Clifton and Crescent Hill are two neighborhoods off of the eclectic and bustling thoroughfare Frankfort Avenue, just minutes from downtown, with unique shops, beautiful Victorian houses, and plenty of gardens and flowers lining the streets. Let's look at all the best things the Clifton and Crescent Hill neighborhoods have to offer!

The Clifton & Crescent Hill Neighborhood Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, Play & Stay

Clifton and Crescent Hill are two neighborhoods off of the eclectic and bustling thoroughfare Frankfort Avenue, just minutes from downtown, with unique shops, beautiful Victorian houses, and plenty of gardens and flowers lining the streets.

Though it feels a bit like the Highlands neighborhood, Clifton and Crescent Hill feel calmer and more refined – where the hip kids walking Bardstown Road end up settling down.

These neighborhoods are the perfect place to eat a delicious, local meal (no fast food joints here), shop at unique boutique stores, and grab a drink with adults who have graduated from the craziness of Bardstown Road and who just want a drink with other adults.

But just because it’s chill doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty to do and see. Let’s look at all the best things the Clifton and Crescent Hill neighborhoods have to offer!

Check out a few of these other posts:

See also
NuLu Neighborhood Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, Play & Stay
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victorian home in clifton louisville ky-Blog Photo-2
Clifton and Crescent Hill are home to some stunning Victorian homes, like this one on Coral Avenue.

The Story of Clifton & Crescent Hill

Just east of downtown and Butchertown sits the neighborhoods of Clifton and Crescent Hill. The Clifton neighborhood runs along the edge of  I64E on one side, Brownsboro Road on the other and is bookended by Mellwood Ave and N Ewing. To the east, the Crescent Hill neighborhood is situated between Brownsboro and Lexington Roads until it hits the neighborhood of St. Matthews.

Long before George Rogers Clark founded Louisville, the embankment known today as Clifton was all wilderness with a break in the foliage known as a buffalo trace, which is a natural path made by the seasonal migration of native buffalo (and a bourbon brand today!). Native Americans, like the Shawnees in the north and the Cherokees in the south, used these traces while hunting in the region.

It wasn’t until 1816 that Colonel Joshua Bethel Bowles was attracted to the area in the heights as a respite from the bustle of the city below.

Bowles gentleman’s farm (i.e. a farm for pleasure versus profit) and subsequent adjoining 26-room Italianate mansion (must be nice) of 1842 overlooked Louisville’s eastern edge and he dubbed it “Clifton” after the natural cliffs overlooking Brownsboro turnpike at the edge of his property. 

See also
The Highlands Neighborhood Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, Play & Stay

Neighboring industrial business, turnpike construction and the railroad line linking Louisville and the state capital all contribute to the development of Clifton and Crescent Hill’s residential and commercial development. Nearby quarries, meatpacking plants and distilleries led developers to divide the farmland of Clifton into residential lots for laborers, middle-class management and upper-class owners giving birth to the diversity of dwellings in the Clifton & Crescent Hill neighborhoods. 

Homes from the 1800s run the gamut from three-room shotgun homes of the laborer to the late Victorian mansions of the owners. The turnpike and railroad led to a natural business corridor in Frankfort Avenue attracting customers from the surrounding neighborhood and Louisville residents taking advantage of the toll road and railroad.

Visiting Clifton and Crescent Hill’s uniquely preserved architecture, eclectic business corridor and beautiful landscape it becomes clear what attracted settlers over the past 200 years to this part of Louisville and why we keep coming back to it today.

See also
Old Louisville Neighborhood Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, Play and Stay

reservoir in crescent hill in louisville ky
The Gothic-style reservoir in Crescent Hill is as gorgeous as it is functional.

Things to do in Clifton & Crescent Hill

It would be an understatement to say Clifton and Crescent Hill are two of the most unique neighborhoods in Lousiville. From the preserved Victorian architecture to the most uniquely Kentucky food and drink offerings of today, Clifton and Crescent Hill are two of the most walkable (and drinkable) neighborhoods in the city. So eat, take a walk, and shop for some local treasures!

huevos rancheros from con huevos in clifton louisville ky
You can’t go wrong with anything at Con Huevos, like the Huevos Rancheros.

