The Bard's Town blends two households, both alike in dignity, yet separate all the same. A theatre on one side, and a restaurant on the other, The Bard's Town is not a dinner theatre, as dishes never find their way into the staging space. Contrary to what the name might suggest, The Bard’s Town Theatre chooses to pay homage to Shakespeare not by performing his plays, but by following in his footsteps and creating new work. This mission has resulted in the performance of several world premiers, short plays, and the Obie-award winning A Bright New Boise.
In the self-contained restaurant, a raucous menu full of hearty dishes and Shakespearean puns abounds. Prologues (appetizers) include dishes such as Titus Nacho-nicus, while main course dishes include The Mushroom of Venice burger with Swiss cheese and mushrooms, and The Steakspeare—an 8-ounce Shell Island steak coated in original rub. Epilogues (desserts) include homemade gooey butter cake and key lime pie.
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.
The Vernon Club, nestled in a historic building dating back to 1886, rolls out eight gleaming lanes with automatic scoring, a new Internet jukebox, and tasty comestibles for fueling competitive appetites. Players don borrowed footwear and the letterman jackets of league-player ghosts before hurling three-holed spheres toward pins poising themselves for the welcomed whack of a spare or strike. Bowlers can rest their pin-striking biceps of fury with a gooey 12-inch pizza or maintain concentration while grasping a bratwurst in non-bowling hands. On select nights, rock bands set up shop beside the lanes and churn out foot-tapping ditties until 1 a.m. or 2 a.m.
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.