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Lexington, Ky


The rolling green hills and rambling black fences of Lexington, Kentucky horse country are legendary. While we heartily recommend whiling away an afternoon at Keeneland placing bets on your favorite filly, there’s more to Lex than equines. The NoLi Night Market, for instance, draws urbanites from nearby neighborhoods and downtown with its food truck parade, handmade goods by local makers, and live music under the stars (plus a few strings of twinkly lights). You might be lured by all the action downtown, and we don’t blame you, but be sure to scope out the surrounding areas like the Historic Western Suburb, Woodland Triangle, and North Lime. There’s plenty we love in the Coolavin Park area too, not the least of which are pick-up games of bike polo across from County Club and West Sixth Brewery. Of particular note, the once gritty Distillery District is coming into its own. You won’t want to miss the beloved dessertery Crank & Boom’s first brick and mortar in one of the district’s restored warehouses. Some cities just need a little coaxing to reveal their sweet spots–stick with us–and if someone asks you if you bleed blue, just say yes.

Historic Distillery District

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Goodfellas Distillery  N.Y. style pizza, a veritable wall of bourbon in the Wiseguy Lounge, and a smokestack encircled by a winding staircase–how could you go wrong? Chillax at Goodfellas with a slice and your preferred beverage on their delightful patio or inside the magnificently renovated distillery. Good times. 1228 Manchester St. (E)

Ethereal Brewing  Irish Espresso Stout, P.B.& J. Porter, Cascadian Cream Ale, Ethereal Strength Bitter–these guys are delivering plenty of reasons for you to venture out to the Old Pepper Distillery. Enjoy a flight of their creative brews including a few solid Saisons and their signature IPA, Wanderlust. They keep ten rotating guest taps as well. Ethereal has darts in the tank room, the best food trucks in town on the regular, and a mighty fine looking taproom to sweeten the pot. 1224 Manchester St. (E)

Middle Fork Kitchen Bar  Mark Jensen, whose popular mobile galley Fork in the Road won your hearts, now brings his globally-inspired street cuisine to a earthy-urban sit down venue right next door to Ethereal Brewing. You can expect good views to all the action in the kitchen, including a chef’s counter and communal tables. Middle Fork is making good use of the outdoor space as well, overlooking the meandering Town Branch River. Go see what Mark and his team put together. 1224 Manchester St. (E)

Crank and Boom’s Dessert Cafe and Lounge  Lex’s favorite craft ice creamery brings its small batch velvety goodness to the Distillery District–Bourbon & Honey, Superfudge, Kentucky Blackberry & Buttermilk, plus much more.1210 Manchester St. (E)

Barrel House Distilling Co. is an official stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour, but we won’t blame you if you head straight down to Manchester St. Their Oak Rum is aged in charred oak bourbon barrels, and naturally you can’t leave Kentucky without tasting shine. We heartily recommend you start with the good stuff–Barrel House’s Devil John Moonshine No. 9. The small batch Pure Blue Vodka is a hit with the Big Blue Nation. At Barrel House, they’re patiently waiting for the bourbon to be “ready,” but you can check out the groovy copper pot still while it ages. Tours and tastings are offered Wednesday through Sunday. 1200 Manchester St. (D)

The Elkhorn Tavern is Barrel House’s lounge and taproom. Sink into a leather bourbon-barrel chair with a Big Ass Mule or Pure Blue Cheese Martini featuring Barrel House spirits and regale us with tales of how you’ve wrestled with bigger bears than the one adorning the wall of the Elkhorn. You’ll love their cozy fireplace during the chillier months, but all we can think of right now is cooling down with a refreshing Blueberry Oak Smash. 1200 Manchester St. (E)

Break Room at the Pepper  Hang out at Town Branch with your friends, sit on the patio and soak up some sun, play cornhole, watch the game, have some drinkswhat’s not to like about this place? If your chill friend’s river house was actually a bar, it would be the Break Room. 1178 Manchester St. (E)

The Burl is a great little music venue in the Distillery District. The wood planking gives it a nice warm feel and makes for amazing acoustics. See a show there, and you’ll be scanning the schedule for your next visit. 375 Thompson Rd. (D)

M.S. Rezny Studio and Gallery  Gorgeous natural light floods Mary Rezny’s  gallery featuring “contemporary, professional, experimental, and innovative artists.” You’ll find a wide range of photography, mixed media, collage, fiber arts, and paintings here. Stop by during third Friday’s Gallery Hop (every other month) or during gallery hours Tuesday through Saturday. 903 Manchester St. (S)

PRHBTN  Those really cool street art murals around town are brought to you by the folks at PRHBTN. Check out their gallery events or their annual PRHBTN Festival each year when they invite artists from all over the world to share their art with Lexington. PRHBTN “showcases local, regional, and national artists, musicians, and businesses intrinsic to urban culture.” Keep up to date with their latest endeavors here. 899 Manchester St. (D)

Manchester Music Hall  The newly refurbished venue is a nice place to see a show. Ride share is the way to go here. 899 Manchester St. (D)

Kre8now Makerspace  3-D printers, Build-a-Drone workshops, wood routers–you name it, Kre8now probably has it. Their new 12,000 foot space is meant to be a community creative hive. Makers and inventors unite. 903 Manchester St. #120 (D)

Town Branch Distillery is the oldest craft distillery in Lexington. Take a tour to bolster your beer and bourbon I.Q. Town Branch Distillery and Alltech Lexington Brewing produce Kentucky Ales including their flagship Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, and Town Branch Bourbon, Bluegrass Sundown liqueur, as well as “the first malt whiskey produced in Kentucky since the Prohibition,” Pearse Lyons Reserve. 401 Cross St. (E)

Pop’s Resale  Visit this “clearinghouse for vinyl records, vintage and quirky clothing, old-school game systems, and a million other things you ain’t never heard of,” and pick up what Pop’s is dropping. Go by and gab with Dan Shorr (Pop) and add to your vinyl collection. 1423 Leestown Rd. (S)

Historic Western Suburb

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Stella’s Kentucky Deli  It’s the little things that please us the most about Stella’s farm-sourced food.  For instance, you can add a fried green tomato to any burger or salad on the menu.  They make their own jalapeno syrup and use it in their clever tequila gimlet. Anything with Weisenburger cheese grits is a good call, and don’t forget a slice of Mary Porter pie, to go if necessary.  Stella’s has a sweet little side patio. But be warned, this popular little yellow house is jumping during lunch and seating is tight. 143 Jefferson St.(E)

Nick Ryan’s Saloon  It’s hard to resist a Southern double porch. Nick Ryan’s food matches the appeal of its architecture. Try the Braised Beef Short Ribs or another house favorite, the Shrimp & Grits made with Weisenberger Mill’s stone ground white grits, smoked Gouda, and andouille sausage. Join them for Saturday brunch and enjoy their Bloody Mary bar ($5 each for your spicy Saturday wake-up). 157 Jefferson St. (E)

Jefferson Street Soiree is an annual neighborhood throwdown in celebration of  Keeneland’s Yearling Sale. The evening soiree gathers folks all the way down the Jefferson Street corridor, from Short to Second. We’re talkin’ some serious food, libations, and musical entertainment–all on one of our favorite destinations in Lex, Jefferson Street. (D)

Grey Goose Bar  Those stable doors just draw us right in. Order up one of their hand-tossed New York style pizzas; the specials are always a good way to go here, and sit back soaking in the dimly lit atmosphere. It is where all the cool kids hang out. 170 Jefferson St. (E)

