Dec. 5, 1933, must have been a great day to be alive. After 13 long years without legally being allowed to drink booze, the 21st Amendment went into effect on that day, which put an end to the failed experiment known as Prohibition. They say you could hear bottles of champagne popping throughout the country. (Well, I just added that for effect, because I’m guessing few had champagne since it was illegal.)
Now, 82 years later, the prospect of Prohibition seems as foreign and unfamiliar to us as life before Twitter. But it’s still a valid and important reason to celebrate, so bars and restaurants across Louisville are having parties, specials and special parties on Saturday, Dec. 5, to commemorate that significant day in history. Here’s a roundup of some of them, with a little help from the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau and Do502.
8UP, 350 W. Chestnut St. — This rooftop restaurant will offer specialty cocktails with fancy names like The Hanky Panky, Side Car, Fallen Angel, Scofflaw and Chrysanthemum. They’re part of the Repeal Day Revel, which you can read more about below.
Bourbon Raw, Fourth Street Live — Select bourbons will be half price.
Bourbons Bistro, 2255 Frankfort Ave. — Two-bit (25 cents) pours of whiskey, along with 25-cent appetizer bites starting at 6 p.m. Prohibition movies will be shown throughout the evening. Prohibition and flapper-era costumes are strongly encouraged. A $50 gift certificate will be awarded to the best costume.
Chill Bar, 1117 Bardstown Road — This is their second annual Repeal Party and will feature drink specials as well as music by Tony Matthew and The Groove Machine.
Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, 528 W. Main St. — (NOTE: This party is Friday, Dec. 4.) The free Repeal Day Celebration runs from 5-9 p.m. in the Speakeasy Bar. Features complimentary hors d’oeuvres, bourbon tastings and bourbon-themed door prizes. Prohibition-era attire is recommended, and there will be prizes for best costume.
Frazier History Museum, 829 W. Main St. — Remember that “Spirits of the Bluegrass: Prohibition and Kentucky” — an exhibit exploring how bourbon shaped Kentucky — is now on display.
Haymarket Whiskey Bar, 331 E. Market St. — As close to 1933 prices as they can legally do, they’re offering up $2 PBRs and $2 Old Grand Dad 80 proof shots all night long.
Huber’s and Starlight Distillery, 19816 Huber Road, Borden, Ind. — Features a day of demonstrations and cocktails from 1-5 p.m. Take a walk through the production facility for a behind-the-scenes look at how wine and spirits are made, and sample cocktails. Cap off your visit in the Stillhouse to view master distillers at work and taste bourbon straight from the still or new in the barrel. This party is free, and reservations are not required.
Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co., 120 N. 10th St. — In partnership with the Filson Historical Society, this Repeal Day celebration includes samples from vintage bourbons. Participants will get tastes of Old Crow Whiskey and Paul Jones Rye from the 1890s. Both bottles are no longer produced and were stored for decades before being donated to the Filson. Also, there will be tastings of modern-day bourbons. Michael Veach, the Filson’s bourbon historian, and author Susan Reigler will both be on hand. Cost is $100. RSVP at 635-5083.
The Old Seelbach Bar, 500 S. Fourth St. — The prices will be repealed on two specialty drinks for one hour. The Southside cocktail, which was a favorite drink of Al Capone, and the Highball will both be $5 from 9-10 p.m.
Patrick O’Shea’s, 123 W. Main St. — Three specialty bourbon cocktails featuring Old Charter Bourbon (O’Shea’s is located in the old Charter Bourbon Distillery Warehouse) will be available.
Proof on Main, 702 W. Main St. — Proof will feature a few specialty cocktails for $10. Swing 39 plays Prohibition-era tunes from 7-11 p.m. Costumes are encouraged. They’re part of the Repeal Day Revel, which you can read more about below.
Varanese, 2106 Frankfort Ave. — Three pre-Prohibition cocktails will be on special.
Repeal Day Revel — Hosted by Jim Beam and Contratto, this pub crawl of sorts encourages you to get a stamp at five local venues: Proof on Main, 8UP, Doc Crow’s, Down One Bourbon Bar and Meta. Participants will receive a stamp at each location with the purchase of a Repeal Day cocktail. And those who receive a stamp from all of the venues should head to Meta (the final destination), where they’ll receive a prize (while supplies last). They’ll also be entered into a raffle for a one-night stay for six at the Knob Creek House at Jim Beam Distillery.