Places to Eat in Clifton & Crescent Hill

Clifton and Crescent Hill offers a wide variety of dining options from good old southern American cooking to Mexican, and plenty of bourbon to keep your whistle wet while you eat. Below are some of our favorites!

See also
Old Louisville Neighborhood Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, Play & Stay
chipotle poached huevos from con huevos in clifton louisville ky
The chipotle poached huevos from Con Huevos is a literal gift from above.

Con Huevos

Translated as “with eggs”, Con Huevos serves up much more than just eggs at their hip location in Clifton. This Mexican breakfast is a gift to the culinary scene and usually has a wait but it is more than worth it (pro tip: arrive early around 9am to get a table fast).

One of the most delectable and unique things on the menu is the chipotle poached huevos, which are two homemade buttermilk biscuits with two poached eggs on top covered in a savory chipotle gravy, with chorizo and avocado on the side. It’s truly a beautiful love child between southern and Mexican food, and you won’t be disappointed!

If you must give in to the demands of your nagging sweet tooth, order the tres leches pancakes soaked in Mexican 3 leches syrup and topped with fresh fruit. It may be less adventurous but no less delicious, with a Mexican spin on a breakfast favorite.

 morning fork in louisville ky
Brioche French toast topped with lemon ricotta, strawberries and blueberries from The Morning Fork, one of the best places to get brunch in Louisville.

The Morning Fork

“The Ultimate Brunch Experience” in the morning followed by “as much southern hospitality and charm as one restaurant can hold” in the evening are bold statements from two restaurants all under one roof. The Morning Fork and Fork and Barrel more than deliver on those promises in the same location at 1722 Frankfort Avenue.  

Start your morning off decadently with one of their uniquely original creations. Sweet or savory, the Morning Fork’s menu will have you flip-flopping on which route to choose and no one would judge you for getting both. Try the short rib benedict, which has melt-in-your-mouth braised short rib, hash browns, poached medium eggs, béarnaise, and bordelaise. 

On the sweet side, the thick brioche French toast is kicked up a sweet notch with bananas foster topping, toasted pecans and whipped cream. And really out of the breakfast box and just because the name is so good, get the MF’n breakfast sandwich of over-hard fried eggs, crispy candied bacon, avocado, blackberry jam, white cheddar cheese served on toasted Hawaiian bread (but you had me at candied bacon).

See also
Germantown Neighborhood Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, Play & Stay
payne street bakehouse in clifton louisville ky
Bagel sandwich? Well, I don’t mind if I do!

Payne Street BakeHouse

Sometimes you need to carbo-load, but where to do it? Unfortunately, this isn’t the northeast with bagel options on every corner, but we do have Payne Street Bakehouse with plenty of fresh-made, real bagels. And if you’re anything like me, you’re super easily talked into eating all the carbs!

I might add that you look really good right now, so my suggestion is to grab some bagels and cream cheese to go (the rosemary parmesan and jalapeno cheddar bagels are stellar), or treat yourself to a Willinger breakfast sandwich with thick bacon, pepper jack, lettuce, tomato, egg and veggie cream cheese on a bagel and eat it on their front porch.

They also make amazing fresh hummus, so have a hummus sandwich with veggies on one of their incredibly savory everything bagels if you want a little nutrition to balance out the carbs. But hey, this is your journey, get whatever you want!

flatbread pizza at blue dog bakery in clifton louisville ky
One does not simply eat a flatbread. One makes love to a flatbread from Blue Dog Bakery. (Photo Credit: Blue Dog Bakery)

Blue Dog Bakery and Cafe

I never understood kids having to have the crust cut off the bread – that’s the best part in my opinion! Even if you were a picky kid, you won’t be able to get enough of the crust from Blue Dog Bakery.

