As Tommy, one of Howl at the Moon’s piano players, explains on the club’s website, “Every night…we try and throw a party, regardless of whether it’s a Tuesday night or a Saturday night.” The bar’s trademark dueling pianos serve as the epicenter of these nightly celebrations; patrons submit their favorite songs on slips of paper for the pianists and backing musicians to recreate. If the website’s playlist is any indication, the bands can handle popular songs from all genres and eras, from Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” to Kanye West’s “All of the Lights.” The performances are spirited: colorful lights splash upon a stage where servers, guests, and chairs that have somehow developed mobility all dance along to the music.
Fueling the celebration is the bar’s indulgent selection of drinks. Servers stand over patrons to plunge jello injectors into their mouths, and revelers grab colorful straws to help drain 86-ounce booze buckets filled with sangria or other fruity libations. Pomegranate liqueur and honey-infused whiskey sweeten specialty cocktails, and local beers add depth to coolers stocked with Stella Artois and Dos Equis.
The Kentucky Ballet Theatre was founded in 1998 to give Lexington audiences their own local company of ballet dancers. The performances that have followed have included classics such as Prokofiev's Cinderella and new works such as Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera. The dancers host their shows at the Lexington Opera House, a historical landmark which was built in 1887, was converted into a movie theater in the 1920s, and did a brief stint as a Rockette before returning to its classical roots in 1976.
Baxter's 942 Bar & Grill focuses on the important things in life—beer, music, and grilled meat. As bartenders kick open the kegs to pour drafts, a sizzling grill leaves each burger that walks across its surface lightly blackened, like anything a fireman kisses. Each night of the week, the eatery transforms into a music venue for local bands and DJs to strut their stuff, with karaoke on Wednesdays.
There's hardly a lovelier sound than the clear ring of crystal glasses clinking together during a toast—or a lovelier sight than amber liquid spilling through a crystal decanter into those glasses. Add Clink Barware's trademark monograms, and pouring a drink becomes an elegant little piece of dinnertime theater. The company personalizes everything from flutes for toasting with champagne to pitchers for pouring high-grade cement. All pieces are high-quality glass, and most are made from different types of crystal, including the subtly aqua-tinted hand-blown variety and flawlessly clear optic crystal.
WhiteMoon Winery's 14 acres are owned by Alex Ackermann, who is also the head grower. She produces a variety of dry, semisweet, and sweet wines from grapes grown on her Marion County estate, as well as at local vineyards throughout Kentucky. Tastings offer visitors a chance to sample the wines, while events such as Art Night engage the community in non-grape fun.
Since 1997, Neil and Rachel Vasilakes have been growing fresh fruit with minimal pesticides on 30 acres of rolling farmland. With the grapes, berries, apples, and peaches that grow there, they craft 22 wines. Included in these are nine dry reds, which range from medium to robust, as well as such dry whites as chardonnay and seyval blanc. Neil, the primary winemaker, also enjoys exploring unusual varietals, fermenting small quantities of inventive recipes for his Black Barrel Reserve collection. Though they frequently rotate, these wines sometimes include peach mead, port wine aged in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels, and black walnut wine aged in Maker's Mark barrels. The winery is also known for Neil's blackberry, strawberry, and blueberry wines.
Within their tasting room, they serve up cheese pairings to complement the flavors of the wines, several of which won silver and bronze medals at the 2009 Kentucky State Fair Commercial Wine Contest. Believing that no good thing should go to waste, they repurpose some wines from the tasting room into gourmet cooking vinegars.