Last Call: The restaurants so nice, tourists visit them twice

Three hands holding glasses of spirits up in a toast
Photo: Soubrette (Getty Images)

I recently had the great fortune of visiting Louisville, Kentucky, for the first time. To any of our readers in that area: your city is one hell of a unique and gorgeous place, and I am only sorry it took me so long to experience it for myself! The grand architecture of Old Louisville, the tourist-trappiness of the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, the abundance of breweries and distilleries—I loved it all. But in the span of a single weekend, there was one bar I loved so much that I visited it three times, and I regret nothing.

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We kicked off our weekend at High Horse for a quick pre-dinner drink, because I was charmed by its vintage-looking (or maybe actually vintage?) sign as we walked by: it advertised “AIR CONDITIONING” in blocky mid-century font, which is always promising. The genuinely retro interior reminded me of my grandma’s basement, the pinball machines were top-notch, and an Old Fashioned was $5. Later, at our dinner destination in a nearby neighborhood, a few lackluster appetizers only proved that returning to High Horse for the main course was the best idea; the bar had Neapolitan pizza available for purchase at a food window. The next night, after hopping around to a few different spots for drinks and snacks, we found ourselves walking in Butchertown again, and High Horse was right along our route back to the hotel, beckoning to us. Who were we to refuse?

I know there’s pressure to see and do lots of new things when you’re a tourist experiencing a city for the first time, but the truth is, I’ve always traveled this way, happily repeating myself. Most vacations involve a return trip to a bar or restaurant or coffee shop that was particularly inviting, and I’ve never found myself regretting the lack of variety. Do you have similar travel habits? Or do you work backwards from a huge checklist of must-try restaurants, aiming for maximum coverage?

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

DISCUSSION

thundercatsarego
thundercatsarego

If it’s a new city, I’ll try to find a new place each night, but if I find some place truly special, I’ll go multiple times. I’ve got “my places” in Rome, Paris, London, and Jerusalem. Sadly, the one in Rome is no more—the owners retired and sold it a few months before covid hit. So they got really lucky. I feel so bad for the new owners, who bought and relaunched a new restaurant right before such a devastating event. I loved that place; it was the best carbonara I’ve ever had. Over the years I’ve grown close to the owners, and they’ve said that whenever I come back, they’ll have me round to their house and they’ll cook for me there.