Though the official grand opening of Sidebar at Whiskey Row isn’t scheduled until May 14, the better burger, cocktail-centered, classy-casual restaurant officially opened to the public this week for both lunch and dinner.

Located at 129 N. Second Street (directly across from the KFC Yum! Center, which will make it a prime spot for pre- and post-game grub), operating hours are 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Wednesday, and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Richard Ruth, formerly of The St. Charles Exchange, is the operating partner and general manager. He’s cobbled together an excellent crew of servers and bartenders, and hired Jason Scot Pierce and Richard Schaefer to oversee the kitchen.
The place was getting rave reviews last week from patrons invited to its soft-opening events. We were among that lucky hoard, and we wolfed down terrific burgers, fries and milkshakes—ours were alcoholic, which, if you’re an adult, is the way to go—from a limited but still diverse menu. (For those not into beef, there’s a tuna burger and a veggie burger, as well as some snappy salads.) Unfortunately, the menu isn’t yet online.
Like the food menu, the bar offerings are smartly limited but well done: six draft and 13 bottled beers; four wine choices; a good range of midlevel and premium spirits and about a half dozen rotating barrel-aged cocktails. And given Ruth’s history at St. Charles, you can imagine the drinks are good.
Eager to lure more customers downtown, Sidebar is working to get customer parking validated at nearby lots, hosting live Bluegrass music on select nights, and promoting a deal with Yellow Cab that allows Sidebar patrons to get a flat-rate ride home to neighborhoods within the Watterson Expressway. All smart moves.
So now it’s your turn: Make plans to check out downtown Louisville’s newest restaurant. You’ll thank us for it. (Call 384-1600 for more information.)