Equal parts sports fanatics and wings enthusiasts, Wildcat Wings owners Gordon and Emerie Duke create a culinary environment that mirrors the vibrancy of a live sporting event. The idea for Wildcat Wings came to them while rooting on Kentucky versus UCONN in the 2011 NCAA basketball Final Four game. Sensing that wings were the missing ingredient to celebrating the game properly, they quickly discovered the area was lacking an eatery to meet that need. The next thing they knew, both Gordon and Emerie were in their own restaurant slinging more than 20 sauces to slather golden-fried wings in everything from a bourbon glaze and mango habanero to honey mustard and peanut butter and jelly. They also pour frosty brews such as Kentucky Ale with which patrons can wash down feasts of wings and chicken tenders. To keep Gordon and Emerie’s inspiration ever-present, the venue’s TVs air all UK games, as well as broadcasting other sports, including baseball, football, and full-contact Connect Four.
In 1783, Captain John Holder established Holder's Tavern along the region's main thoroughfare: the Kentucky River. Now part of Hall's on the River, the site persists some 200-plus years later as a place to gather around food and drinks. Today, visitors dig into classic Southern dishes, ranging from steaks and smoked pork chops to frog legs and a seafood platter stacked with shrimp, oysters, scallops, clams, and fried ocean catfish.
When it comes to tasting the flavors of the South, there isn’t a more appropriate spot than one that features the welcoming, easy slope of a barn's roof. In addition to authentic digs, Tony's Barn offers slow-smoked barbecue and refreshing sweet tea, all enjoyed at casual wooden tables. Dig into smoked St. Louis style ribs or breaded and fried catfish before sampling barn brownies or sawdust pies—an amalgam of chocolate chips, coconut, walnut, and sliced bananas.
As its name subtly hints, this sports-bar chain prides itself on signature onion rings and nine flavors of buffalo wings that come big, boneless, breaded, and range from mild to atomic on the tongue-melting scale. Beyond wings, the menu is a study in classic sports-bar Americana, with burgers, quesadillas, and that most American of late-night snacks: Greek gyros.
Buffalo Wings & Rings diverts diners' attention from their sauce-covered fingers with TVs airing sports and enough space for a herd of buffa-chickens to graze. The boisterous atmosphere also makes Buffalo Wings & Rings the ideal environment for talking loudly, trading high-fives, and second-guessing the coach's decision to wear pleats when the whole league has switched to flat fronts.
At Buffalo Wings & Rings, groups devour thick-cut onions rings and sauce-slathered wings while catching ESPN games on 14 HDTVs. The namesake wings are served bone-in or boneless at a variety of spice levels, from mild to atomic. Juicy burgers, grilled gyros, and chopped salads line the menu, ready to pair with mixed drinks and cold brews.
Each day, from the lunch hour until 10 p.m., the chefs at Zazou Grill & Pub keep the ovens hot. Preparing a menu of pub-style food, they plate up pairs of soft, warm pretzel pillows with a zesty queso blanco sauce for dipping?or dress half-pound cheeseburgers with bacon and a fried egg and serve them alongside tater tots, sweet potato fries, and other sides. The bar is also home to a handful of games, such as bar bowling and Golden Tee, and frequently hosts karaoke night, during which visitors can belt out their best renditions of "Ave Maria."