James E. Pepper Distillery
After lying abandoned for fifty years, this distillery is back. Using filtered limestone water from the historic distillery well, this place is one-of-a-kind. Tours are available at $20 per person and include the story of the historic brand, time in the distillery museum, a tour of the working distillery and a tasting of the award-winning whiskeys. You can even taste raw distillate right off the still, known as “White Dog,” and then take your tasting glass home. Be sure to take a look at the limestone well before you leave.
Marvel at the architectural splendor of this renovated distillery space, enjoy a drink from the craft cocktail bar and sink your teeth into a perfect slice of New York-Style pizza. A spiral staircase wraps around an old smokestack adorned with modern hanging lights and seating at the bottom. Upstairs, the mezzanine is complete with a pool table and cozy couches that overlook the restaurant. The impressive bar is stacked with over 200 varieties of bourbon. Outside, you’ll find string lights and bocce ball on an impressive patio alongside the Town Branch. Pizza is sold by the slice and pairs well with the enormous bread sticks. A stop to Goodfellas is a must if you’re in the area.
Ethereal brews its beer in a revitalized fermentation room and is the only brewery in town with a dedicated yeast lab. They’ve perfected the Belgian farmhouse and American craft beer, sparing no expense on ingredients or their brewing process. Their taproom selection spans from traditional craft staples (IPAs, Saisons, Witbiers) to ambitious out-of-the-norm brews. Head past the taproom to find a wall of dart boards and the occasional taco stand. And bring your pup, too.
Named one of Open Table’s “100 Hottest Restaurants for 2016” this restaurant is named after the middle fork of the Elkhorn River, on which Lexington was founded. Head Chef Mark Jensen’s seasonal menus offer distinct, bold flavors from local ingredients. Try an imaginative small plate like the ground-to-order Beef Tartar or a delicious vegetarian dish like the smoky Sweet Potatoes Breslin.
Crank & Boom Ice Cream Lounge
Using 100% Kentucky dairy from JD Country Milk, and blackberries and strawberries from neighboring farms, Crank & Boom makes everything in house, from scratch—even their sauces and waffle cones. With inventive seasonal flavors popping up on the regular and fun ice cream cocktails, like the Stout Dreams which features Coffee Stout ice cream and Buffalo Trace bourbon cream, you’ll understand why locals rave about this place.
Make yourself at home in this intimate lodge-style bar and restaurant, located right next to Barrel House Distillery in the old barreling house of the historic distillery. They whip up inventive craft cocktails made exclusively from spirits distilled in-house. Be sure to try the burgoo, a classic Kentucky dish, or soak up the savory goodness of the full charcuterie board. It rotates various meats, cheeses and jams, and pairs perfectly with their seasonal cocktails.
Barrel House Distillery
Located in the barreling house of the historic distillery property, Barrel House continues the tradition of old Kentucky distillers by producing quality bourbon with traditional methods. You can take a tour Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., with tours starting on the hour and lasting about an hour. End your experience with a specialty drink at the lounge and taproom.
Originally built in 1926, this restored train depot is the ideal venue to enjoy live music acts from local and national bands. The natural acoustics and free-flowing vibes are all thanks to the original wood frame and open layout of the space. The intimate floorplan offers standing room only for most shows, with some seating at the full bar. Head outside to the firepit to get fresh air in between shows and keep an eye out for food trucks.
The Burl Arcade
This is where nostalgia kicks into full force. The Burl Arcade is a place for adults to feel like kids again. It’s filled with 1980s arcade games, flashing pinball machines, skee-ball and a wall of TVs beckoning you to pick up a controller (and play Super Mario Bros.). The full-bar with rotating drink specials and mojitos on draft add to the fun, too. Make sure to bring quarters, as most of the games require them. And then head next door to The Burl for live music.
The Local Wag
Located in between the Burl and the Burl Arcade you’ll find a doggy daycare that might just become your dog’s happy place. The Local Wag also has self-serve dog wash stations that include hairdryers, dog training lessons and nutrition consultations to keep your pup in shape. It’s a one-stop-shop for you and your furry friend.
The Break Room
This is where you’ll find locals kicking back, sharing laughs and ordering drinks. Running along the Town Branch Creek, the covered patio leads to an outdoor stage for live music and firepits that always draw a crowd. You can usually find a food truck parked outside too, serving everything from tacos to Thai food.
The most prominent landmark in the Distillery District, this building was an old rickhouse used for aging bourbon. Today, construction on the interior of this building is underway and new local businesses will be popping up soon, including Battle Axes, a venue where you can practice your hatchet-throwing skills (because why not?). Check back for more updates on the exciting renovations.
The Water Tower
The Water Tower at the Distillery District is preparing to host new, local businesses (including breweries) but it won’t be open for a few months. Stay in the know and check back frequently to see what businesses will call this space home.
Manchester Music Hall
In the 1800s it was a bourbon warehouse for Old Tarr Distillery. Fast forward 200 years, it now serves as one of Lexington’s premier event and concert venues. As the Distillery Districts first business in the modern era, Manchester Music Hall attracts mid-level and legacy acts from all genres. Beyond concerts nearly every weekend, this venue often hosts beautiful weddings and unique corporate events as well.
With over 50,000 square feet of event space, one outdoor venue and four indoor venues, the Grand Reserve can cater to the needs of any party. The warehouse-chic style of this space can be dressed up or down to fit the theme of any party, and its close proximity to downtown Lexington makes it the perfect place to host something special.
MS Rezny Studio
This art studio gives serious collectors and art lovers alike the chance to talk with artists about their work and purchase fine art at affordable prices. The 1,500 square foot studio hosts juried competitions, features exhibits seasonally and proudly supports local artists.
Oculus is an award-winning marketing and advertising agency, creating meaningful marketing for local and national brands. You might recognize their work from various Ethereal Brewing beer can designs or the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel bottle design.
This is Marcia Park Cone’s art studio, where she paints mainly with oil and sculpts with clay. Apart from her studio you can find her works at local restaurants like Nick Ryan’s or even at the State Capitol in Frankfort.
Forget kennels, this doggy daycare is a fun place for your pet to play while you’re at work, out of town or in the mood to let your pup simply have a day for the dogs. Dogtown even requires an interview to ensure that your dog would be compatible with the others.