One thing I’ve learned living in J-Town is there is no shortage of things to do. My fear of moving farther from one of Louisville’s more well-known neighborhoods dissipated as I quickly realized how easily accessible the fun is.
Some of us move away from these neighborhoods to start families, to get a yard for our dogs or to get more bang for our buck when we finally decide to grow up and buy some property. The reality is, we all want some of the action and our favorite local businesses are listening to us by meeting us where we are.
It’s a given NuLu, The Highlands and Frankfort Avenue will always be home to parades and holiday themed events, but I’ll be spending my Halloween weekend in J-Town for the Country Boy Brewing sponsored Boo’s and Brews Bar Crawl. Beginning at 6PM Saturday, October 26th and running until 12AM, 8 J-Town establishments will be taking part in J-Town’s inaugural Boo’s and Brews Halloween themed bar crawl. The 8 stops are:
- Bearno’s on Taylorsville road
- Mac’s Dough House
- El Nopal
- Karem’s Bait Shop
- Feast BBQ
- 3rd Turn Brewing
- Rec Bar
- J-Town Beach
Kickstart your crawl at Bearno’s where you’ll receive your punch card and make your way down the list until you end at J-Town Beach. Make your rounds to 5 of the 8 participating locations and you’ll be eligible to score a pretty sweet Boo’s and Brews official t-shirt.
Some of these names may sound familiar to you if you’ve been keeping up with my J-Town escapades, and some of them won’t. A handful of them have been on my list of stops along the way so I can inform you, the beautiful people of Louisville, of all things J-Town. And while I’ve not yet visited some of these fine J-Town institutions, I have done my homework on each of them to help you prepare for your next night out.
Four time Best of Louisville award winner and two time best pizza winner according to Leo Weekly’s Readers’ Choice Awards, Bearno’s is a local staple and home to my favorite heart shaped pizza around Valentine’s Day.
Bearno’s is most notable for serving Louisville style pizza with Mama Bearno’s Special being their highest selling pie in Louisville. This pizza comes loaded with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, black olives, green olives, and topped with mozzarella cheese making it a fitting choice for a Halloween themed bar crawl because this is definitely a monster of a pizza.
Another local favorite, and one I’ve highlighted previously after becoming an official J-Town resident. The pizza is good, but the Mac and Cheese is what you really need. It’s kind of like going to a concert and digging the main act but showing up for the opener – trust me on this one. And if you do, which you should, definitely get the Pig Out. Oh, and bring your A game. Their rotating list of 26 craft beers will humble you because it’s impossible to just get one.
If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s my love for Mexican. If there’s another noteworthy thing you should know about me, it’s my love for specifically El Nopal. Let’s start with the Burrito Al Carbon. You probably think it’s the best and I don’t blame you. I was once in your shoes. That burrito is phenomenal but if you’re getting a burrito, you should go big and get the Macho Burrito: an extra big, DEEP FRIED burrito with your choice of shredded beef or chicken, beans, lettuce and sour cream, topped with white queso and enchilada sauce. And if you go this route, block out the rest of your schedule because the food coma is real afterwards. But the Macho Burrito isn’t something you get all the time, I get that. So, what I get every single time I go is the Chori Pollo. The Chori Pollo is what dreams are made of and comes with a huge, thin sliced grilled chicken breast smothered in chorizo and white queso on a bed of Spanish rice. It is hands down the best item on the menu and won’t have you hating yourself as much as you will after eating the Macho Burrito. As for drinks, that’s a no brainer. The strawberry frozen margaritas a huge and will only run you five bucks if you hit the happy hour.
Karem’s has been a J-Town institution since 1959 and still sells live bait to local fishermen in the city. Under new management, this old gem has been remodeled but still harnesses the same culture and environment they created so many years ago. This is definitely where you want to be with your pals this football season. Check them out on Facebook here.
J-Town’s Feast BBQ location was a huge win for it’s expanding dining district in September of 2018. Moving into an old muffler repair shop off Taylorsville road, this HiCotton Hospitality owned and operated BBQ joint slings quality smoked meats and scratch made side dishes, and takes pride in the time and effort it takes to do so. Louisville favorites include loaded tater tots, pork cakes and bourbon slushies, all of which have earned the top spot on my list of J-Town to-do’s.
In the words of Hunter S. Thompson, “Good people drink good beer.” And this is exactly the vibe you’ll get at 3rd Turn Brewing. Located in the historic Jeffersontown Gaslight District, 3rd Turn has made a home out of an 1878 restored church and offers 20 beers on tap including 3rd Turn and a variety of other regional brews. Not big on beer? I find that hard to believe but in a world of hard seltzers, I suppose it’s possible. While the IPA and smoked beer selection is anything but lacking, 3rd Turn also offers a variety of Bourbon, Wine, Slushies, Canned Cider, Canned Meade and Bottled Gluten Free Beer, and is home to the most fantastic mudslide slushie in town. Many of you may recognize this beach favorite as a bushwacker, but we call ‘em mudslides here in Kentucky and it’s arguably better than some of the ones I had in Gulf Shores. Think of it as a chocolate Pina Colada and thank me later.
Games, grains and grub. Go back in time and grab your tokens because Recbar is home to all your favorite childhood arcade games. Equipped with 16 rotating beers on tap and over 50 cans and bottles to choose from, Recbar has taken your childhood and created the perfect environment for all us grownups to flock to. Specializing in pub grub, Recbar offers bar style favorites including beer cheese, a burger of the month and beer battered fish tacos, specifically Country Boy Cougar Bait Fish Tacos.
Another aforementioned highlight and one worth revisiting. J-Town Beach is a sand volleyball bar located in the heart of J-Town. I am currently playing on a volleyball league and you can be, too! J-Town Beach offers league play in the Spring, Summer and Fall. Learn more about how to register here.
The outdoor patio is perfect, even on these crisp, fall nights and there’s even a kid friendly area for your little ones. And come hungry because Marvin’s Real Taste of Jamaica is a must-have on your visit alongside their slushies and the ice cream shop next door. A perfect night cap after a long night of beer crawling if you ask me.
Lastly, the brewery responsible for bringing us the J-Town Boo’s and Brews Bar Crawl, Country Boy Brewing. Country Boy was founded in 2012 by four native Kentuckians with a passion for great craft beer. Country Boy prides itself on making minimally processed beers with high quality, real ingredients. Their passion for good beer shines through their core brands Cougar Bait American Blonde Ale and Shotgun Wedding Vanilla Brown Ale. Their recent expansion to Georgetown, KY with the largest production brewery in the state will allow them to can their popular Cliff Jumper IPA (my personal favorite) and the Halfway Home Pale Ale, in addition to several seasonal offerings. Check them out on Facebook and Instagram.