Blue Dog Bakery and Cafe in Crescent Hill bakes over a thousand loaves of artisan bread a week, and each loaf takes 48 hours to make to develop that flavor and that delicious perfect crispy crust. That’s bread made with love, you know?

The cafe for breakfast and lunch showcases the bread in many menu items – sandwiches and pastries, glorious flatbreads like the egg & bacon flatbread with poached free-range egg, bacon & arugula. You can also find soups and salads, a curated grocery and gift section, and of course loaves of bread to pick up on the way out. What do kids know – eat the crust already!

See also
Butchertown Neighborhood Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, Play & Stay
SOUTHERN CHARCUTERIE BOARD, pork belly, and wedge salad from fork & barrel in clifton louisville ky
The southern charcuterie board, pork belly, and wedge salad from Fork & Barrel.

Fork & Barrel

Fork & Barrel prides itself on serving upscale American cuisine with a focus on local ingredients, craft cocktails and unmistakable southern hospitality.

There is an ancient saying, “when in Kentucky, do as Kentuckians do,” so start your dinner off with a bourbon cocktail. The Mata Hari is an Old Forester 86 Bourbon with Campari, basil, black pepper, honey, orange and lemon juice and just the right bourbon cocktail to sip while munching on a truly drool-worthy appetizer.

The Southern Charcuterie board is piled up with house-made sharp cheddar pimento cheese, smoked country ham, pate and pickled vegetables and is served with a toasted baguette and perfect to share.

Another pre-main course option is the fried brussel sprout salad with a mustard-sherry-bacon vinaigrette, goat cheese, strawberries, almonds, and a fried egg. It will change your mind about the way brussel sprouts should be served and you will not want to share.

For your entree, the vegetarian ravioli with its house-made caramelized leek & ricotta ravioli, roasted spaghetti squash, brown butter, and romanesco sauce is a savory dish worth trying even if you are a carnivore. You won’t miss the meat a bit.

el mundo in clifton louisville ky
El Mundo serves up some of the best Mexican food in Clifton. And hey, the margs ain’t bad either! (Photo Credit: @lexingtonlist)

El Mundo

After 27 years in the heart of Clifton, El Mundo is still my go-to Louisville restaurant for consistently delicious Mexican cuisine and margaritas heavy on the tequila. It’s that good, people.

El Mundo’s choices of dining include the downstairs front counter ordering with limited first-come-first-served seating, upstairs bar and table service and, my personal pick, the back patio outdoor dining.

There is something charming about that patio that takes you away from Kentucky and transports you on hot summer night. Of course it could be the margaritas. I am basic only in my love of the frozen house margarita with no salt, but El Mundo is famous for the top-shelf margarita or any combination of fruit in the special margarita of the week. 

My near weekly El Mundo habit for the past two decades has taught me a few things. Start with a marg, get the Dippity Do, which is a sampler with salsa, tomatillo salsa, guacamole, and black beans and chipotle dip served with tortilla chips.

My habitual and always amazing order is the Chile Relleno, a fire-roasted poblano pepper stuffed with jack cheese and your choice of chicken, pork, sauteed vegetable, vegan chorizo or (my pick) the ground Kentucky bison and smothered with green chili sauce and baked. And never skip their sour cream, it’s so good. It is the perfect amount of heat and checks all the boxes for me.

See also
Germantown Neighborhood Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, Play & Stay
food from the silver dollar in clifton louisville
The Silver Dollar is serving up some Bakersfield Honky Tonk vibes with southern cooking! (Photo Credit: Grill Momma)

The Silver Dollar

The Silver Dollar is described as “a re-imaging of a 1950s Bakersfield, California honky tonk,” which is right up our alley since Lia’s husband was born in Bakersfield and totally gets the whole Bakersfield-is-the-South-of-California thing.

Anyway, now you can visit Southern/Central California right here in Southern/Midwestern Louisville! So grab a copy of the Grapes of Wrath – for historical context – and head to the Silver Dollar for weekend brunch including Biscuits and Gravy, cornmeal pancakes, and chilaquiles.

