Urban Bourbon Trail
Stamp collecting has never been so much fun. When you’re traveling along the Urban Bourbon Trail, you’re in for cocktails classic and modern, live music, and the bourbon-inspired creativity of Louisville’s best bartenders and chefs. Each stop is well stocked with anywhere from 50 to 150 varieties of Kentucky’s signature spirit.
What is the Urban Bourbon Trail?
After a day in Bourbon Country visiting the distilleries or an afternoon enjoying Louisville’s new Urban Bourbon Experience, it’s time to test your newfound knowledge on the URBAN bourbon trail. Louisville has been home to many distillers since Evan Williams marketed his first whiskey in the city in 1780. Until the 1920’s, a portion of Main Street was known as “Whiskey Row” when as many as 50 distilleries were active. As the distillery experiences continue to grow in Louisville, you can celebrate the city’s bourbon heritage at some of the world’s best bourbon bars.
Morning, noon or night, bourbon can be found in its natural environment…the Louisville bars and restaurants serving up America’s only native spirit in drinks and innovative dishes from mint julep pancakes to bourbon barrel smoked salmon or a bourbon ball milkshake. All of the stops will have their own version of Louisville’s two signature drinks. The Old Fashioned, created here in the 1880’s at the Pendennis Club, is Louisville’s Official Cocktail. And of course, the Mint Julep has been the official drink of the Kentucky Derby since 1938.
The establishments on the Urban Bourbon Trail vary from historic hotel properties that once served Kentucky Whiskey to the likes of Al Capone and F. Scott Fitzgerald to cosmopolitan “scenes” where urban trend-setters are making retro drinks such as the Old-Fashioned and Manhattan in vogue again. Six are in downtown hotels, several have been internationally recognized as the “world’s top whiskey bars” and most also feature bourbon-inspired dining. All offer bourbon flights, special bourbon cocktails and have at least 50 different bourbon labels on the bar with trained staff that can explain the nuances and tasting notes in the varied offerings from Jim Beam Black to Elmer T. Lee.
How does it work?
There are two ways to travel the Urban Bourbon Trail – with a printed booklet style passport or an electronic version. You can pick up your free passport at the Visitors Center (4th and Jefferson Streets in downtown Louisville) or at any of the participating stops (just ask your server). You can also download an electronic passport using the iPhone or Android app.
No matter which method you choose, you’ll be guided through the history of Louisville’s bourbon heritage and the world’s most celebrated bourbon bars. Just drink in the atmosphere, or enjoy a bite to eat. Be sure to ask your bartender or server to validate your passport (or app) before you leave. Remember you don’t have to drink bourbon to get your passport stamped (though that’s a bit of the point!), you just need to make a purchase at each location.
Perhaps you’ve made this bet before in horseracing (Kentucky’s other favorite pastime), well rest assured a “Pick Six” on the Urban Bourbon Trail is a SURE bet. Just collect a stamp from six of the many stops along the Urban Bourbon Trail and you’ll earn the rank of official Bourbon Country Citizen.
You’ll also be awarded a special Urban Bourbon Trailblazer t-shirt and official Citizen of Bourbon Country certificate, so you can proudly display your passion for bourbon to the world.
The program is free to participate (other than your purchases), and there’s no time limit for completion.
Where is it?
The Urban Bourbon Trail is centered around downtown Louisville, with stops in other neighborhoods as well. If you need help navigating it, we have several options to help you out. The best way to find your way around is with the App but you can also download our illustrated map, use the Google Map below, or read a simple list of the locations and descriptions about The Bars.
View Urban Bourbon Trail in a larger map
How do I redeem my completed Passport?
I’m holding a completed passport with six stamps.
Stop by the Visitors Center where you’ll to receive your prize. If you can’t make it to the Visitors Center before you leave town you’ll find instructions in the back of the passport for redemption via mail.
I’ve got the app.
When you complete the Tour, you’ll automatically receive an email. Respond with the requested information and your Urban Bourbon Trailblazer t-shirt and official Citizen of Bourbon Country certificate will be shipped to you. If you don't have the app yet, have no fear — just download the app here.
The “Urban Bourbon Trail” mark is being used with the permission of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. The Kentucky Distillers’ Association, its member distilleries and the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau ask that you please enjoy Kentucky Bourbon responsibly.