We all know that date nights need to happen to keep the fire burning, but sometimes we need a little inspiration. Revisiting the places where the spark was first lit can be perfect, but why not find a new romantic spot to fan the flames? Lucky for you (for all of us, really), Louisville is home to plenty of great restaurant options that definitely bring the romance. We’ve pulled together a list of some of our date-night favorites. Now you don’t need a special occasion to experience a romantic night in Louisville with your sweetheart (no more excuses)!

Proof on Main

702 West Main St., Louisville, KY 40202 • (502) 217-6360

Mix with locals and visitors alike at this award-winning restaurant located inside Louisville’s contemporary art-filled 21c Museum Hotel. Executive Chef Mike Wajda’s menu changes regularly and focuses on using the sustainable ingredients of the region from local purveyors, including 21c founders Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson’s Woodland Farm. Snag a romantic seat and be sure to take a walk through the always-engaging museum gallery, when you aren’t busy gazing into each other’s eyes, of course!

Romantic booth seating at Proof on Main

Romantic booth seating at Proof on Main | Image: Proof on Main

Romantic drink lineup at Proof on Main

Romantic drink lineup at Proof on Main | Image: Proof on Main

Lilly’s Bistro

1147 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40204 • (502) 451-0447

Chef Kathy Cary first opened this Bardstown Road staple in 1988 and has led the locally sourced, farm-to-table food movement here in Louisville ever since. Find a spot at the cozy bar, which is stocked with an incredible wine selection and some of Kentucky’s best bourbon, or share some small plates, sip a gorgeous handmade cocktail and soak up the romance of this uniquely Kentucky restaurant.

The well-stocked, cozy bar at Lilly's Bistro

The well-stocked, cozy bar at Lilly’s Bistro

Rye

900 East Market, Louisville, KY 40206 • (502) 749-6200

The moment you step into Rye with your sweetheart, the casual, wood-filled interior should warm you both up. The menu is deceptively simple and perfect for sharing – especially their raw oysters – but their cocktail menu is really where Rye shines. Updated frequently and made with fresh juices, house-made syrups and seasonal ingredients, this is really where they win our hearts. Meet for sharing lots of small plates after work, or book a table before a night on the town.

Lovely detail of the interior at Rye

Lovely details of the interior at Rye

Lola

1076 East Washington St., Louisville, KY 40206 • (502) 742-8315

Located in Butchertown Grocery’s historic upstairs bar, Lola brings life to a late-night lounge by offering cocktails, comfort and the permission to be who you want to be. The “living room” to Butchertown Grocery’s “dining room,” Lola’s century-old building offers up a cozy atmosphere to sip and celebrate romance with a poetically named cocktail (we recommend Lola’s Negroni or the bourbon-based Happiness Does Not Wait), midnight snacks, live music and the always fascinating crowd.

Get cozy at romantic at Lola late into the night

Get cozy and romantic at Lola late into the night. Image: Lola

Jack Fry’s

1007 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40204 • (502)452-9244

The quintessential local favorite, Jack Fry’s has been a Highlands landmark since it first opened in the early 1930s. Don’t let the exterior fool you; the historic photos on the walls of this former “sportsman’s hangout” (a.k.a bookie and bootlegger haven) and intimate tables with white tablecloths and elegantly simple settings scream romance. Try Executive Chef Eric Shaw’s take on shrimp and grits, lamb chops or the classic Jack’s Burger, and definitely do not skip dessert. We can never pass up their always perfect crème caramel accompanied by the sounds of a jazz trio. Sigh.

LouVino

Check louvino.com for locations and contact information.

With its warm, comfortable decor and Southern-inspired shareable small plates, LouVino conjures up instant romance. Choose indoor or outdoor seating, choose from more than 70 wine options by the glass, and you’ve created a perfect night out with your sweetheart. LouVino has two Louisville locations — 1606 Bardstown Road in the Highlands and 11400 Main St. in Douglass Hills — and a new location in Fishers, Indiana. We love the Daisy Buchanan wine flight, which has been described as “fun, frisky & floral enough for Jay Gatsby’s lost love.”

Inviting interior at LouVino's Douglass Hills location

Inviting interior at LouVino’s Douglass Hills location | Image: LouVino

La Chasse

1359 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40204 • (502) 822-3963

With its simple white brick walls and serene, earth-toned decor, La Chasse is inviting from the start. This Highlands neighborhood restaurant features innovative dishes by Chef Kristina Dyer — with distinct Southern French and Spanish influences — boutique wines, artisan cocktails and craft beer. Fall even more in love over dishes like their chicken osso bucco (with grits for a Southern twist), try a gin-based, herby Rosemary’s Tonic, and share dark chocolate pot de crème to really show you care.

A gorgeous drink in progress at La Chasse

A gorgeous drink in progress at La Chasse | Image: La Chasse

Wiltshire on Market

636 East Market St., Louisville, KY 40202 • (502) 589-5224

We admit it. We’ve had a longtime crush on Wiltshire on Market since Susan Hershberg, long-time Louisville caterer, opened this cozy, artistically inspired restaurant in 2009. The menu changes weekly but it always sources as locally as possible and keeps things seasonal. Nestled between NuLu galleries and shops on East Market Street, this lovely spot fits the aesthetic perfectly from the original art, organic stoneware dishes and one-of-a-kind tables made from rough-hewn wood. The wine list is always in tune with the menu, the cocktails seasonally delightful and the mood warmly romantic. Meet your special someone at the bar and linger for a perfect date night in Louisville.

Wiltshire on Market

Peek into Wiltshire on Market with its cozy front booth in the window. | Image: Lindsay McClave

River House

3015 River House Road, Louisville, KY 40207 • (502) 897-5000

We couldn’t call this a complete list of romantic Louisville restaurants without including a spot with an Ohio River view. Not only are the views swoon-worthy, this restaurant and raw bar led by Chef John Varanese definitely lives up to his creative standard. Taking the waterside view as inspiration, River House emphasizes seafood combined with locally sourced ingredients with Southern flair. Pick their River Tower for date night — enough lobster, jumbo shrimp, oysters on the half shell, colossal lump crab and mussels for two — and then share the peach and sweet potato biscuit cobbler. Grab the one you love and get romantic with a river view.

Interior view of the River House

Interior view of the River House | Image: River House

Roasted Oysters from River House

Roasted Oysters from River House | Image: Dan Dry

8UP

350 W Chestnut Street (rooftop), Louisville, Ky 40202 • (502) 631-4180

Nothing says romance like a rooftop view. Whether you’re looking for drinks & apps or a delicious meal, 8UP is a date night must. Satisfy your cravings, admire the best views of the city and fall in love. Led by Executive Chef James Moran, 8Up’s menu is unparalleled. 8UP offers a wide variety of drinking and dining experiences that were designed to please the sophisticated palates and celebrate the spirit of fun that defines Louisville. Beware – if you look at the dessert menu, you might just order one of everything!

Harvest

624 E Market St, Louisville, KY 40202 • (502) 384-9090

Farm-to-table cuisine never tasted so good. With a seasonal menu and 80% of their ingredients coming from a 100-mile radius, Harvest can’t be beaten. This downtown Nulu hot spot is the epitome of fresh, mouth-watering goodness. Chefs Jeff Dailey and Ryan Smith tempt us with everything from beer cheese to seafood to “from the pasture” burgers and steak. A date night that’s healthy and delicious? We’re in!

Enjoy that romance, Lou!

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