Embark on a spirited exploration of Lexington’s thriving nightlife with our guide to the Best Bars in the city. From historic watering holes exuding Southern charm to modern mixology havens pushing the boundaries of libation creativity, we’ve curated a list that captures the essence of this vibrant Kentucky city. Whether you’re a bourbon enthusiast, a craft beer lover, or a fan of live music, Lexington’s bar scene offers an array of experiences. Join us as we navigate through the city’s neighborhoods, unveiling the must-visit establishments that contribute to the unique tapestry of Lexington’s social landscape. Get ready for an insider’s journey into the heart of the Bluegrass State’s most exceptional drinking establishments. Cheers to the Best Bars in Lexington.
If you’re looking for a cool place to drink a beer in person and take beer to go when you’re done, The Beer Trappe has you covered. It’s a bar and beer store in one and has one of the most friendly atmospheres of any space near Woodland Park. They have delicious pumpkin ales in the fall and Imperial Stouts year-round.
Tee Dee’s Lounge is a local gem — cheerful, friendly, jazzy, and cool all at once! This Downtown lounge is one of the best bars to go for live music, especially live jazz music, on Monday nights. I almost hate writing about it because I don’t want it to get too crowded, but if you end up going, make sure to bring cash and thank me later!
The Burl, located in Melrose/Oakpark near McConnell Springs, is another excellent live music venue and bar. In addition to live music, this local favorite is full of entertainment, from the arcade games to the skeeball area, to the porches where you can simply sit, chat, and drink your favorite beers by the firepit.
The Green Lantern, near Coolavin Park, is one of the best bars in Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky, because they feature great local bands of various genres, including punk, country, metal, folk, bluegrass, and EDM. Additionally, The Green Lantern is one of the most fun places to get drinks because they have pool tables, karaoke nights, and great prices on all of their drinks, so you’re sure to have a great time!
It should come as no surprise that a bar called Arcadium Bar offers a range of classic arcade games! This friendly watering hole with a cozy vibe is located near Duncan Park and offers exceptional craft beer, wine, and bar snacks. It’s a great place for dog owners, too, because dogs seem to love the environment of the patio as much as humans do!
OleHookers Bait and Tackle, near Phoenix Park, is one of my favorite bars due to its intimate space and eclectic, artsy decor. Beyond its appearance, the bartenders are always so friendly, making it a go-to spot for after-work drinks and to let off some steam.
Chevy Chase Inn has a no-politics policy, so you can be sure to encounter much less drama than you might be used to at other bars. This historic local bar also plays great music on the weekends but is a relatively quiet and relaxed place to have a friendly conversation on the weekdays while drinking affordable beer and spirits.
If you’re hoping to find a hip and trendy bar in Lexington-Fayette, you’re in luck! Creaux, near the Explorium of Lexington, is one of the most stylish bars in town, which inspires a lovely atmosphere. I like going to their New Orleans-inspired bar for beignets, lobster, live jazz music, and of course, Hurricane cocktails that are dangerously delicious.
Near The Burl mentioned earlier, Barrel House Distilling Co is undoubtedly one of the best distilleries in the area. Bourbon is their specialty, but they have a nice selection of vodka and rum as well. I recommend taking a distillery tour and trying out samples of all their tasty and well-aged spirits.
Marikka’s Restaurant & Bier Stube is a popular German restaurant and bar in Picadome. Ordering schnitzel along with a variety of German beers is the move here. It’s fun to go for a beach volleyball game or to simply chill and drink on the patio with a group of friends.
Drake’s Lexington, near Lansdowne Merrick Park, is another restaurant and bar combo where you can order delicious craft beers while enjoying a range of food, from burgers to bar snacks and even sushi! It may sound crazy to say that ordering a beer and their tater tots is my favorite thing to do here, but you have to try their tater tots — then you’ll understand!
In my opinion, every town needs a good Irish bar, and in Lexington-Fayette, that spot belongs to McCarthy’s. McCarthy’s Irish bar, by Phoenix Park, is the perfect place to go for old-school Irish beer, pub grub, and various food and drink specials. I like to start my nights early there and get their Irish coffee or a Jameson.
Why should you trust us?
We use our own local experience and contacts in the city to know which places to include in our lists. We also researched the web and read 6 reputable blogs and websites, including tripadvisor.com, downtownlex.com, visitlex.com, tripsavvy.com, visitlex.com and thingstodoinlexingtonkentucky.com. So that you can be sure you’re receiving the best of the best. We compiled all the results in one spot and ranked them according to how frequently they were referenced.