Wine + Market  We never resist dropping in Wine + Market when in Lexington–great sandwiches on crusty bread, a kickin’ cheese case, gourmet goodies and plenty of white subway tile and mirror to draw in the light. We’re feeling their European vibe. Offering free tastings in the adjoining wine room on Fridays from 5-8, this is the perfect place to pull together an impromptu picnic for your honey. 486 W. 2nd St. (S)

The Green Lantern Bar  If you mention that you live or travel through Lexington, people are inevitably going to ask if you’ve been to The Green Lantern (yes, it is that famous). This little neighborhood dive bar features an eclectic mix of live music and is considered a staple of the local rock scene. 497 W. 3rd St. (E)

Blue Stallion Brewing specializes in German lagers and British ales. Head over on Test Batch Tuesdays for limited edition brews and pick up a little dinner from the Gastro Gnome truck. Trivia is on Thursday for you competitive types, and you can cue up at Lyles BBQ for additional brain fuel. 610 W. 3rd St. (E)

Coolavin Park

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Bike Polo is way cool, and it is happening in Coolavin Park. Did you know that Lexington has its very own bike polo court?  Fact. Lexington is even hosting this year’s Bike Polo World Championship in October. How rad is that? Find out more about bike polo and roller hockey on Lex’s Bicycle Polo League website Coolavin Park, 550 W. 6th St. (D)

County Club  Hardwood-smoked low and slow, County Club utilizes “responsibly raised Kentucky cow, hog, sheep, goat, and chicken while applying flavor traditions from around the world.”  The smoked brisket with Cornichon and poutine of the day are local favorites, and their house-made vinegar bbq sauce made with West Sixth IPA was spotlighted by Garden & Gun magazine. Be sure to order the daily salad–it is always amazing. 555 Jefferson St. (E)

Broke Spoke Community Bike Shop is a volunteer-run organization that wants “better bicycles for all people” and to help you help yourself when it comes to bike upkeep. They offer bike mechanics classes and fully stocked workstations.  “At Broke Spoke you can buy used bikes and parts. You can rent workstand time. You can ask one of our mechanics if you are doing something right. And, if you can’t afford to pay, you can volunteer your time for $8/hour, otherwise known as sweat equity.” Righteous. 501 W. Sixth St. (S)

West Sixth Brewing recently announced the release of its first County Series beer–Washington, fermented in a gently-used red wine barrel. This limited edition ale is described as “tart, crisp, and funky, with high effervescence created during the bottle conditioning.” Their Pay it Forward Cocoa Porter, besides being delicious, generates 50 cents a six pack for worthy charities in the town where it is sold. If you’re looking for yet another reason to love West Sixth, show up with your mat on Wednesday (6-7 p.m.) for Community Yoga. 501 W. Sixth St. (E)

Smithtown Seafood is located right inside West Sixth in the Bread Box building. Who couldn’t do with a basket of Crispy Seafood Pups alongside a refreshing West Sixth brew? Even though the vibe is casual (pick up window and brewery seating), Smithtown is dead serious about serving up deliciously prepared seafood that is sustainably raised or responsibly farmed. You can even take advantage of Chef Michel’s expert fishmonger by purchasing fresh fish to go. Every tilapia special sends $8 to FoodChain’s urban farm and helps educate the community about sustainable agriculture and food production. 501 W. Sixth St. (E)

Rollergirls of Central Kentucky practice sessions are held at The Bread Box warehouse behind West Sixth Brewing. This Flat Track Roller Derby League hosts home bouts during the season at the Lexington Ice Center and the Lexington Convention Center. They are often looking for emergency medical personnel to oversee the matches, if that tells you anything. 581 W. Sixth (D)

Cricket Press Studio+Gallery  Brian and Sara Turner are the dynamic duo behind the West Sixth can designs and those groovy gig and event posters you’ll see around town. Catch up with them at the weekly Bread Box Farmers Market to snag some amazing art prints or check out their facebook page for their next open studio. They also do laser etching and custom work. 501 W. Sixth St. Suite 185 (S)

Bread Box Farmers Market  Get your local goodness every Wednesday May through August from 5-7:30! At the Bread Box Building 501 W. Sixth St. (S)

North Lime

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Lexington Art League is vital to the Lexington arts community. Don’t wait until the Gallery Hop to view some engaging art. The Lexington Art League brings the work of regional, national, and international artists to Lexington through the Artist Residency Program. The LAL also has a vibrant education program including classes for youth and teens. Their Community Supported Art (CSA) is “at the forefront of national trends to promote grass-roots art buying and collecting and was recently featured in the New York Times.”   Join the CSA by buying a share and reaping this season’s crop of art. 209 Castlewood Dr. (D)

Kentucky for Kentucky  Shop all things “Kick Ass Kentuckian” including Clucking Awesome dress socks and Kentucky Rocks! ice trays. We’re particularly partial to the new Watch Me Sip, Watch Them Neigh, Neigh tees. 720 Bryan Ave. (S)

The Parachute Factory is a non-profit multi-use space aimed at “promoting artistic endeavors and community engagement.” Join them on the Northside for art installations of all types, pop-up rock shows, poetry readings, and more. 720 Bryan Ave. (D)

Noli Night Market  On the corner of Limestone and Loudon, look for a neighborly ruckus going on the first Friday of every month May through December. This groovy pop-up street festival features inventive goods by local vendors, handmade art, tasty food trucks and beer, naturally. Bring cash. 804 N. Limestone (D)

Broomwagon Coffee+Bikes  Why isn’t there a cool place to hang while getting your bike serviced in Lexington–oh wait, there is. The folks at Broomwagon have supplied many reasons to venture out, whether or not you have an issue with your ride: Monday night Old Time Jam, Team Trivia Fridays, comedy open mics, a beer garden, plus a mighty little cafe that serves lunch, coffee, milkshakes, smoothies, local craft beer, and more! They know their way around a bike, too. Pick up some new gear or maybe even the bike of your dreams. 800 N. Limestone (S)

The Red Light Kitchen & Lounge  For the legions of bereft A La Lucie devotees, take heart. Red Light will lift your spirits with its familiar Southern cuisine, eclectic decor, and fun cocktails. From the Lamb Shank served atop Weisenberger grits to the Red Light Burger crowned with a fried green tomato, bacon and spicy mayo, Red Light is comfort food you’ll want to stop for. 780 N. Limestone (E)

Minton’s at 760  If you don’t feel like chasing down their food truck, whisk over to the corner of Luigart Street and Limestone for lunch or brunch. Minton’s is open Tuesday through Saturday 11-3 serving the kicked up Southern dishes you adore. The Little Brother, Brunch on a Bun (you know bacon jam is our kryptonite)–it is all so good, Southern Living is including Minton’s at 760 in their newest cookbook. Call to order one of their amazing cakes for your next fete; it is certain Nick’s Birthday Cake made with banana cake and caramel sauce or the Mascarpone Cheesecake topped with amaretto soaked pecans will clench your party-hero status. 760 N. Limestone (E)

The Stitchery  This is not Granny’s embroidery shop. That is unless your Grams is super edgy. The Stitchery specializes in machine-embroidered patches and hoop art. Let your rebel side show with a  Biggie, Frida, or “Free the Nipple” patch. Ask them about custom embroidery as well. Think of it as tattoos for your clothes. 754 N. Limestone inside Charmed Life Tattoo (S)

Wild Fig Books & Coffee   We get it. You need a place to camp that has an excellent selection of books, a good cup of coffee, and on occasion, some sustenance to fuel that big brain of yours. Wild Fig gets you too. Besides that tempting case of pastries, they serve lunch. 726 N. Limestone (S)