Or go for dinner and try a fried catfish sandwich or cornmeal breaded chicken livers. True to their Kentucky ties, you’ll also find a huge selection of bourbon and whiskey at Silver Dollar, and they make an excellent Mint Julep – served in a real Mint Julep cup. Order one at brunch, of course.

See also
The Highlands Neighborhood Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, Play & Stay
Ice cream against blue wall from comfy cow louisville ky
The Comfy Cow has no shortage of creative flavors, like Brown Butter Peanut Brittle or the Chatty Cathy with espresso beans! (Photo Credit: @nicolekenders)

The Comfy Cow

Comfy Cow is a real experience, ya’ll. So to get that full experience you really should enjoy a cone in person at the Frankfort Ave location, which is in an old converted house covered in metal scoop chandeliers, a wall of music records, and a shiny tin tile ceiling.

But don’t take in the sights for too long, you don’t want to be that guy holding up the line when it’s your turn. However, don’t fear if you do! Just get an ice cream flight, it’s 3 scoops side by side and the perfect size if you can’t commit to one choice.

You’re gonna wanna start with the Brown Butter Peanut Brittle (no that’s not a theatre warm-up phrase, but totally could be if you’ve mastered “red leather, yellow leather”). This flavor is legend-wait for it– DAIRY.

It won Grand Champion at the World Dairy Expo Championship the very first year it was entered. Not surprising when you dig into the buttery cream nestled between the textured pieces of caramelized peanut brittle with just a dash of sea salt.

For scoop number two, you’ll enjoy the extra pick me up from the Chatty Cathy. A deep-roasted coffee cream base with fractals of chocolate-covered espresso beans.

And for scoop number three, go with the Cake Batter UP. A sweet indulgent cake batter base, surrounded by chunks of southern classic pound cake.

See also
Butchertown Neighborhood Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, Play & Stay
cold brew from heine bros coffee in clifton louisville ky
Grabbing a cold brew from Heine Bros Coffee and walking around the neighborhoods is the perfect way to spend an afternoon!

Places to Grab Coffee in Clifton & Crescent Hill

Coffee is the staple of any truly civilized society, and luckily Clifton and Crescent Hill has some local brews so you don’t have to wander into the great beyond (namely, St. Matthews). So check out these great options.

Heine Bros. Coffee in Louisville KY
Heine Bros in Clifton has the perfect patio to drink and chill on!

Heine Bros Coffee

Twenty-eight-year-old locally owned and 100% fair trade and organic coffee roaster, Heine Bros Coffee has 18 locations around the Louisville area and my favorite by far is located in Clifton.

The convenience of the drive-thru is a major plus in my book, but when I have time to be the guy that hangs out in coffee shops, this location is the one. Their outdoor patio sits right on Frankfort Avenue and is the best excuse for going to a coffee shop to get work done and spending the whole time people watching.

At least I have my go-to Tumeric Chai (ground pepper on top) or the delicious Beekeeper coldbrew with sweet cold foam to keep me company as I ignore my laptop.

See also
Old Louisville Neighborhood Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, Play & Stay
white mocha from crescent hill coffee in louisville ky
Crescent Hill coffee has awesome artwork, like that of Dolly Parton!

Crescent Hill Coffee

Crescent Hill Coffee is so much more than a mere coffee shop. The revolving art gallery that adorns the walls of this cozy space serves to complement the art that is being served in your cup or on your plate. Paintings of the likes of Dolly Parton and Betty White? I’m so there.

The rose matcha latte with vanilla and rose syrup is topped with rose petals and is almost too pretty to drink, and the Sunrise Espresso is an oddly delicious tall house-made lemonade topped with a double shot of espresso. Talk about refreshing.

Of course you can get a regular cup of coffee but I’m enamored by the craft of skillfully and artfully presented latte and a vegan baked good that I don’t mind or notice its veganness. 

Ntaba Coffee Haus

Ntaba Coffee Haus roasts and serves direct Africa trade coffee and tea, working with farmers to ensure that all their beans come directly from the best farms and co-ops in Africa. Ntaba has set out to create an authentic coffee haus where people come to share stories, build relationships, discuss opportunities and meet with friends old and new. 

