Monday, February 28, 2005

Louisville's Baxter Station Bar & Grill for a meal and a pint.

A rare Friday evening out provided Diana and I the opportunity to see the Finn Brothers perform twice – first acoustically at the Ear-x-tasy on Bardstown Road in Louisville, then later on stage at Headliners Music Hall.

Between performances by the Finns, we adjourned to Baxter Station Bar & Grill for dinner and drinks.

Baxter Station remains one of Louisville’s finest independent, local bistros. Nestled in the heart of the Irish Hill neighborhood on Payne Street, it’s located in an old shotgun building that once was a grocery store and later a tavern, and now offers a pleasing brick ‘n’ beam ambience in which to enjoy dining that is a full notch or two above what one would expect from such a casual venue, plus excellent lists of beer, wine and bourbon.

Owner Andrew Hutto favors maltier microbrews (Goose Island Hex Nut, Great Lakes Dortmunder), but doesn’t neglect the hop in the form of drafts like Rogue Brutal Bitter and Anderson Valley Hop Ottin’ IPA.

Standard imports ranging from Guinness and Smithwick’s to Hoegaarden and Pilsner Urquell round out 20-plus tap choices.

Baxter Station’s food is unfailingly well prepared, combining elements of international flavor with familiar regional dishes like red beans and rice, crab cakes and fajita burritos.

Andrew currently is spearheading an effort called Louisville Originals, which is a cooperative venture of independent eateries designed to combine local resources against the encroachment of the chains. I couldn’t agree more with this strategy, and lament that Louisville’s brewery owners (myself among them) have not been able to duplicate such a project.

Baxter Station recently changed its hours, closing on Monday but opening on Sunday evenings. It is highly recommended.

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