Al’s Bar and Beer Garden  Kentucky has its fair share of dive bars, and Lexington is no exception. While  Al’s might merit the “dive” label, it is far more. Consider it more of a Limestone street institution. “Local burgers highlight a diverse menu along with a large bourbon selection, draft beer, and a neighborhood personality.”  While you’re vacillating between the Bison Burger with chipotle bourbon mayo and the Willie’s Bluegrass Burger crowned with beer cheese, bacon, onion rings and bbq sauce, you can enjoy live music most nights. Don’t miss the Cult Film Series on the first Wednesday of every month–free. Al’s Bar also hosts the Holler Poet Series on last Wednesdays to nourish your literary yearnings. 601 N. Limestone (E)

North Lime Coffee and Donuts serves Nate’s coffee all the ways you like it, including specialty drinks like Cortados and Espresso Con Panna (two shots of espresso layered with homemade whipped cream).  While life might be unpredictable, you can depend on North Lime’s Plain Glazed,Chocolate Iced, Cinnamon & Sugar, Cinnamonkey, and Funnel Cake donuts to be there for you day in and day out. Check their twitter @northlimelex to see what kooky flavors of the day they’re serving (like Dublin Stout, Bourbon Caramel, or Key Lime Long Johns). 575 N. Limestone St. (E)

Arcadium  With twenty taps of craft beer and a cozy Edison bulb-lit full bar, Arcadium is a must.  Did we mention games–all the old-school arcade games you need to fuel those high score dreams. If you’re lucky your land on a Tuk Tuk Sri Lanken Bites night!  574 N. Limestone St. (E)

Homegrown Press is John Lackey’s studio and gallery. If you pop in sometime after lunch, you might find him in the studio. We love his linoleum block prints. 569 N. Limestone St. (S)

Rock House Brewing  Still somewhat under the radar, the tasting room of this fledgling microbrewer is indeed in a stone house. The fireplace is lovely in colder months, but it’s the beer that is the real draw. Try their crowd-pleasing Roadie American Pale Ale. RHB hosts open mic nights, trivia and a regular line-up of appealing food trucks.119 Luigart Court (E)

Gratz Park

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Morlan Gallery Transylvania University is located in the Mitchell Fine Art Center on campus. It features contemporary art that “represents Western and non-Western viewpoints, gives voice to the marginalized, and encourages experimental installation, performance, and digital artworks.” The gallery is open daily (during the exhibition season from May-September) from noon-5 p.m. 300 N. Broadway (D)

Wander through the idyllic Gratz Park gazing at the 19th Century townhouses, or cop a squat near the Fountain of Youth bronze sculpture. It couldn’t hurt, right? (D)

Doodles Breakfast & Lunch serves local and organic food–“comfort food with a conscience.”  The beignets are where it’s at. We can’t get enough of the hearty Oatmeal Brulee either, Weisenberger Mill steel cut oats topped with a crackling raw sugar shell. Or, if we need something savory, Tara’s Tasty Hash squares us away for the morning. Don’t be afraid of the crowds, just take our advice and have a cup of joe first (to stave off the “hangry”). 262 N. Limestone (E)

Third Street Stuff and Coffee  Artist Pat Gerhard’s exuberant Third Street Stuff has been a neighborhood staple for more than a decade. Pick up a gift, grab a bite to eat, or a Frozen Monkey mocha to liven up your afternoon. Their coffee has been voted Best in Lexington numerous times by Ace Weekly, and last year was named best coffee shop in the state by Business Insider. We don’t know if it is Gerhard’s funky, folky art energizing her patrons or the Dirty Chai Lattes. Either way, you’re likely to leave with a little more pep in your step. Happy hour comes everyday from 5-7 p.m. when you can get your coffee or tea for half off. 257 N. Limestone (E)

Beloved Lexington Pasta gurus Reinaldo and Lesme second venture, Pasta Garage Italian Cafe, supplies plenty of fresh pasta perfect for stocking your fridge or dinner table. Nobody needs to know. 227 N. Limestone (E)

Sorella  Don’t bother resisting these sisters’ small-batch Italian gelato and sorbetto. Rasberry Chocolate Chip, Biscoff, Whipped Cream, Espresso and more–with so many luscious flavors to try, one needs to be methodical. Best to go every day. 219 N. Limestone (E)

Mulberry & Lime  We adore ambling through the historic 1813 Colonial and all the goodies owner Mary  Ginocchio has assembled there. Mulberry & Lime features lovely gifts, furnishings, and home accents. Pine Cone Hill bedding, Dash and Albert rugs, and Bowron New Zealand lambskin, linens, tabletop, and all manner of beautiful accoutrements to feather your nest. 216 N. Limestone (S)

Paper on Stone  Whether you’re feeling cheeky or coy, Paper on Stone has the card that just gets you, plus custom invitations, unique stationary, elegant wrapping paper and more. Write more, text less. 215 N. Limestone (S)

Lexington Beerworks has twelve rotating taps of your favorite craft brews to fill your growler, over 100  microbrews by the bottle or can, and a fully-stocked homebrew shop. Cocktails and wine is also available. If you’re peckish, they serve apps and artisan pizzas. Or just skip to dessert and order the Chocolate Milk Stout Beer Float. The best seat in the house is on the back deck with a view to the skyline at dusk. 213 N. Limestone (S)

Le Deauville  Their Borducan (orange liquor) cocktail is the exilir of the gods. We like to visit this quaint French bistro while the sun is still streaming in onto the crisp white tablecloths. During the week, appetizers are half price from 5:00-6:30; it’s an opportune time to sample the excellent Pate Maison or delicate Beef Carpaccio. Monday nights are all-you-can-eat sweet or savory crepes, and Tuesdays we suggest you make a standing date with Mussels night. 199 N. Limestone (E)

Institute 193 “collaborates with artists, musicians, and writers to produce exhibitions, publications, and projects that document the cultural landscape of the modern South.” Check it out. 193 N. Limestone (D)

Distilled at Gratz Park Inn is an elegant restaurant and bourbon bar located in Gratz Park Inn. Whether you’re trying to impress an in-law, get on the right side of your boss, or romance a significant other, Distilled’s artful plates of farm-to-table food are sure to please. Besides if things aren’t going well, the spirits list is extensive. If you are there for brunch, be sure someone at your table orders the Fried Chicken Biscuit. 120 W. 2nd St. (E)

Downtown/West Short Design District

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

ONA Bar  Just shy of their first birthday, ONA made Esquire’s Best Bars in America list. The younger sibling of County Club, ONA has the same exquisite attention to detail. Expect masterful cocktails in this sexy sidestreet bar. The cheeky drink names are almost as appealing as the libations. Almost. Don’t worry about hustling down in time for happy hour either. ONA specials are “happy days” like $5 Negronis on Thursdays until close. 108 Church St. (E)

Lussi Brown Coffee   Bringing to Lex the harmonious marriage of excellent coffee and craft cocktails, Lussi Brown is coffee shop by day and “Nightcap Coffee Bar” by night. Proudly championing KY products from loose leaf MonTea to Hosey’s Kentucky Honey, Lussi Brown sources locally whenever possible including those incredible pastries waiting for you on the counter. They’ve got house-made cold brew on tap and Nitro when the temps climb. Their ever changing seasonal cocktail list is even fodder for a little friendly competition. Check out the bracket on Fridays and vote for your favorite. With creations like RumChata Undertow, Real Espresso Martini, Cthulu, Earl Grey Mojito and more, Lussi Brown is slaying it. 114 Church St. (E)

Sidebar Grill is the place to hang like a local. If you’re looking to score some lunch, you might have to arm wrestle a few suits eating burgers or daydrinkers. But it’s worth it. Velvet Johnny Cash will keep you company. Sidebar has friendly folks, good grub, and zero pretense. 147 N. Limestone (E)

