Monday, September 10, 2012

Meet Meat: Louisville's Own Speakeasy

I'm going to start off by saying that Louisville can still seriously surprise me after so much time. I don't know why I'm so surprised all the time, probably because I just love getting excited about everything, but seriously Louisville, way to be awesome in your own unique way. This is brought up because recently I was recommended to go to a speakeasy-style bar over the Blind Pig. Now, I've indulged in the Blind Pig and I know how incredible it is (I must write a review!), so I was chomping at the bit to get to the secret upstairs!

 **Note: the pictures are very dark...c'mon it's a speakeasy!

I made it. It is everything I dreamed it would be!

Take the plunge...
This particular night, we were meeting a friend to celebrate her birthday. Normally you would think that one would pick a place everyone had been to before. That's not how we roll, and I couldn't be happier! I'm going to take you through our evening, and you'll see why...

The only indication that there is anything upstairs is a small painted sign that says Meat with an arrow pointing up. There is a long staircase that leads you to the second floor of a Butchertown brick and mortar building. You look up from the staircase and meet a grey steel door with a single red light illuminated overhead. My friend and I hesitated with both fear and curiosity. To me mingled apparitions from a history rife with prohibition-era gangsters and flapper girls materialized. Also visions of meat lockers and slaughterhouses flashed by, but I relied on the romanticism of the former to bring me through.

We entered through a long and dark labyrinth-like hallway, the first sight we met was literally hanging meat, working with the slaughterhouse premonition, but it wasn't off-putting (as it was cured meat, and I'm pretty used to that coming from Spain). Still, we embraced the haunted house feel as we turned the next corner and met yet another long hallway with a single lamp-lit desk featuring the menu. At that point we caught our breath a little...

The inside entrance was masked by a heavy damask curtain, which parted in the middle only offering a tiny glimpse of what could be on the other side. Excited is an understatement. Behind the curtain was an inviting space with two plush couch and chair seating areas, a long table with swing out chairs, and a long stand up bar separate from the central wrap-around beacon of a bar. There was an additional room that continued towards the back with seating as well. The central bar was placed in front of a billboard-sized mural saying Meet me in Butchertown. Perfect.

Meat's central horseshoe-style bar

Ambiguous Smile

On top of all this amazingness the Derby City Soul Club was spinning wax with Matt Anthony. I was starstruck that night because I am a long-time fan of Matt Anthony from the Friday Night Soundclash on WFPK. He is a serious musical genius, and I mustered up enough courage to actually introduce myself (nearly genuflecting) and to thank him for creating musical fusion like I've never heard from anyone else. If you are lost at this point, start off by tuning into 91.9 WFPK on Friday evenings before you go out...and you'll quickly understand where I'm coming from. We are lucky, fellow Louisvillians, very lucky.

Now let's get to the cocktails and nibblies! I can tell you that Meat has the best cocktail list currently in existence in Louisville--I don't think this is just my own opinion. You go there and you will not be disappointed. For those who may be intimidated, the menu actually guides you in the right direction by organizing the drinks into Well, Medium, and Rare categories based on complexity. My first try was the Meat Julep, because I had to start with bourbon, which looks like their specialty (naw, really?). Everyone chose different cocktails and everyone was in love with whatever they picked. I like that the cocktails were thoughtful, well-presented, and didn't overdo it.  Later, I actually went off menu because I heard yet another rumor that one of the bartenders--you'll have to find out yourself because I'm not naming names ;)-- makes a killer Old Fashioned...and yes, sir he does! Love rumors in a speakeasy!
Meat Julep: Served in a silver tumbler

The bar not only serves delicious cocktails in every way, shape, and form, but they also have a carousel of jumbo jars full of snacks!!! The choice of nibblies is varied and plentiful from gingersnaps to pretzel chips and nuts to veggie crisps, which are doled out by little silver scoops into wax paper packets. It adds a nice playful note to a place that already makes me feel way cooler than I am. Yep, I'm going back.

Good people, phenomenal music, and scrumptious drinks made for a great birthday celebration. Next time I will be indulging in a dinner at the Blind Pig before I sneak upstairs to see what's going on at Meat. I don't think it is possible to have a bad time there--Three cheers for Meat!

<psst!> Spread it around and bring some friends, but keep it on the down low ;) Also, be responsible, as Meat reminds you on the menu, you can't ride all the rides at don't even try it.

1076 East Washington Street
Louisville, KY 40206
Phone: 502.354.3212 

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