Molly Wellmann owns and operates several bars in Cincinnati but when she wanted to open a Bourbon Bar she knew that she had to get out of the Control State of Ohio to do it right. The Main Strasse in Covington, Kentucky was the logical place start this business venture. Kentucky is the home to Bourbon and despite many taxes and regulations that Kentucky has that are unfavorable to small business, it still has more freedom of purchase than Ohio.
The Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar is a fantastic Bourbon Bar. It is in an old building on the Main Strasse in Covington. The bar area is long and narrow and seating is limited, but there is a great outdoor space in the back where a patron can enjoy a good cigar with their Bourbon. Food is not served at the bar, but there are several restaurants in the neighborhood for those wishing to eat. Purchase a sandwich or a pizza and bring it to the bar. There is a general friendly atmosphere to the Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar that makes me want come back as often as I can.
Molly Wellmann makes sure the staff know about Bourbon – it history and its taste. Before a person can work at the Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar they must first prove their knowledge to Molly Wellmann by working at one of the other bars owned by Wellmann Brands. This may take as little as six months, but could be a year or more of training. The result is a staff that can answer any question a patron of Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar might have about Bourbon, both the brand history and flavor profile.
There is no menu other than the wall of Bourbons behind the bar. The philosophy here is that so many brands come in and out of supply they cannot have an accurate menu printed. The list changes weekly as bottles are emptied and often not replaced because of supply issues. Fair enough. That however does make it hard for the customer to know the prices of the pour before ordering. It is best to ask about the pricing of anything of limited supply such as Kentucky Owl or Geo. T. Stagg. The bar does offer flights and the staff will very happily assist you in picking a flight of Bourbons or ryes.
The pours are generous and Glencairn glasses are available for those ordering their drinks neat. The staff is also very well trained in the art of mixology and have several Bourbon cocktails listed for sale on chalkboards behind the bar. The ability to make a good cocktail is a must at any of Molly Wellmann’s establishments and the Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar is no exception.
At the end of the day I have to give the Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar only 1 point for the menu since they don’t have one. Depending on the wall of Bourbons makes it hard for the patron to know in advance the prices of the products. They do offer flights and I will score them 2 points for the option and the help the staff offers in putting together a good flight. I will also give the staff very high score of 3 for training and knowledge. Another 2 points are scored for customer service and the overall pleasant atmosphere of the bar. I also score an extra point for the outdoor patio area which allows cigar smoking. The grand total is 9 points.
The Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar is one of the best Bourbon Bars in the state of Kentucky. It is well worth the drive from Louisville or Lexington and of course from Ohio or Indiana. It has great selections of Bourbon and Ryes and offers great cocktails, flights of whiskey and generous pours. A trip to Northern Kentucky would not be complete without a stop at the Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar.
Photos Courtesy of Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar