Known as the "Bourbon Capital of the World", historic Bardstown has long been a cradle for America's native spirit.
Bardstown Area in a Day
Note: this suggested itinerary assumes Louisville as your starting point, taking you first through Shepherdsville for the Jim Beam tour, 25 minutes from downtown Louisville. Then Bardstown will be another 20 minutes from Shepherdsville.
8:15 a.m. Depart Louisville for Shepherdsville, KY
8:45 am Arrive at Jim Beam for 9 am tour
10:25 a.m. Depart Jim Beam for Bardstown, KY
10:45 a.m. Arrive at Heaven Hill Distilleries Bourbon Heritage Center
12:15 p.m. Lunch at one of Bardstown’s signature spots: Mammy’s Kitchen, The Old Talbott Tavern or Kurtz
Kurtz Restaurant – serving Southern meals like skillet fried chicken, biscuit bourbon pudding and classic cocktails since 1937 right across from My Old Kentucky Home.
Mammy’s Kitchen – is known for bourbon burgers, country cooking and mile-high meringue pies
Old Talbott Tavern – the oldest western stagecoach stop in America with many bourbon barons as former owners since the late 1700s.
1:30 p.m. Depart for Maker’s Mark in Loretto, KY
2:00 p.m. Tour Maker’s Mark; depart at 3:15 to return to Bardstown
OPTION: You could save the 1-hour round trip to Maker’s and have more time downtown to tour Willett Distillery (a more prominent craft distiller) or Barton’s 1792 (a more vintage industrial-type tour than the others). Both are in Bardstown, and the tours are roughly 1 hour each.
3:45 p.m. Shopping Downtown Bardstown (the shops will close between 5 and 6)
Named the Most Beautiful Small Town in America by Rand McNally, Bardstown’s picture-perfect downtown streets teeming with boutiques and eateries are one of the reasons.
Tip: Kentucky Bourbon Marketplace or Kentucky Bourbon House for a bourbon tasting.
5 pm: So many options here. Cocktails, a Dinner Train, Overnight or back to Louisville.
My Old Kentucky Dinner Train – Dine in a vintage railroad car serving up American meals during a scenic rail journey in the Kentucky countryside, lasting several hours.
Happy Hour or Dinner in Bardstown – If you didn’t have lunch at the Old Talbott Tavern, this is an excellent spot for a cocktail. Other drink and dinner options are the new American fare, served in the Colonial tavern of the Harrison-Smith House or Rickhouse. Steaks and a large bourbon list feature at the underground, brick-walled eatery in the basement of a historic school.
Stay the night: Tuck into one of Bardstown’s charming B and B’s, like the Bourbon Manor and spend an extra day in the Bourbon Capital. Six distilleries are located in or near Bardstown: Barton 1792, Willett Distillery, Heaven Hill, Maker's Mark, Jim Beam, and Four Roses/Cox Creek.
Best Snapshot Spot:
Lock and load for a selfie at the prison stocks in the Old County Jail (now Jailer's Inn B&B).
Soak Up Culture:
Tour one of the world's most recognizable homes - Federal Hill, also known as My Old Kentucky Home - immortalized by composer Stephen Foster, and watch the Broadway-style musical, "The Stephen Foster Story."