Lilly’s Bistro is a great restaurant with a Bourbon Bar. They are on the Urban Bourbon Trail which means they have over 50 Bourbons on their menu, a knowledgeable staff and Bourbon incorporated into their menu. They are a farm to table restaurant with excellent food with a changing menu depending upon the season. The owner, Kathy Cary, is a great chef but she is also a member of the Thompson family that owned Glenmore Distilleries. Her great grandfather, James Thompson founded the company. This means she is a cousin to the Brown family. James Thompson was George Garvin Brown’s cousin and was even a partner in the firm Brown-Thompson before he sold his shares to George Forman in order to start his own company with his brother Frank Thompson. James Thompson and Bro. would change its name to Glenmore during Prohibition. It was one of the six companies that were licensed to sell medicinal alcohol.
Kathy also married a man with a passion for Bourbon and other whiskey. Will Cary loves to collect old decanters and bar memorabilia and it is all on display along with artifacts from Kathy’s family. Kathy is fond of coming out and talking with patrons and has always been happy to discuss her family connections to the Bourbon industry. This is an experience you will not find in most Bourbon bars and restaurants. The Bourbons are reasonably priced and generous pours. They offer flights and you can get the Pappy flight of Old Rip 10yo, Family reserve 12yo, Sazerac rye and Pappy 20yo for $60.00. They are served in old fashioned glasses so I would like to see them up the game to a whiskey glass. They have many old bottles on display but at this time no plans to start serving pours from them, but that could change in the future.
The food is excellent and they serve many local products such as Kenny’s Cheese, Capriole Goat Cheese, products from Bourbon Barrel Foods and produce from local farms. The atmosphere is pleasant and the noise level is always subdued. You can actually hold a conversation with your dinner or bar companions. The décor is interesting with old decanters and memorabilia on the bar and framed advertisements and photos from the Glenmore and other distilleries. A very pleasant experience.
I would give them 2 points for the Bourbon selection and 2 more for the flights selection. I would give them 1 point for the pours but I do wish they came in whiskey glasses such as a Glencairn glass. I would give them 3 points for atmosphere and a bonus point for a conversation with Kathy Cary. In total I give them 9 points for the visit to Lilly’s Bistro.
I highly recommend a visit to Lilly’s Bistro. It is well known to Louisvillians and should be a place that out of town visitors should come to know. If you are planning a visit to Louisville as part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, then you should include a trip to Lilly’s Bistro.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller