Baseball in Louisville dates back to 1876 when the Louisville Grays began playing as part of the National League. Soon after the turn of the 20th century, minor league baseball arrived in Derby City and for 70 years, the Louisville Colonels commanded it. Their departure in 1972, however, led to a period of inactivity, as well as a period of unemployed umpires roaming the city shouting "SAFE!" at landing birds. Ten years later, baseball returned with the arrival of the Louisville Redbirds, who eventually became the RiverBats in 1998, and simply the Bats in 2002. Over the years this franchise has spent time as the affiliate of three big league teams: the St. Louis Cardinals, the Milwaukee Brewers, and its current affiliate, the Cincinnati Reds.
Maker's Mark Bourbon House serves upscale cuisine and, of course, a long list of Kentucky-distilled bourbons. From the classy comfort of the wood-topped bar, warm your whistle with a flight of low-rye bourbons (Jim Beam, Knob Creek, and Woodford Reserve, $11), high-rye bourbons (Bulleit, Four Roses Small Batch, and Fighting Cock, $12), single-barrel bourbons (Blanton’s, Eagle Rare, and Elijah Craig 18 year, $12), or a rich palate of millionaire's row bourbons (A.H. Hirsch 16 year, Jefferson’s Presidential Reserve 17 year, and Vintage Bourbon 23 year, $25). There are more than 60 creamy, smooth, oaky, toasted, and roasted flavors from which to choose.
With weekly entertainment and nightly televised sports action, Jock's Sports Bar & Grill activates patrons’ fun sensors while enticing their taste buds with a classic grill menu. Invite a date, best bud, or favorite teddy bear to join in an appetizer such as Jock's nachos piled high with beef, gooey cheese, and jalapeños ($5.95). Entrees, including the half-pound deep-fried fish sandwich ($6.95) and the grilled ham-and-cheese ($4.50) become even more indulgent beside sides such as the beer-battered onion rings ($3.50).
Fresh from new ownership and remodeling, Tailgaters Sports Bar & Grill's spacious interiors house a menu of flavorsome bar eats and a bevy of beverages. Start with an appetizer such as the onion petals ($5.99), their crisp, golden appearance mimicking the treasured Scallion Bowl trophy, or collect the bar's all-star starters in the diverse Tailgater Ultimate Sampler ($12.49), which arrives sidekicked with your choice of assistant dipping sauces. Fresh Angus beef bedecks burgers such as the half-pound All-American ($5.99, $6.99 with cheese) and the bacon-stacked black and blue burger ($8.99). Comfortably decorate your digestive cave with the Tailgaters Surf & Turf Classic ($19.99), its prime bistro fillet and beer-battered cod capably flanked by potatoes, colorful mixed veggies, and a soup or salad.
For more than 20 years, Juanita's Place has been supplying Louisville locals with pregame and postgame grazing grounds a stone’s throw from nearby Papa John’s Cardinal stadium and the historic Churchill Downs. Barflies can buzz mesothoraxes over to a table, pausing to admire the hand-carved, Tiger Oak bar, before indulging in half and full servings of appetizers such as mild or hot chicken wings (12 for $6.50). Breaded mushrooms facilitate the tapping-into of inner herbivores (10 for $3; 20 for $5.50), while 12-inch pepperoni or sausage pizzas satisfy bellies without exposing mouths to the jagged dangers of angular cuisine ($7). Feast on succulent, six-pound slabs of tender barbecue ribs (quarter-slab for $7, half-slab for $13, full slab for $24), only available every other Saturday. With the purchase of tasty fare, this Groupon can be used toward Juanita’s Place’s daily selection of cocktails and brews, with drink specials offered seven nights a week.
Every year on the first weekend in May, throngs of well-dressed visitors descend on Louisville, headed to Churchill Downs to witness the country's most iconic horse race. The track hosts other horse races throughout much of the year and operates a museum seven days a week. Louisville's other bastion, the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, offers 25-minute guided tours through the bat-making factory. The attached museum expounds on the manufacturing process with interactive exhibits, including an opportunity to stare down a 90 mph fastball. Post-tour, each visitor receives a miniature souvenir bat to swat away falling acorns.