Recently I completed a version of the Myers Briggs personality test to see what flavor of introvert I am. For reference (to help those who are unaware), this test is a scale-centric, agree/disagree questionnaire that drills down who you are as a person. Once you click submit, you receive a classification, if you will, along with various insights into what you’re like in situations within your life, how you are in relationships, career paths, etc. It’s pretty interesting and not overly complex.
Anyway, I digress, back to the point…as I was reading through my results (intp-t personality because duh…) and seeing things that made eye-opening sense to me and about me, I had an epiphany. Why has no one ever thought to do this for bars? Bars are all very different places for very different people. A 35 year old single mom isn’t going to necessarily want to frequent bars that are the favorite of 23 frat bar stars flexing with daddy’s credit card. Unless you’re constantly researching or out in the community seven days a week, it can be difficult to point out a bar on the map that you know for a fact you’ll align with. Now, yes, you may have you one to two go to spots, but the age old question remains “what’s new, different, or outside of my neighborhood that I can try?” With these questions in mind, and the common sense fact that you know you still want to experience a bar within your spectrum, how do you find out about different bars around the city?
There are over 200 bars in this city and honestly most of them, like most of the people you meet in your life, won’t be your favorite. So how do you find the gems? Go there and hope for the best (then go on Yelp and write an ill-advised, poor review about a bar you shouldn’t of been at in the first place)? No. You could go off your friends’ recommendations, but you aren’t your friends and they aren’t you, so that doesn’t always work either. Solution? Me.
I’ve decided to create another new series all about aligning who you are with your bar options; it’s called: Bar Exam. The concept is simple and as follows: each exam, I ask you five questions, if you say yes to them, then below the questions will be a review of a bar right up your ally. If you don’t say yes, I guess I will still allow you to scroll and read, but you may not align with the vibe I’m describing. Either way, there won’t be any more shots in the dark. From now on, I’m doing the groundwork and taking bullets for you.
Bar Exam | Season 1, Episode 1 “Not Your Father’s Whiskey Bar”
- Do you love whiskey (and I’m talking about the actual flavor of whiskey — not how you feel after drinking five rounds of it with coke)?
- When you go on a date, do you actually value what the person looks like?
- Do you like to go out to have drinks at bars that feel exactly like your downtown studio apartment?
- Do you believe in the following statement: nothing good happens after midnight?
- Do you acknowledge that Wonder Woman is the glue that holds the whole Justice League franchise together?
Did you answer yes? Do you feel positively aligned with your internal responses to the prompts above? If so, meet Trouble Bar.
Trouble Bar is the new kid on the block in Shelby Park (i.e. Germantown). A whiskey bar that isn’t a “whiskey bar.” To reiterate, I’m helping you find a place for you, so, if you’re looking for a bar that provides a “boys club” experience with a selection of 100+ spirits, mismatched barstools and bathrooms with a threatening aura — then this not the bar for you. When you walk into this bar it feels like you are walking into the loft apartment of a woman who doesn’t own a TV, reads books for entertainment and knows way more about whiskey than you.
The space itself legitimately projects a minimalist apartment vibe, and I think that’s the whole appeal. The bar feels extremely familiar even though you’ve never been there before. The whole space gives off the feeling of attainable goals, and I’m a big fan of it. If I had to find something to gripe about, it’d be the fact that the bar is way too bright for my personal taste. But for some that’s a positive aspect because you can “see” and “acknowledge” your date instead of going to some sexy speakeasy lit with a single 30-watt light bulb that is somehow darker than night time itself.
There are no cocktails on the menu, not because of a lack of being able to perform them, but because there is no need for it. That’s not what this bar is. This is a true educated, modern whiskey bar. They have a menu based on flights. And these aren’t your regular degular cop out flights that a lot of establishments do (you know, where the bar will just put whiskeys that are in the same family on the same flight just for the sake of doing it).The flights at Trouble Bar have thought behind them. They follow a natural progression that can be explained to a novice whiskey drinker as well as appreciated by an experienced one. Additionally, each flight on the menu is accompanied with an elegant blurb that isn’t normal, useless filler content pasted into the menu to appease the ego of whoever wrote it. It actually sets the precedent for the flight you’re about to experience — before it even touches the bar.
All in all (from my perspective as a whiskey enthusiast and a service industry vet), you can tell this bar was opened by someone with a purpose. The bar was opened by someone who not only actually worked in bars, but by someone who has a genuine appreciation for the spirit and passion for the experiences surrounding the enjoyment of whiskey. Much like the fact that this bar isn’t a “boys club” experience, it’s also not a bar run by someone who simply opened it because they have always had the desire to work in the bar and have the capital to open one just because they can. When you walk in here you can feel authenticity all around you, and that’s kind of rare for the modern business. And that’s something that can be respected even if they space isn’t exactly for you.
Update: Trouble Bar does have a cocktail menu, oversight by your boy!
1149 S Shelby Street Louisville, KY 40203
Sunday | Wednesday | Thursday: 5P – 11P
Friday | Saturday: 5P – 12A
Monday | Tuesday: Closed