Oscar Diggs is the lovechild of legendary food truck Gastro Gnomes and Quillin’s popular Rooster Brewing in Paris. We didn’t need much convincing to believe this place would be golden, but naming it after the great and powerful Oz put us right over the top. Nice to know that you won’t have to scout out the truck for one of their choice burgers. Kill two birds with one stone and order The Thorogood–one burger, one shot, and one beer. Try Oscar Diggs exclusive Saison, Rooster Brewing Basic. 155 N. Limestone (E)

Minglewood is a excellent place to kick-off your weekend with Friday Happy Hour featuring half-price cocktails. Or breakup your work week with Besties and Burgers on Wednesdays–buy one burger, and get one 1/2 price for your buddy. Order the smoked cheddar and parmesan pimento cheese and stay for the music. 159 N. Limestone (E)

Corto Lima  Jonathan Lundy, James Beard Award Semi-Finalist for best Chef in the Southeast, brings his midas touch to Latin-inspired cuisine downtown. This place should absolutely be on your short list. Whether it is the Prickly Pear Margaritas, the warm light flooding in, or the downright gorgeous food, Corto Lima will transport you to your happy place. 101 W. Short St. (E)

West Sixth Greenroom is bringing your favorite brews downtown for your swigging pleasure, plus some soon-to-be superstars like their new small batch Key Lime Pie P.A. Huzzah! 109 W. Main St. (E)

West Main Crafting Company  It should come as no surprise that we are big fans of a well-made cocktail. West Main as far exceeded that mark serving “authentic farm-to-shaker cocktails with house made sodas, syrups, tonics, and bitters” as well as the perfect bites to accompany them. We are big fans of the Bao Buns nestled in dim sum baskets and the Shishito Peppers with grilled lemon. If you’re looking for heartier fare, they’ve got entrees too, and of course there’s Bourbon Donut Holes with pear butter and candied orange to slake your sweet tooth. When perusing their glossy libations menu, don’t overlook The Lost Ingredients Cocktails like The Sea Monster, a spiced rum creation that will have you pining for more winter.  Watch their social media for new cocktail pairing dinners with local chefs. 135 W. Main St. (E)

The Lockbox in 21C Hotel  Stroll through the contemporary art in the lobby before cocktails, dinner, or brunch. Lunch, after-dinner drinks, 9am…heck, anytime is a good time to eat at Lockbox. The Crispy Octopus with olives, white beans and house-fermented hot sauce is a revelation. It’s hard to share their Pepper Jam, Pimento Cheese, and Chicken Liver Mousse (In Jars appetizer), but we’ll try. Drop in for their fish sandwich, and you’ll be craving it the next day around noon.167 W. Main St. (E)

The Clock Shop  That traditional German Cuckoo clock you’ve secretly always wanted is inside, along with a mind bending array of magician’s supplies. Yes, if ever there was a moment to set your inner child free, this is it. 154 W. Short St. (S)

School Sushi  Duck in for a satifsying Bento tray at lunchtime. 163 W. Short St. (E)

Parlay Social  The best time to visit Parlay Social is when the bands are heating up the stage. Live music (Rock, Soul, Funk, Retro, Country, or Blues) begins most nights by 9:30. When you need a little nosh, their thin crust specialty pizzas or the plentiful meat and cheese boards make perfect accompaniments to the night’s libations. Bourbon flights are available. Or if tonight’s really your night, Parlay Social has bottles of the elusive Pappy Van Winkle, aged from 12-25 years. Join Parlay Social on Tannic Tuesdays for weekly wine bottle specials. 257 W. Short (E)

Dudley’s on Short  This elegant eatery on Short has garnered many fans in the last 34 years. Whichever  entree you choose, follow it in the good ole Southern tradition with Pawpaw Pie. While Dudley’s fabulous rooftop patio seems somehow to have escaped popular notice, it is a quintessential Lexington experience. 259 W. Short St. (E)

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Daily Offerings Coffee Roasters wants you to discover coffee again. We’re down for it. Plenty of natural light, high ceilings, and the relaxing vibe at Daily Offerings will make you feel like you’ve found a heavenly oasis downtown. Get adventurous and try the offerings off their Discover Bar menu like Cold Brew Lemonade or the Blood Orange and Basil Coffee Soda. Make it a point to attend one of their monthly cuppings and have a ball getting smarter about what goes in your cup. 529 W. Main St. (E)

The Village Idiot  While their Idiot Burger topped with Tillamook cheddar, fried onion ring, and pulled pork gets a lot of play, this gastropub serves a mighty tasty Korean Fried Chicken Biscuit. We don’t even need to know what gochujang sauce is–we’re on board. However, we are curious to know who decided to throw candied jalapenos on the infamous Duck & Waffles because that was a baller move. The Village Idiot has twenty rotating taps of craft beer, a solid selection of microbrews and wine, plus a number of creative house cocktails. 307 W. Short St. (E)

Belle’s Cocktail House is owned in part by the gentlemen of The Bourbon Review, so you can expect a healthy selection of Kentucky’s spirit of choice. Belle’s also features craft beers, wine, and as the name suggests, house cocktails named after famous Lexingtonians. We suggest you head upstairs to enjoy your libation amongst the bricks, taxidermy, and tufted leather. 156 Market St. (E)

Circa Home  This well-appointed small showroom has furnishings and accessories that are both refined and on trend. Visit Circa Home when you’re strolling Short St. and pick up something beautiful to enliven your space.  Kimbrel Birkman offers design services out of this downtown spot. 351 W. Short St. (S)

Lexington Opera House  Go see something–anything–at the Lexington Opera House. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this 1887 jewel should be seen and enjoyed. See their event calendar here. 401 W. Short St. (D)

Fable + Flame  James Snowden’s impeccably curated lifestyle and home design boutique has found a new home downtown.  Fable + Flame, has garnered the attention of the New York Times and Victoria Magazine. You’ll want to stop in frequently to soak in Snowden’s impeccable design aesthetic. 157 N. Broadway (S)

Clawdaddy’s  Oh my! Lobster, Jonah crab and shrimp directly from Maine heaped high on a freshly-baked brioche roll. Heaven. Don’t forget a slice of Danielle’s blueberry pie. We can’t resist bundling up a Whoopie pie for later. 128 N. Broadway St. (E)

Vinaigrette Salad Kitchen  You’ll be craving these salads in no time. Honestly. The Meyer Lemon & Rosemary, Blackberry Ginger and Fresh Basil Lemonades (to name a few) are just as addicting…in a good way. 113 N. Broadway or 1781 Sharkey Way #110 (E)

While the fountain in Triangle Park is lovely, the area is even more magical in the winter months when you can ice-skate in the middle of the city. We’ll be watching for you to land that next triple axel. (D)

Cheapside Park Pavillion  Farmer’s Market are in full swing on Saturdays 7-2, or in winter from 8-1 p.m.