Ntaba serves the perfect Cortado, equal parts espresso and warm milk, that gets my morning started with a fair trade coffee I can feel good about supporting. You can find them on Brownsboro Road, as well as two locations on Mellwood Avenue.

book at carmichael's bookstore in crescent hill louisville ky
Carmichael’s Bookstore has an amazing selection, like books about scandal and murder in Louisville?! Yes, please!

Browse Local Shops in Clifton and Crescent Hill

Clifton and Crescent Hill definitely exemplify the slogan “keep Louisville weird” with shopping offerings as diverse and eclectic as the residents themselves (me included!). You’ll find everything from antiques, men’s and women’s clothing and accessories to high-end decor. Some of our favorites include:

  • Guestroom Records: Not only Louisville’s best place for new vinyl releases, Guestroom has a huge collection of previously owned vinyl, CD and cassettes and the most knowledgeable music store staff in the area. Don’t have a record player? They have that too.
  • Carmichael’s Bookstore: The quintessential local bookstore. Browse carefully curated books and selections, including local authors, and then head a few doors down to Crescent Hill Coffee to enjoy your new book over a cup of coffee!
  • Evolve Men’s Resale Store: Evolve is the ever-evolving clothing and accessory store for men, all gently used and carefully curated. Find high-end brands like Gucci and Hermès, so you can be stylish and sustainable!
  • Posh Home: Home, lifestyle and gift boutique with everything from scents (the Apotheke Cedarwood Ginger Candle is heaven in a jar) and decor to accessories and children’s gifts. There is an art to being the best host/ess gift giver at a party and this is the best place to start.
  • Just Creations: From their website, ”Fair Trade means many things to artisans around the world, but to all it means a living wage, work with dignity, and hope for the future.” Jewelry, home goods, clothing – all as colorful as the stories of the artisans creating the goods – and I feel good purchasing them!
  • The Wine Rack: I typically buy spirits because I like the shape of the bottle, which means I buy wine because I like the fancy label, which means I know nothing of drink. Luckily, the knowledgeable staff at the wine rack can help me choose so I don’t look like a shallow fool to my friends with good taste. Pick up fancy cheese while you’re there to look really cool.
  • Mellowood Antique Mall: While the Mellwood Arts Center is full of all kinds of awesome artsy stores, it’s also home to Louisville’s largest antique mall at 45,000 square feet. You can find some incredible furniture, fine antiques, and plenty of strange and wonderful art. It’s like a maze inside – come and get lost!
See also
NuLu Neighborhood Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, Play & Stay
Garden in Crescent Hill in Louisville KY
Some of the gardens in Clifton & Crescent Hill are nothing short of magical.

Activities in Clifton & Crescent Hill

The Clifton and Crescent Hill neighborhoods are the kind of places where you can just walk around, exploring side streets and finding beautiful gardens and colorful old homes. Here are some of the best places to let your feet guide you for a truly gorgeous experience.

reservoir in crescent hill in louisville ky
The Gothic-style gatehouse is an iconic building in Crescent Hill, and has been standing since 1879.

Walk around the Reservoir

Built in 1879, the Gothic-style gatehouse looks like something out of Hogwarts and sits at the entrance to the 110-million gallon capacity reservoir, which was originally meant to hold enough water for a two-week supply, but today holds just under one day’s supply for the city.

The architect, and Louisville’s water chief engineer at the time, Charles Hermany, took inspiration for the gatehouse from a castle he saw along the banks of Germany during a Rhine River tour and came home to create the gatehouse. Seems he set out to show that functionality could also be stunningly beautiful!

The gatehouse is best enjoyed while taking the nearly one-mile path making a giant square around the reservoir, letting you see the gatehouse from all angles and enjoy the calm water glistening in the reservoir. The path is a favorite route for runners and walkers and on a nice day you’ll see all sorts of people enjoying the flat paved path.

