City Portrait

Braking Points: Louisville’s Hot Spots

The best of Louisville’s burgeoning bike scene and more

photo: Tec Petaja


WHERE TO EAT + DRINK 

The Blind Pig
Aside from house-cured meats, this cozy gastropub offers sophisticated takes on European comfort food such as oyster fritters with champagne butter. theblindpiglouisville.com

Harvest
Fresh, local, and refined: A recent menu at Harvest included a burger with chèvre and hog jowl bacon, as well as lighter fare, like herb ricotta gnocchi with asparagus, smoked onions, and ramps. harvestlouisville.com

Holy Grale
Tucked into a former church on Bardstown Road between Cherokee Park and the waterfront, Holy Grale specializes in hard-to-find imported and domestic beers and serves high-end versions of bar snack classics, such as poutine and Gruyère grilled cheeses on brioche. holygralelouisville.com

Milkwood
Southern soul food married with Asian flavors—think collard greens with spicy kimchi and pork—makes up the menu at chef Edward Lee’s new restaurant, located in the basement of the venerable Actors Theatre of Louisville.milkwoodrestaurant.com

Quills Coffee
Situated across from the meet-up spot for one of the Louisville Bicycle Club’s regular rides, Quills is a cyclist hangout. And the coffee is a welcome perk. Baristas can trace the origins of the beans used for each select-grade roast. quillscoffee.com

WHAT TO SEE + DO

Bardstown Road Bicycle Company 
Along with new bikes and gear for sale, this locally owned shop houses a mini bike museum that includes antique high-wheel models dating back to the 1880s. You can also rent comfortable upright cruisers that are ideal for city touring. bardstownroadbicycles.com

Big Four Pedestrian & Bicycle Bridge
This onetime railroad truss bridge has been updated to create a car-free path across the Ohio River. The ramp to Indiana isn’t expected to be open until October, but you can take in river views with access via the on-ramp at the Louisville waterfront. louisvillewaterfront.com

Cherokee Park
This Frederick Law Olmsted–designed park brings rural serenity to metro Louisville. Rugged trails offer a challenge for mountain bikers, and the paved scenic loop is perfect for family rides. louisvilleky.gov/metroparks

Eva Bandman Park
The city’s cyclo-cross park attracts some of the best riders in the world. Come to check out a race or tackle the obstacles and rolling hills on your own. louisvilleky.gov/metroparks

Hike, Bike & Paddle 
Join thousands for this event on Labor Day, when you can paddle up Beargrass Creek, pedal through Old Louisville to Iroquois Park, or hike the eastern section of Waterfront Park. louisvilleky.gov/HealthyHometown

Louisville Bicycle Club
More than 1,200 members strong, the 116-year-old group organizes rides for every skill set. Enthusiasts gather for the Old Kentucky Home Tour (September 7–8), a two-day ride through rural Kentucky with an overnight stopover in bourbon-centric Bardstown. louisvillebicycleclub.org

Vic's owner Victor Miller with a vintage model.

photo: Tec Petaja

Gear Shift

Vic’s owner Victor Miller with a vintage model.

Vic’s Classic Bikes
The spot to find finely crafted and fully restored seventies and eighties road bikes. Shop more than three hundred retro styles or bring in a rusty old favorite for a handle-to-fender makeover. vicsclassicbikes.com

WHERE TO STAY  

21C Museum Hotel
Close to both Eva Bandman Park and the growing restaurant and shopping scene on East Market Street, the sophisticated 21c doubles as a contemporary art museum, so you can browse current exhibits before hitting the pavement. On weekends, downtown traffic is easily navigated on two wheels. 21cmuseumhotels.com/louisville


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