Skybar is your sushi lounge in the sky. Go for the great views of downtown and enjoy a “Makin’ Whoopie” moment (Michelle Pfeiffer as piano-slithering lounge singer in The Fabulous Baker Boys movie–look it up). 269 W. Main #900 (E)

Lexington Diner  Chef Ranada Riley offers the diner experience downtown. Angus beef burgers, house-made fries and kettle chips, boss Overstuffed Omelets, and decadent French Toast options keep ’em coming back for more. 124 N. Upper St. (E)

South Broadway/UK/Historic South Hill

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Country Boy Brewing  Jalapeno Smoked Porter, Cougar Bait Blonde, Ghost Gose–how we love you! Country Boy brews with the freshest ingredients they can find and minimal processing. Those “Country Boys” know how to do it right with a nice patio, relaxed taproom, and friendly folk serving great beer. On special release days, like for the Barreled Black Gold Porter aged in Kentucky rum barrels, expect a line. 436 Chair Ave. (E)

DV8 Kitchen Their Huevos Rancheros on a biscuit or brioche will power your morning up right. 867 S. Broadway (E)

Tolly Ho  Open 24 hours a day for you to get your Ho-burgers; and no, we are not making that up. 606 S. Broadway (E)

Ello’s on Broadway  We’re salivating like Pavlov’s dog just thinking about Ello’s tacos. Order the famed Ribeye Steak taco, or the equally tasty tamales, or bulging burritos. So good. Look for Ello’s Taco Cart around town. 406 S. Broadway (E)

Lexington Farmers Market Tuesdays and Thursdays 7-4 p.m. May through November S. Broadway and Maxwell (S)

Want to find your favorite food truck around Lexington? Follow That Food Truck is a new app with a real time map.

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Pedal Power was recently named one of America’s Best Bike Shops. Pedal Power has everything you need to prepare for your commute or recreational ride–in-store clinics, thorough fitting services, and accessories to outfit your wheels right. They have a great selection of bikes in every category and a knowledgeable staff to help you build to the next level. From racing gear to children’s bikes, they’ve got it. Pedal Power initiated the non-profit Shifting Gears which donates bikes to refugees new to the area. They also sponsor the yearly Bike Lexington event. 401 S. Upper St. (S)

CD Central is smack dab in the middle of UK territory, which is a good thing in terms of longevity. They “specialize in indie rock, alternative, R&B, metal, country, jazz, blues, bluegrass, and musical alternatives of all kinds. CD Central has an extensive selection of new, used and collectible LPs and carries turntables and accessories to help you get the most out of your vinyl collection.” Go out and support your local music store. 377 S. Limestone (S)

Han Woo Ri  is a small Korean food joint that packs a whallop of flavor. Get your Beef Bulogi fix here. The  Dol Sot Bi Bim Bop, a traditional meal of rice and veggies topped with an egg and crunchy strips of fried seaweed, is a good call…and the dumplings. One must always order dumplings when given the chance. 371 S. Limestone (E)

Sqecial Media has been supplying Lexington with books, gifts and oddities since 1972. We love their arthouse and special interest mags. Plus they’ve got some pretty sweet t-shirts to flaunt your literary prowess. 371 S. Limestone (S)

For tasty and satisfying West African fare, try Sav’s Grill. 304 S. Limestone (E)

Sav’s Chill serves luscious, local gourmet ice cream, gelato and sorbet starting at noon daily. 289 S. Limestone (E)

Soundbar is for dancing ’til you can’t dance, dance, dance no mo’. 208 S. Limestone (D)

East Main/Martin Luther King

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Kentucky Theatre  When UK Wildcats are playing, Kentucky Theatre broadcasts the games on the big screen.  Otherwise, you can catch an arthouse film, a smart documentary, a concert, or a midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show. Good times. 214 E. Main St. (D)

Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center   Make plans to spend an evening in the DAC’s Black Box Theatre which features a wide array of cultural happenings including productions from the area’s newest professional theatre group, AthensWest. 141 E. Main St. (D)

Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center  The beloved Lyric Theatre has a storied past including epic performances by Count Basie, B.B. King and Ray Charles. Today the venue hosts an in-house art gallery, lectures, community events, The Troubadour Concert Series, programs for youth, and free movies during the Lyric Picture Show each summer.  In addition, every Monday, Lyric Theatre is home to the live broadcast of Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour. Support the Lyric and keep this iconic theatre alive. 300 E. Third St. (D)

A Cup of Commonwealth  We regard genuine warmth as a hot commodity, and A Cup of Commonwealth has it in spades. Friendly baristas, great coffee, and a real sense of community pervades this little corner of the Eastern Ave. Naturally, we adored the pay-it-forward coffee wall here. Pour-overs, steamers, cold brew–they’ve got it (and more). Go in, get caffeinated, and do your brother a solid. 105 Eastern Ave. (E)


D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Pivot Brewing plays well with others. Cider fans will be in heaven choosing from Pivot’s impressive lineup of hard ciders including four of their own. In addition, there’s a fine selection of locally-brewed craft beer for that friend who just can’t get on board the cider train. June through October bust a move over on Sundays for Market Days between 11-4: food trucks, local makers’ goods, beer, cider, and farm fresh veggies. Drop by midweek for Wednesdays on Wax because everything sounds better on vinyl.1400 Delaware Ave. (E)

Spalding’s Bakery accepts cash only for your little bundles of glazed joy. 760 Winchester Rd. (E)

Worn & Company  A good menswear shop is hard to find. Worn & Company is one of our all time faves: housemade leather goods, vintage hats, cool menswear with a casual vibe, stylish durable goods and premium denim. We can’t stop drooling over their perfectly worn vintage furniture and rugs either. Give yourself some time. There’s plenty to browse here from cheeky patches to great looking messenger bags.  901 Winchester Rd. (S)

Locals Craft Food & Drink is one of the best spots in town to enjoy a beverage on the roof. 701 National Ave. (E)

Cosmic Charlie’s is a rock music venue. This is the kind of place you’ll be referencing in twenty years,”I saw them at Cosmic before everybody else knew about ’em.” 723 National Ave. (D)

Mirror Twin Brewing  Solid brews, Rolling Oven pizza, and a relaxed, dog-friendly atmosphere have made Mirror Twin an instant neighborhood hit. Try their Whoops, I Tarted Gose or Citranomical IPA.They’ve got ample guest taps too, plus live music Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 725 National Ave. (E)

Market on National  When you are in need of a little affordable design inspo, head to Market on National. They know how to pull together a room, combining a modern sensibility with earthy elements for warmth.  Their well-chosen furniture, rugs, lighting and accessories will give your space the refresh it needs. 730 National Ave. (S)

Blue Door Smokehouse  Best. Brisket. Ever. 226 Walton Ave. (E)

The Breakout Games  It’s Sherlock Holmes meets The Amazing Race as The Breakout Games offers Lexington an entirely new group game experience. You and your team have exactly one hour to complete your mission and “breakout” of a carefully-designed caper room. Select from four scenarios which will require your wits, moxie, and teamwork:  The Kidnapping; The Derby Heist; The Island Escape; or Casino Royale. 306 N. Ashland Ave. (D)

Scout Antique and Modern  You’ll find a wide range of antiques from an Italian gilt pendant lamp to a Mid-Century Modern writing desk. This is a great place to scout for re-purposed industrial items as well. 935 Liberty Rd. (S)

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Cowgirl Attic Reclaimed Urban Artifacts  Architectural salvage, quirky yard art, clawfoot tubs, and antique signage are just a few of the treasures you’ll find in this massive repository of odds and ends. Come armed with your patience and a visionary eye. 1535 Delaware Ave. (S)

Coles 735  Set aside any qualms you might have about the traditional setting, Coles 735’s flavor profiles just might surprise you. While this upscale eatery serves the elegant Filet Mignon you might be expecting, they also offer a delicately-spiced Moroccan Butternut Squash Stew with pesto and toasted almonds. If you’d rather nibble on something a bit more casual, Coles has a terrific Bar Bites menu including Weisenberger Grit Fries, Crispy Pork Belly Tacos, and Big Eye Tuna Sashimi.  735 E. Main St. (E)

Woodland Triangle

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Common Grounds Coffee House roasts its own coffee weekly. If you thought beer aged in bourbon barrels was pretty nifty, you’ll be stoked about Common Grounds’ newest collaboration with Willett Distillery–bourbon barrel coffee. You can grab lunch or a breakfast sandwich along with your favorite brew. We are partial to the High St. location with its maze of rooms and cozy nooks to work in, but you’ll find multiple Common Grounds spreading the coffee gospel around Lexington. 343 E. High St. (E)

The Weekly Juicery  Go pure this week! Check out The Weekly Juicery’s raw, cold-pressed juices and superfood smoothies. They offer twice-weekly delivery to your home or office and can assist you with a guided detox anytime. 436 Old Vine St. (E)

Chocolate Holler is Lex’s only chocolate and coffee bar brought to you by the fine folks of A Cup of Common Wealth. Order a flight of sipping chocolate or choose from eight, yes, eight different hot chocolate styles to whet your whistle. Of course they’ve got cold brew and the usual lineup of excellent coffee drinks too, plus bar chocolate and sinful baked goods. Join them for trivia on Mondays, and don’t pass up the Bourbon Chocolate ice cream for your affogato! 400 Old Vine St. Suite 104 (E)

Shop Local Kentucky is your first stop for tailgating apparel or just all-around Bluegrass love. They’ve got trucker caps for days. Plus, who can pass up a Pizzatucky tee? 212 Woodland Ave. (S)

Black Swan Books is the place to go for rare or antique books. You’ll find a large representation of state and military history books, as well as a unique collection of Wendell Berry works. 505 E. Maxwell St. (S)

Fox House Vintage  This killer boutique on 6th carries men’s and women’s vintage apparel. Every week get sick style at a bargain on Tiiiight Tuesday. Fox House carries Shine jewelry and accessories. Swing by on Saturdays and scout to your heart’s content with a mimosa in hand. The best. 512 E. High St. (S)

The Black Market Boutique  Put this adorable “vintage style boutique” in heavy rotation. Seychelles wedge heels, fetching dresses, Esley tanks, and retro print tees to give your wardrobe a punch of sass. Be sure to check out the jewelry case to score some baubles and bangles by local artisans. The Black Market carries a sweet collection of gifts and accessories too. 516 E. High St. (S)

Best Friend Bar  BFB is a dive bar. It is a music venue. It is the home of girlsgirlsgirls burritos. We rest our case. Visit soon. Visit often. 500 E. Euclid Ave. (E)

Food Truck Watch:   Tin Can coffee; Bradford BBQ; J Renders BBQ; Lyles BBQ; Little Brother by Minton’s; Fork in the Road; Thai and Mighty; Ellos; El Habenero Loko; Waffle E Good; Rico’s empanadas; hogfather’s barbecue; Whoo Wants waffles

Chevy Chase/Ashland Park

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

World’s Apart  This eclectic Chevy Chase boutique is a prime place to shop for gifts. Their Voluspa candles, hand-hooked Kentucky pillows, fun trinkets for kids and decorative home goods are sure to please. 850 E. High St. (S)

High Street Fly knows the best way to sport some local pride. Say it on a soft-comfy tee. Bourbon State, Ale-8, West Sixth Brewing, and more emblazoned across your chest lets your friends know you’re a baller.  887 E. High St. (S)

Tribeca Trunk  When you see the ghostly painted trunk out front, you’ve reached one of our favorite spots in Lex. While Tribeca functions as a boutique, it is also a trunk fashion show and art venue featuring “unique contemporary works by acclaimed designers and artists.” We took an immediate shine to their boss rings. 116 Old Lafayette Ave. (S)

Omar + Elsie  This fetching women’s fashion boutique has just the right quotient of elegance and sass. Omar + Elsie has those strappy sandals, leather booties, and designer flats to set off your look, too. 114 Old Lafayette Ave. (S)

Peplum  Step out confidently on-trend after nabbing a few new looks from Peplum, a nice addition to the Chevy Chase shopping district. Score some flirty accessories too, like fun tassel earrings or that boho statement necklace you’ve been hunting. 824 Euclid Ave. #103 (S)

Morton James  This airy and sophisticated Chevy Chase boutique carries the kind of pieces that not only last, but have the touch of urban flair that lends a bit of “bad-ass” tude to your wardrobe. Morton James carries both men’s and women’s clothing and accessories. 836 Euclid Ave. (S)

Bourbon n’ Toulousse serves heaping portions of spicy Cajun stews over rice on the cheap. Enjoy a local craft brew and sample one of the dozens of hot sauces on your Creole dish. 829 Euclid Ave. (E)

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

The Beer Trappe rated a “world class” ranking on Beer Advocate. They’re stocked with over 500 specialty beers on the shelves, with hundreds chilled and ready for you to enjoy at your leisure. Go to a Beer School session held by a National BJCP judge and certified Cicerone. It’s only ten bucks. The Beer Trappe features eight rotating taps of interesting craft brews should you decide to sit a spell. 811 Euclid Ave. (S)

Athenian Grill  Oh, we’d travel a long way for a top-notch gyro. Thankfully, you Lexingtonians don’t need to. We’re even excited about the Avgolemono soup, and Athenian Grill’s traditional Greek dips like Taramosalata, and Htipiti served with warm pita. Save yourself the trouble of deciding between them, just order the Meze Platter to sample four. 313 S. Ashland Ave. (E)

Brier Books  Be sure to spend some time at Brier Books. Don’t be shy about striking up a conversation because all the stories aren’t in books (though they could recommend a good one). 319 S. Ashland Ave. (S)

The Sage Rabbit  When you think of a great neighborhood spot, you want low-key and local. The Sage Rabbit is both. Specializing in farm-sourced fare served in a friendly, off the beaten-path eatery, consider bringing your furry pal next time and sit on their roomy patio. They’ve got wholesome selections (including vegan) for when you’re feeling virtuous. When you’ve got a hankering to indulge, try the Pan-Fried Oysters with rosy red cocktail sauce and their version of a smore–Pot de Creme with salted caramel, toasted marshmallow and a housemade graham cracker. 438 S. Ashland Ave. (E)

Adelé offers “interior design & stylish finds for the home, gift, baby, and you.” Drop by for a little aesthetic therapy and breathe in all the pretty. 805 Chevy Chase Place.(S)

Josie’s Restaurant  Lexington loves to spend its mornings in Josie’s. When in doubt, the cheese grit casserole–always. If you’re not in the mood for breakfast fare, try the Grouper Fingers. 821 Chevy Chase Place (E)

The Bridge Eatery & Bar is the place to go for Mediterranean fare. Order the Lahmacun, Turkish pizzas, or Adana’s kebabs. The Bridge is also dishing up their crowd-pleasing garlic knots and N.Y. style pizza. 342 Romany Rd. (E)


D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Gumbo Ya Ya  Craving some Creole? Gumbo Ya Ya is serving heaping portions of Maque Choux, E’touffee, Gumbo and more delish dishes. Make it your go-to for a fast and tasty cajun fix. 1080 S. Broadway Suite 107 (E)

Scheller’s Fitness and Cycling  Lexington is fortunate to have two bike shops named in America’s Best Bike Shops this past year. Scheller’s was one.That clearly speaks to the health of the cycling community in Lex. Scheller’s is helping to sponsor this year’s Tour De Lou bike race held as part of the Kentucky Derby Festival. Though it started as a family-owned bike shop, Scheller’s began carrying fitness equipment in the eighties. They are also a full-service bike shop with a terrific inventory of bikes, parts, and accessories. Scheller’s sponsors a racing team and holds free clinics on riding and maintenance. Check out the Scheller University tab on their website for a plethora of cycling related info. including buying, training, and advocacy issues. 1987 Harroldsburg Rd. (S)

Dad’s Favorites is a deli which features Dad’s own incredible cheese spreads on its sandwiches. If you’ve never been, and even if you have, a “tasting” is essential. You’ll hear all about Dad’s cheese spreads and be further flummoxed about which to take home (because they are all that good). As for your lunch, should the Asiago Pot Roast sandwich miraculously still be available, order that. Dad recommends the Friday special too, Mac & Cheese smothered in Dad’s Stampin’ Ground Cheddar (beer cheese made with Country Boy’s Stout Porter) along with their Dry Rubbed BBQ topped with Chipotle Cheddar and a side of Honey Lime Coleslaw. 820 Lane Allen Rd. (E)

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Brasabana Cuban Cuisine  Have you tried Brunchabana? We’ll eat Brasabana’s amazing Cuban food anytime of the day, but we’re developing a soft spot for their festive brunch. Mojo chicken over a Monterey Jack biscuit topped with perfectly poached egg, crispy bacon, and cilantro achiote gravy– say hello to the Brasabana Benedict.  841 Lane Allen Rd. (E)

Tortilleria Y Taqueria Ramirez  We’ve read numerous accounts swearing by Nate Silver’s Burrito Bracket (made famous on his FiveThirtyEight blog). Nate and his team rigorously evaluated 67,391 burrito joints around the country to hail the best burrito in America. Tortilleria Y Taqueria’s Carne Asada wound up number three. We kid you not. The Al Pastor and the Carnitas tacos are worthy contenders too. 1425 Alexandria Dr. (E)

Willie’s Locally Known  Music and barbecue is a time tested combo. Willie’s knows how to do both exceptionally well. If you haven’t been to their Southland spot, it’s been far too long. Join them for Brunch in the Bluegrass or just any weekday for Burnt Ends, Bacon Flights, or their delectable smoked chicken wings. The Signature Blackberry Habanero is the way to go here. Check out their music lineup online. 286 Southland Dr. (D)

Marikka’s Restaurant and Bier Stube  Lexington’s only authentic German restaurant definitely has a sports bar vibe, and it’s not just the wall of German beers we’re talking about. They even have their own volleyball league with courts in the back. But even if we have to duck a few elbows on our way, we’ll do what is necessary to get Marikka’s Mettwurst Dinner with sauerkraut, Spatzle, or Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes with applesauce). 411 Southland Dr. (E)

Good Foods Market and Cafe  They say you shouldn’t shop hungry. So grab The Big Italian sandwich from their deli or maybe a slice of pie from the case. The Hot Bar is epic for brunch. Give it a go. 455 Southland Dr. (E)

Cherry Seed Coffee Roastery  Sustainably-sourced coffee expertly roasted in-house and served in a fetching coffee house. Switch it up every now and again with their local MonTea Chai or Cherry Seed’s Nitro Cold Brew, and don’t forget to bring home a bag of their specialty single origins or proprietary blends. 472 Southland Dr. (E)

Ramsey’s Diner is beloved for its good ole Southern cooking.This is the kind of place you can order Chicken Livers or Pan-Fried Blackened Catfish with your Pinto Beans and Stewed Tomatoes.Their Cold Meatloaf Sandwich might give you flashbacks of late-night fridge raids in your footy pajamas. Just be sure to save room for Missy’s Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie. 151 W. Zandale Dr.; multiple locations (E)

El Rancho Tapatio Restaurant features a live Mariachi band on Fridays, a long list of authentic Mexican dishes, and Margarita Monday specials. Go for the Flan…nom nom nom. 144 Burt Rd. (E)

Old San Juan Cuban Cuisine  We can’t get enough of Old San Juan’s plantains. We’ve never been know to turn down their Empanadas, either. Stop in for a pressed sandwich, or the Ropa Vieja with a side of black beans and rice. 247 Surfside Dr. (E)

J & H Lanmark Store carries all the necessities for outdoor fun including camping supplies and sports equipment to get you climbing, backpacking, paddling, and adventure seeking. 189 Moore Dr. (S)

Joseph Beth Booksellers The scale of this massive book emporium and community space might be a little shocking at first (think anchor department store). They have a first rate in-store restaurant, Bronte Bistro, which serves fresh and flavorful fare to fuel your book search. With frequent appearances by acclaimed authors and lecturers as well as Kid’s Storytime programs, Joseph Beth has solidified its status as local treasure. 161 Lexington Green Circle Suite B1 (S)

Farm Market  It may look like a garden shop from the outside, but inside are the best tamales in the state!  1079 E. New Circle Rd. (E)

Bella Notte  Relax with some beautiful pasta dishes, wood-grilled meats or seafood and a fine glass of wine. Bella Notte has a nice cocktail menu too, for those times you want to take it up a notch. 3715 Nicholasville Rd. (E)

Metropolitan Donuts and Coffee is serving up small batch mini-donuts with a plethora of toppings. For those like us who are decision-impaired before coffee, Met has house specialties like Strawberry Cheesecake with graham cracker crumble and cream cheese drizzle or the Samoa, to bridge your cravings before your Girl Scout order arrives. Open until high noon. Closed Monday and Tuesday. 3070 Lakecrest Circle Suite 600 (E)

Outside New Circle

D=Do; E=Eat/Drink; S=Shop

Bluegrass Baking Company  Owner and Baker Jim Betts has said, “Bread is life well-lived.”  We’re with you, Jim!  Particularly when he’s serving up loaves like Bohemian Beer Bread, the Urban/Herb’n Cheese Bread, Raisin Pecan Levain, and crusty French Baguettes. While you’re there, the pastries are pretty kickin’ too. Just saying. 3101 Clays Mill Rd. (E)

Crust  Don’t be afraid of a little char–you aren’t living until you’ve had pizza baked in a wood-fired oven. Oh, the Burrata of prosciutto, fig jam and crostini! The popular Stufato is a ricotta stuffed crust topped with artichokes, roasted peppers, garlic, and capers. The Dante pie is a fiendishly good pairing of arrabiata, sausage, fior di latte, garlic, parmesan, and balsamic honey. Drop in Thursdays for Wine Nights when bottles are half-price. 2573 Richmond Rd. (E)

Cooper Brothers Gourmet Meats is Lex’s premier butchery offering fresh seafood and farm raised meats. Their Japanese Waygu and Registered Black Angus come directly from Cane Ridge Cattle Company in neighboring Paris, Ky. You can also shop for other fine Kentucky products like Woodford Reserve Bourbon Cherries and Cruxial Hot Sauce. 4379 Old Harrodsburg Rd. (S)

OBC Kitchen  Bacon in a glass? Yeah, we’re down with that. Crispy Fried Oysters? Hells yeah. In fact, all OBC’s small plates are so good, we could be happy with that…until we saw that Bacon ‘N Egg salad on frissee or those Chicken and Waffles and that Cola Braised Short Rib.  Now we have a problem. 3373 Tates Creek Rd. (E)

Honeywood  Ouita Michel once again highlights all that is wonderful about living in the Bluegrass featuring locally-sourced food brought to you with down-home hospitality. Honeywood is like Ouita’s “best of” album, from the Wallace Station Chicken Salad to the Blue Monday Sunday starring the Midway Bakery brownie topped with Sorella Whipped Cream Gelato and crushed Ruth Hunt Blue Monday candy along with hot fudge, whipped cream and a cherry. The Four O’Clock is just our speed of charcuterie plate: a delightful combo of “salt-and-pepper almonds, cheese salad, Midway Bakery buttermilk biscuits with shaved Browning’s ham, mixed pickles, saltines and Lisa’s cheese wafer.” We can’t wait to dig in.110 Summit at Fritz Farm Suite 140 (E)

