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)!
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 Mark 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!
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.
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.
2345 Frankfort Ave., Louisville, KY 40206 • (502) 899-9930
This funky, Clifton neighborhood restaurant has been serving up Mexican-inspired dishes and some of the best margaritas in Louisville for over 20 years. While it may not seem like the most obvious date-night destination, the small table for two in the tiny upstairs bar couldn’t be more romantic! Share a plate of chips and house-made guacamole, order a top-shelf margarita and get cozy with someone special. When it’s warm outside, we also love their outdoor bar and patio.
1076 East Washington St., Louisville, KY 40206 • (502) 749-6343
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.
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 McClain Brown’s take on shrimp and grits, lamb chops or the classic Jack’s Burger, and do not skip dessert. We can never pass up their always perfect crème caramel accompanied by the sounds of a jazz trio. Sigh.
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.”
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 Alex Dulaney — 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.
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.
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.
Enjoy that Louisville romance!
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