heading out into the countryside? The one I take visiting family and friends to every time is Woodford Reserve — total quintessential Kentucky (and good bourbon of course!). Buffalo Trace also has excellent — free! — tours (ask which one Freddie or Lee is leading!). Either one is about an hour from here.
And the newest, most incredible place? Picture a long-abandoned 19th century distillery complete with castle and sunken gardens — that’s been resurrected, but still keeps some Walking Dead-set vibe. That’s Castle & Key and it’s 30 bucks per “experience,” but totally worth it, promise. Book well ahead, and if you can’t get tickets but you go to Woodford, stop in to stroll the grounds for free.
If you don’t want to mess with transportation or logistics, check out the daily tours offered through the Frazier History Museum, which is the official start to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
The big question: where should I eat!?!
Ok, that’s a one-on-one question. Text me and tell me what you like or are in the mood for and I’ll make your recommendation. But some quick favorites: Butchertown Grocery or Decca for special date night level ambiance and food (Butchertown’s Lola upstairs bar/lounge is good for romance and Decca’s Cellar Lounge is also really cool). Dog-friendly Monnik for delicious and comforting gastropub fare (Get. Those. DonderFries.). MilkWood for celebrity chef Ed Lee small plates.
And our neighborhood favorite (not to mention the best food in the city according to our critic), Bar Vetti (it’s small — book ahead online or try for seats at the bar). It’s a 15 minute walk (quicker if you hustle). Just go east on St Catherine (away from the church) two blocks to 4th and take a left. They’re in the tall “800 Building” just a few blocks towards downtown on the left.
Or for some low-key local favorites, check out my personal go-tos in this story. You can also see where some favorites our past guests have recommended here. Bringing your pup? Here are our dog-friendly picks.
What if I need groceries or sushi?
Get this: our grocery store — Falls City Market — is inside the fancy Omni Hotel (open till 8 p.m.). Yep, part of their deal with the city for all those tax incentives was to provide a market to downtown Louisville (which we sorely needed). The manager calls it a cross between Eataly and Dean & DeLuca and that’s about right (including the prices), but they also carry a few aisles of staples. It’s also an awesome place to pick up some of the best regional foods, or grab some woodfired pizza, great sushi, fresh crepes, pastries, local coffee, and other yummy takeaways.) It’s 1.4 miles, so urban-dwellers would probably walk it, but we make the couple minute drive. There’s meter parking or if you park in their 3rd St. garage and spend five bucks just ask your cashier to validate. If you need a full-on grocery store our Kroger is about a 10 minute drive.
I want to ride a bicycle
You’re in luck! LouVelo has a station around the corner on Garvin in front of Genscape. A day pass for unlimited 60-minute rides is $7.50 and we have loaner helmets courtesy of the nice folks there. (Tip: get the app and sign up first)
—So where is all this stuff? —
Everything but the two countryside distilleries here is within no more than a 10 (maaaybe 12) minute ride (sorry, we’re a pretty car-centric kind of town here). If you want to venture further I can tell you about more, but most of the best stuff is all here pretty close.
This is only scratching the surface, and there are so many more great places I’d love to tell you about. Have questions? Fire away!
Oh, and guess what! Cash and I lead walking tours of Old Louisville — check out our daytime walk that wraps with a doughnut at North Lime, or early evening walk that kicks off with a flight at Old Louisville Brewery, and come join us!