Beers For All Occasions

An Experiment in Social Drinking

ZaZoo’s

Located in an unassuming building near the corner of Frankfort and Bauer Avenues is ZaZoo’s, a funky little spot that claims to be a sports bar with a classy vibe. You can find ZaZoo’s online here, and in person at 102 Bauer Ave, across from the Frankfort Avenue Wal-Green’s.

ZaZoo’s has been on Bauer Ave for 5 years, and was a traditional Irish pub previously. Named after the bird in the Lion King, this joint stays true to its Irish roots by running TWO happy hours. Sunday through Friday, happy hour runs from 4 to 7:30, with $2 domestics and $2 wells, then Sunday through Thursday happy hour starts AGAIN at 11, and run through 4 am. There are also shot specials which run all week.  The beer list is standard, but solid with PBR, Smithwicks, Harp and Newcastle all on tap, and a decent spread of run of the mill bottled beers, including Red Stripe.

The environment at ZaZoo’s is sort of low-key sophistication. The basic tile floor is off-set by the intricately carved bar, topped with tiles from Ireland. The giant dry-erase board announcing the weekly specials doesn’t look quite so typical when you consider the smoking courtyard out front. Drinker beware however, the layout of ZaZoo’s lends itself to traffic jams by the bar and front door, and seating away from the bar is somewhat limited. The tables and chairs in front of the building, in the paved court consistutes the only space available to smokers, and it is entirely open to the elements. Regardless, the staff at ZaZoo’s is incredibly friendly and loyal to their bar, making you feel welcome right away.  

For entertainment, ZaZoo’s offers a variety of live music acts, with DJs on Thursdays, and High Five Fridays every fourth Friday. For those of you who haven’t heard yet, High Five Friday is an opportunity for local rap artists to get together and freestyle, which sounds like something this Beerologist just has to experience. They also host quite a few live acoustic acts, often outside, a great summer-time diversion. If it happens to be an evening without live music entertainment, ZaZoo’s boasts one of those nifty internet jukeboxes, and of course plenty of room to dance your socks off. However, it is important to mention that there aren’t any open mic or karaoke nights available at ZaZoo’s.

One of the best things about ZaZoo’s has to be their expanded menu. Used to be, ZaZoo’s just served your basic pub grub, but in recent times they’ve managed to add a lot of tasty things for those with a finer palate, including pesto flatbread, salads, bison burgers, and pizzas. Entree costs run from $6-$8, and pizzas are all $15 or less. Sounds good, right? We thought so, too.

In the near future, ZaZoo’s will be opening a lounge next door to the bar proper, called Top Shelf. Top Shelf will have its own bar, and is rigged so that anyone can plug in an iPod or iPhone for musical harmony. The lounge will be available for private parties and business meetings just as soon as their permits get finalized.

ZaZoo’s is incredibly friendly to local music, and is participating in the Peak Summit music festival, so swing by and give them some Louisville lovin.

All things taken into account, these beers are for making a joyful noise. Rock, rap, croon, and holler on Louisville!

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June 11, 2009 Posted by | St. Matthews | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Bambi Bar

We’ve all heard the name. We know the walk. We know the burgers. Now, allow us to introduce you to the bar behind the legend. Located at 2701 Bardstown Road, The Bambi Bar has been in operation since at least 1955, and is family-friendly, hosting a little league team after their games. They serve only beer and wine, have an internet jukebox (which was religiously playing country music), and welcome your kiddos at a reasonable hour. The place is frequented by a tight-knit circle of regulars, and there’s never any trouble. The low ceiling, well-loved bar, and panelled walls make the Bambi Bar welcoming and comfortable, and the regulars are happy to strike up a conversation with you about anything and everything.

When we visited The Bambi Bar we met Wayne, a bass player and the best short-order cook in Louisville. Wayne’s been at the Bambi Bar for 17 years, and he was able to give us all the inside information on the history of the joint. What we now know as a bar used to be an old-fashioned fill station. The new owner has made tons of improvements, including turning the fill station’s old ice house into a kick ass smoking room, complete with heaters in the winter, industrial fans in the summer, tons of seating and a sizeable bar. There’s additional outdoor, picnic table seating on the patio.

So why the Bambi Bar? Wayne was able to tell us that too. Its called The Bambi Bar because the first owner of the bar wallpapered his kid’s bedroom in Bambi wallpaper, and used the excess to paper the front wall of the bar. Wayne says the wallpaper is probably still in the bar, under layers and layers of paint and panelling. Whether or not you’re into little deer, you’re gonna love this bar.

We would be ridiculously remiss if we did not give you the history of the bar hop that’s been keeping Louisville weird for the last 40 years. It all started in the early 70’s, with 5 bored fellas. They would spend Saturday afternoons riding the bus from the Outlook Inn down to the Bambi Bar. That’s right, Bambi Bar used to be the end of the walk, but as more people learned about the hop, and more bars popped up along Bardstown Rd., the owners decided to let someone else clean up the puke. Now, the big Bambi Walk happens in August, every year around the Fair, and of course begins at the Bambi Bar itself. People start their own, impromtu walks all the time, especially in celebration of 21st birthdays. Come on…you know you tried to do the entire walk for your 21st birthday! Its a virtual rite of passage for Louisvillians, and is definitely on par with wearing a big hat to the Derby.

You don’t need to do anything special to start your own Bambi Walk – just get a group of friends together, give yourself plenty of time and use City Scoot to stay safe!

So, in honor of this legendary Louisville bar, these beers are for tradition, and Bambi walkers everywhere.

May 21, 2009 Posted by | Bambi Walk, The Highlands | , , , , , , | 1 Comment