Meg C Jewelry Gallery  Meg C. rocks. She created the award-winning gold-plated KFC chicken bone necklace that caused a media fervor last year (spotlighted by Food & Wine). We’re kind of in love with her Wishbone necklace, too. Check out Meg C. Jewelry to snag some amazing custom pieces from Meg and other regional designers. If you’re a native, you really need her Kentucky necklace. The Summit at Fritz Farm
122 Marion, Suite 140 (S)

Draper James  Reese Witherspoon’s upscale Southern lifestyle brand has just hit Lexington. You’ll find cheery floral prints, plenty of lace and seersucker, plus charming accessories to add some grace and wit to your home. Freshen up your summer wardrobe with a breezy sweetheart dress while you sing a few bars of “I feel pretty and witty and bright…” 120 Summit at Fritz Farm, Suite 170 (S)

Windy Corners  It is just unthinkable to visit Lexington without getting out into horse country, and Windy Corners is your perfect solution. You can nosh on one of their famous Po Boys while surrounded by majestic thoroughbreds grazing over rolling green hills. Don’t be taunted by the massive Kentucky Boy–BBQ pulled pork slathered with beer cheese, fried pickles and WC special sauce. You can handle it. They make a mean Shrimp Po Boy, too. Before you go, have the fine folks pack up a few Sorghum Cookies from Midway School Bakery–sugar and spice perfection. 4595 Bryan’s Station Rd. (E)

Local Products:  Mousetrap Pimento Cheese; Ale 8 One; Cruxial Hot Sauce; Magic Beans Coffee Roasters; The Pig and the Pepper pies and quiches

Proud Mary Honky Tonk BBQ  Need a break? Head down to the river and Proud Mary. Jambalaya, red Beans and rice, beer, music…just promise to play nice in the sandpit. 9079 Old Richmond Road, exit 99 off Interstate 75


Keeneland  Go to the races; put some money down; have a good time. If you arrive early, you can see the horses led about the grounds. It’s the only way to convince your buddies that betting windfall was actually a result of your finely-honed horse assessing skills.

Crave Lexington Food + Music Festival is Lex’s favorite late summer bash. As the name implies, this is foodie paradise. Get out and see what the area’s best chefs are cooking up while getting your groove on. Find out deets about this year’s event here.

AFB Woodland Art Fair  Lexington’s favorite art festival is in its 40th year. Amble the stalls of over 200 artists in charming Woodland Park. AFB Woodland Art Fair was voted a top ten event by the Southeast Tourism Society. Learn more here.

The Bread Box Holiday Market is “a curated art market showcasing unique, handmade art & goods.”  This market showcases Bread Box studio artists as well as local and regional talent.

Tweed Ride  Social Cycling Lexington sponsors this festive Spring tradition. “Sport your finest tweedy attire and join us as we embark on a leisurely jaunt about the town on our velocipedes, randonneurs, pedersons, mixtes, bromptons, and more.” Join other upstanding citizens for a little fresh air and some great scenery. Check out Social Cycling’s facebook page here to keep current on this and other groovy cycling meet-ups like the monthly Moonlight Ride.

The Bourbon Social  When you’re famous for two things, you better get ’em right.  Kentucky is here to show you how bourbon is done. The Bourbon Social is “a celebration of Bourbon craft and culture, and the great people who share a love of America’s native spirit. Mix in a little Kentucky hospitality and the tasty foods we’re known for, and you’ve got one helluva party.”  You’ve got 11 days and a multitude of events to pay proper homage. Check out more here.

Out of Doors

Shakertown  Did you realize Shaker Village Preserve has 40 miles of trails for walking, hiking, running, cycling, and horseback riding? The trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset. Learn more here.

Red River Gorge  Don’t miss the stunning rock formations, secret waterfalls, and caves of Red River Gorge. If you love rock climbing, this is your place. Red River Gorge has ziplines, miles of trails, camping, cabin rentals and the sandstone Natural Bridge. Plan your next trip here. After your Gorge adventure, refuel at the legendary Miguels Pizza. 1890 Natural Bridge Rd. Slade, KY

Legacy Trail is “a 12-mile walking, biking, interpretative trail and public art venue.” You can pick it up at the Issac Murphy Memorial Art Garden, East 3rd St., and take it all the way to the Kentucky Horse Park.

© 2021










































Mandatory pizza stop after a strenuous day at The Gorge #miguelspizza #redrivergorge #perfectweather

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23 Responses to Lexington, Ky

  1. Andy

    What a great list. I appreciate all of the work that was put into this!!

  2. JD Francis

    Wow. I’ve lived in Lexington for almost 20 years and it really is sad how little I’ve ventured out. I would like to make a couple additions, if you don’t mind.

    If you stop by Pop’s Resale and it’s before 3pm, grab a burger at Meadowthorpe Cafe, which is like 4 or 5 doors down.

    If you find yourself downtown and you’re hunkering for some pizza, hit up Goodfella’s at 110 N Mill St. Slices as big as your head. Not much room to sit, but it’s a great place to stop by and grab a slice.

  3. Joe

    What about Charlie’s Fresh Seafood Market on Winchester Road? The best damn fish sammich in the whole damn state.

  4. Jan Cottrell

    This is an amazing, accurate and excellent review of our beautiful city! Thank you!

  5. Lloyd Woods

    Agree with the comments above, Goodfellas should be on here. So should Chase Brewing/Chase Tap Room.

    Also, I am starting a Party Bike/Pedal Pub (whatever you’d like to call it) in a month or two…I wouldn’t be mad if you included that as well. 🙂

  6. Howard Stovall

    Don’t ignore Town Branch Market at corner of Esplanade and East Main. Caters to moderate income older folks living downtown and basic deli lunches for those who can’t afford $9 Paninis

  7. Mirra

    Great List of restaurants; but you gave one line descriptions to some of the best known local hangouts.

    A number Local events left out include: the World’s largest outdoor horse show, and the first step of the Saddlebred Trifecta- the Junior League Horse Show, The Philharmonic Concert at the Park, several international equine competitions held at the Kentucky Horse Park- The Rolex Three Day Event and The world Three Day Event Championship and many others; the Red Mile Harness Track and the huge Antique and Garden Show held at the Equine Center. Lexington’s hidden gem of a hiking and wildflower sanctuary- Raven Run. Mid-April is an experience of massive explosions of windflowers. An abundance of historic architecture range from Neoclassical, Federal, and Victorian. Famous architects include Latrobe and Shyrock.

  8. Colton Hooke

    I was surprised to find that Southland/Zandale area was considered a hip area. But it was the hippie center of Lexington during the 60s and still is 🙂

  9. Meg

    Love Lexington. I wish we had more community outdoor yoga classes in spring winter and fall other than occasional Ashland and 6th street brewery. Suggestions?

  10. Bill Johnston

    I would love to post this on my Facebook account. This is really great stuff!

  11. m. lusson

    Please notify me of follow-up comments by email and notify me of new posts by email.

  12. J. Gifford

    What about Cherry Seed Coffee Roastery located at 472 Southland Drive? Great coffee shop across from Good Foods Co-op on Southland Drive.

  13. Stacey

    Don’t forget about Parkette Drive-In, The Pasta Garage, Charlie’s Fish Market and the Liberty Road Cafe on the East side.

  14. Ida Monroe

    This is such a comprehensive list, but I’m wondering why you didn’t list Charmed Life tattoo in the NoLi section. They’re a pretty big destination over there. You mentioned them but only in relation to another business that is inside. Odd.

  15. Maggie

    School is now downtown, no longer on Old Todd’s Road. They’ve been gone from that location for many years.


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