Tours of the restored gatehouse are available on the second Wednesday of the month from May through September during Walking Wednesdays, and the reservoir path is open every day weather permitting. There is even an unofficial dog park at the base of the reservoir steps in the field across the road if you want your pup to get some playtime in too!

See also
The Highlands Neighborhood Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, Play & Stay

Check out the Victorian Homes 

Clifton homes of the 1880s and 1890s range between a modest shotgun of the laborer and the magnificent mansions that define the late Victorian Era. Some of the best examples of this architecture in Clifton can be seen on Frankfort Avenue near Coral Avenue, on Coral Avenue near Bingham Park, and Vernon Avenue overlooking Brownsboro Road. 

A walk down Coral Avenue from Frankfort towards Brownsboro is to walk back in time and imagine yourself sitting on one of the front porches of any one of these magnificent houses, most likely drinking lemonade, and even more likely, bourbon. The houses are surrounded in the spring and summer by lush gardens and flowering trees and all of them seem to sit high up off the sidewalks in a pompous glory.

Several of the houses have big square turrets jutting up from the corner and decorative and ornate gables, with brick and ironwork lining the edge of the properties. At the end of Coral Avenue, you find yourself in Bingham Park, completing the Victorian-life-of-leisure fantasy.

In Crescent Hill, you’ll find an exceptionally beautiful example of a landmark home at the Peterson Dumesnil House, an Italian villa-style house by renowned architect Henry Whitestone in 1869. The house is an event space for weddings and corporate events as well as a number of community events as well, like the Crescent Hill 4th of July Festival with fireworks and a cookout. You can visit the grounds and gander at the house whenever you like though!

Walk or Bike Down the Beargrass Creek Greenway

Behind the Payne Street Bakehouse, Locust Street ends at the entrance to the Beargrass Creek Greenway. The 1.33-mile paved path starts alongside I-64 until a sharp curve over a bridge puts you alongside Beargrass Creek on one side and the woods on the other.

Nature is in full glory in the summer where you might find a deer bounding through the woods, turtles sunning themselves on a rock in the creek, blue herons flying above the water, wildflowers blooming all around and me hobbling along the path thinking I can still outrun aging –  ahhh nature.

The path opens up to the corner of Grinstead and Lexington Road, just across the road from Cherokee Park if you want to continue your walking / biking / running adventure farther.

See also
Germantown Neighborhood Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, Play & Stay
waterfront botanical gardens in butchertown louisville ky
Nothing like gardens on a sunny day!

Check out Nature at the Waterfront Botanical Gardens

Located on what was once the Ohio Street Dump (yes, that’s right, dump!), the Waterfront Botanical Gardens is now a gathering place for nature lovers, flowers, and butterflies! And while technically in Butchertown, it’s right off Frankfort Avenue, so cut me a break, will ya?

As of today, the Gardens have developed 4 of their 23 acres into an edible garden with adjoining waterfall fountain, native gardens, and pollinator gardens, where you can see plants like coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, bee balm, and so much more. You can also take a walk down the new winding path which takes you down to the Butchertown Greenway, planted with colorful flowers along a waterfall stream. 

The plans for the future include a Japanese garden, a children’s garden, and a conservatory, which will be the Botanical Garden’s crown jewel housing tropical plants. Admission is free!

hilltop tavern and champagnery in clifton louisville ky
Some bars in Clifton and Crescent Hill are so close (how close are they!) they are literally side by side, like the Hilltop Tavern and the Champagnery!

Bars & Nightlife in Clifton and Crescent Hill

I mentioned in the intro that Clifton & Crescent Hill are the neighborhoods to take a chill pill and drink with adults, and it’s true! The bars here are generally more relaxed and the crowd you’ll find haunting them is generally more mature and not so college-y (remember those days?). So here are the best places to get a drink and be a cool cat.

See also
Old Louisville Neighborhood Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, Play & Stay
beer in front of hilltop tavern in clifton louisville ky
Go to the Hilltop Tavern and literally grab a beer! (Photo Credit: Mill Creek Brewing Co.)

