Bucket List: Best Places to Honky Tonk in Kentucky

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Whether you live in Kentucky or plan to visit soon, you need to pay a visit to an authentic honky-tonk bar at least once. As you go down this bucket list of bars, you might notice a general pattern. Namely, most of them feature live music, dancing, lots of bourbon and at least one mechanical bull. So if these features are a must in your bar of choice, check out these honky-tonk places in Kentucky.

1. The Silver Dollar

Whether you’re looking for the best chicken and waffles in town or the most impressive selection of bourbon around, this honky-tonk bar is where it’s at. This popular bar is located in an old restored fire station on Frankfort Avenue in Louisville, and it’s known for its delicious food and rich history. It’s actually based on the great honky-tonk bars in California that were opened by Southerners who had moved to Bakersfield in the 1930s. So now you can pay your respects to them with every visit to the Silver Dollar!


2. Austin City Saloon

If you want a rowdy atmosphere that’s made for line dancing and listening to live music, check out this bar in Lexington. You might recognize the names of some of the musicians who got their start here, with John Michael Montgomery being just one of them. Be sure to take a ride on the mechanical bull before you leave this bar!


3. Manny & Merle

Another option for live music and dancing in Kentucky is Manny & Merle on Louisville’s Whiskey Row. The bar was built in the 1920s and is stocked with a huge selection of tequila, bourbon and more. Whether you want to enjoy your dinner in a fun environment or dance to live music provided by talented local musicians, a visit to this honky-tonk establishment should reveal why it’s so popular.

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4. Bobby Mackey’s Music World

If you’re looking for both fun and adventure, you might get more than you bargained for when you head to Bobby Mackey’s Music World in Wilder. This place is widely known as being haunted because of its history as the site of a slaughterhouse and several murders dating back to the 1800s. The good news is that this means it’s one of the only bars in Kentucky where you can get a ghost tour to go along with your food, drinks and mechanical bull rides. That alone warrants a visit!


Have you been to any of these or similar honky-tonk bars in Kentucky?

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