21st in Germantown is the oldest operating tavern in Louisville, Kentucky, housing both a bar and restaurant.

It was founded in 1887 as a package/grocery store, and bar, and has had many different names through the years, most recently as Club 21 prior to its current incarnation that opened in 2019.

Back Room Private Party Wedding Reception

Back Room Private Party Wedding Reception

It’s located in the historical neighborhood called Germantown, where there are numerous small bars and breweries, and within the Commonwealth of Kentucky, known as the home and epicenter of bourbon. “We believe it operated under the radar during the years of Prohibition, which is why we were drawn to naming it as a nod to the 21st Amendment, which relegalized alcohol after prohibition,” explains Managing Member, Bob Hudson.

Venue

Venue

Walking into this 9,000 sq. ft. establishment is like stepping back in time, with historic artifacts carefully placed throughout. From the crystal chandelier in the foyer, and the old ticket window, you are instantly transported back to the days of yore, yet with all the modern amenities of today. The eye catching stained concrete floors are designed to mimic the colors generated in charring oak barrels for bourbon. Guests can seat themselves in the Gatsby Room with its copper ceiling, hanging light fixtures made from bourbon barrel hoops, and wall sconces with flickering flames inside. An old player piano sits against the exposed brick wall.

Back Bar Service

Back Bar Service

The beautiful antique bar is the perfect spot to sample from extensive bourbon selection, specialty cocktails, and locally brewed craft beers. The original, and always on the menu, specialty cocktail is the 21st Manhattan. “Most bars make this drink overly sweet, but our Chief Libations Lunatic paired it with a pickled peach, bringing out hidden highlights of the liquid ingredients. For an added notch up you can get it smoked with hemp… a Kentucky experience at its finest,” claims Hudson. The newest craft cocktail added to the menu is our Summers Woody, utilizing Saltwater Woody lemon rum, fresh lemon juice, agave syrup, strawberry syrup, and a splash of soda, that’s perfect for a sunny sip on the patio. Those guests who enjoy a clear liquor have not been forgotten, as there’s also a wide selection of tequilas, rums, gins, and vodkas.

Gouda Morning Burger

Gouda Morning Burger

The food menu is chock full of amazing home-made appetizers, entrees, and desserts, anchored by some old favorites and specialty burgers. The most recent food addition is a twist on traditional southern biscuits and gravy, using chorizo sausage. and other fresh herbs. The staple item on the menu from day one is the Gouda Morning Burger, ½ lb. Black Angus beef, two onion rings, a fried egg, spicy aioli, served on a buttery brioche. As for desserts, try the chai tea brownie with bacon fat cayenne cashews, vanilla bean ice cream, or a ginger infused caramel drizzle. They also recently expanded their offering to include brunch on Saturday and Sunday.

Tequila Sunrise

Tequila Sunrise

Off to the side of the building is a dog friendly patio where guests can relax with a drink and their pooch. In the furthest part of the building past the kitchen, sits a 3000 sq. ft. venue with Victorian couches that invites guests to relax with some live music from both local and national acts, comedy shows, trivia, karaoke, and private events. The clientele includes both younger and older generations, both those who are new to the ambiance of the neighborhood, and those who have lived there for generations.

An interesting historic note is that the venue and dance floor was salvaged from the roller-skating rink of Louisville’s Fountaine Ferry Amusement Park, which closed in 1969. “You never really own a building like ours, you just become a caretaker of history, and work your hardest to honor everyone that has come before you,” Hudson concludes.

21st in Germantown is a member of the Urban Bourbon Trail, an historical sightseeing and tasting experience across the many distilleries and taverns throughout downtown Louisville.

Phone 502-654-7221 • 21stGermantown.com