Hilltop Tavern

The Hilltop Tavern feels like exactly what a good neighborhood bar should feel like – unpretentious, welcoming, with good, cheap drinks. This bar has become a beacon of Clifton, and part of the reason why is that the owners are super cool and have made the bar a safe haven for LGBT+ people, artists, and any other person who walks through the doors.

The inside is cozy with twinkling lights and local art – not to mention the graffiti of a larger-than-life tiger, elephant, dolphin, and praying mantis on their exterior wall. What was once a brothel at the turn of the century, is now a place of happy debauchery with good drinks, arcade games, and a fun crowd on almost every night of the week.

Besides the extensive drink options, including beers on tap and alcoholic slushees, it’s a great place to get food like their famous meatloaf sandwich which includes meatloaf piled on top of Texas toast with Swiss cheese served with Mac and cheese. How bad could that be?

Not sure which champagne to get? Try a champagne flight at the Champagnery!

The Champagnery

Sometimes you need a pinky-out kind of evening, you know? The Champagnery, Louisville’s first and only bar dedicated to sparkling wines and champagne is definitely the place to do that.

At this swanky bar which sits on the corner of Frankfort Avenue and Pope Street (across from the Hilltop Tavern), you can order champagne by the glass or the bottle, by the flight, or with spirits from around the globe and small bite pairings to highlight the bubbly. 

The bar also offers a refreshing cocktail list using sparkling wines and bubbles in some unique twists on traditional cocktails, an impressive “still” (no bubbles) wine list, beer featuring some local brews, and small bites like chocolate-covered strawberries, Champagnery Frites, and charcuterie. 

My inner fancy comes out and I always order the Champagne Cocktail d’Or, featuring champagne, sugar cube, bitters and gold dust. But then I pair it with my inner child’s craving for the Grilled Cheese Bites with Blue Dog cereal bread, Kenny’s white cheddar, Granny Smith and hot pepper jam. It’s called balance!

See also
Butchertown Neighborhood Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, Play & Stay
beer from apocalypse brew works in clifton louisville ky
Cheers to making it through the apocalypse. You’re doing a great job!

Apocalypse Brew Works

Who says sustainability and doomsday prepping can’t go hand in hand? Tucked away on Mellwood Ave, Apocalypse Brew Works is a small batch brewery that brews with solar-heated water and recycles their spent grain for cattle feed. Mmm, beer-fed beef… Their taphouse, The Fallout Shelter, is also built out of repurposed materials.

I’m also a major fan of head brewer and co-owner Leah Dienes. After getting her start racking up medals at the Kentucky State Fair, Leah has since grown to be a total beer industry bada$$ that judges prestigious beer competitions across the country.

It’s just too hard to choose the best thing about Apocalypse, but if we absolutely have to, it might have to be a pint of the thirst-quenching Cream-ation Cream Ale on the outside patio on a hot summer day.

There’s no on-site restaurant (although food trucks do occasionally pop in, especially during warm weather) but you’re within walking distance of the multitude of restaurants lining walkable Frankfort Avenue.

Oh, and bring your dog and the whole family: Apocalypse is both dog and kid-friendly!

Gallant Fox Beer and Pretzel
Gallant Fox Beer and Pretzel (Photo Credit: Gallant Fox Brewing)

Gallant Fox Brewing

You may have heard of this little thing called the Kentucky Derby? Well, Gallant Fox Brewing Company in Clifton is named after the 1930 Kentucky Derby-winning horse that went on to win the triple crown! 

In true Derby tradition, the taphouse caters to both beer and bourbon lovers. Their impressive bourbon list has over 150 choices (including vintage bottles), which is ideal if your party is made up of both beer and bourbon drinkers. 

Who knows, maybe your bourbon drinkers might be converted to beer drinkers with a glass of Sweet Steve, an American Pale Ale that’s got a light amber roast with an edge of sweet and juicy stone fruit.

But let’s be honest, the best part about Gallant Fox isn’t the beer or bourbon, but the wall collection of top hat gentlemen fox portraits. Tally-Ho! Feel free to bring your dog and dress it up in a little top hat, too.

See also
NuLu Neighborhood Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, Play & Stay
drinks at the hub louisville
Weekend Brunch at the Hub will get your weekend going with a bang! (Photo Credit: @jess.amburgey)

The Hub

The struggle is real in how to define The Hub in Clifton. Upscale dining Wednesday through Saturday, with craft cocktails and beer, notched-up American Cuisine, and outdoor pet-friendly patio.

Then comes the weekend and the Hub turns into a 21-and-over night club with Latin Night on Friday night and VIP bottle service, live DJ, and dance parties until 4am on Saturdays.

On weekend mornings, The Hub is a brunch destination and a Sunday Funday hangout. And to describe this place as a restaurant/salsa bar/nightclub/brunch/weekend day-drinking bar hardly seems adequate.

Add in cocktails infused with Fruity Pebbles, or the Tipsy Unicorn served in a unicorn with sprinkles (how do they know me so well?) as well as twists on classics, bloody marys and mimosas, Eggs in Purgatory on the brunch menu, Hub Pickles, $5 Whiskey Wednesdays, drag shows on the weekends…

The Hub takes dining, dancing and Sunday Funday and turns it all on its head in the best possible way. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

See also
The Highlands Neighborhood Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, Play & Stay
flowering tree in clifton louisville ky
With some many adorable places to stay you may never want to leave!

Where to Stay in Clifton / Crescent Hill

Clifton and Crescent Hill are short on hotels and big commercial lodging, but rich in VRBO apartments and rooms for rent right in the heart of both neighborhoods. You can find historic homes or modernized accommodations, close to all the wonderful food and attractions the neighborhood has to offer.

  • Directly in the heart of Clifton off the Frankfort Avenue corridor, this beautifully decorated historic home is within walking distance of some of the best local hot spots. Walk to local favorite Heine Bros Coffee with a great covered patio, local favorite ice cream shop, the Comfy Cow, all just a short jaunt out the door. Inside is tastefully decorated with art and decor that complement the tall ceilings, hardwood floors and historic feel of the space. The only complaint from the reviews was that their stay wasn’t long enough.
  • This updated second-floor apartment with three bedrooms and shared outdoor spaces sits in Crescent Hill within walking distance of Blue Dog Bakery and Cafe and shopping at Posh Home. The space is modern and very tastefully appointed, and great for a small group getaway to relax, unwind and spend some quality time together in this quaint part of Louisville.
  • Sitting atop Clifton’s “ultimate brunch experience” Morning Fork is a modern one-bedroom apartment with a deck overlooking Frankfort Avenue. The apartment is within walking distance of the Silver Dollar, the Champagnery and Hilltop Tavern, Guestroom Records and mere feet of breakfast, lunch and dinner just below at Morning Fork and Fork & Barrel. The apartment has a modern kitchen with new appliances, dining room and patio table and chairs for dining outside but with the proximity of delicious dining options so close, I’m not sure you’ll need it!

Map of Clifton & Crescent Hill

Wish you had a map with all of the stuff in this post? Well, wish granted: we made ya one! Bookmark this page to come back to next time you’re exploring Clifton & Crescent Hill.

About the Author: Southern Indiana native but Louisvillian since the 90s, JD Dotson left the glamorous world of secondary education to open and operate a fun, quirky local gift shop Regalo with his husband of 22 years, make art, raise a horde of chihuahuas and occasionally get out and explore the country. When he is not being attacked by furry little terrors, JD helps people realize their fitness goals at Breathe and Move 502 in Shelby Park.

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The Clifton and Crescent neighborhoods are home to unique shops, beautiful Victorian houses, and plenty of gardens and flowers lining the streets. Here you can eat a delicious, local meal, shop at unique boutique stores, and grab a drink with adults who have graduated from the craziness of Bardstown Road and who just want a drink with other adults. Let's look at all the best things the Clifton and Crescent Hill neighborhoods have to offer!
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