When Nic Christiansen moved to Louisville five years ago, she intended to follow her dream of becoming a chef in our thriving restaurant scene. And then she tried bourbon for the first time.
“I fell in love with this crazy thing called bourbon,” she tells Insider. “There was so much history, different mash bills, different distilling styles and so many distinctly different bourbons. I had to make cocktails.”
Now you’ll find Christiansen behind the bar at Lola, the newly renamed and rebranded bar upstairs from Butchertown Grocery. While her title is beverage director, it’s fine if you call her bartender — as long as you call on her next time you’re in the mood for a traditional cocktail or one of her 14 original creations inspired by Tom Waits tunes on the new menu at Lola.
She also added a $5 shot list that includes an interesting item called Green Chartreuse.
Butchertown Grocery’s chef and owner Bobby Benjamin considers Lola the living room to the downstairs restaurant’s dining room. And the dark and swanky atmosphere is inviting, comfortable and just a little bit mischievous — especially after a drink or two.
Lola has its own pared-down menu of affordable and tasty appetizers and sandwiches, and it’ll occasionally host live music and other events. It’s open Thursday through Saturday, 6 p.m.-2 a.m., and Wednesday and Sunday, 6 p.m.-midnight.
We caught up with Christiansen while she was whipping up a negroni and asked her some very important questions …
What’s the most surprising thing on your Bucket List?
I don’t really have a Bucket List, but I want to live and travel through Southeast Asia for at least six months.
What poster was on your wall in junior high?
Probably Mia Hamm or Rancid.
If you were mayor, to whom would you give the key to the city?
Dale DeGroff — he is one of the biggest reasons we have great craft cocktails in the states. After Prohibition, we lost our cocktail scene. Dale helped bring us back to our roots … bartenders who are passionate about making proper cocktails with quality ingredients.
What are your preferred pizza toppings?
Pepperoni, banana peppers and mushrooms. Then I top it with lots of crushed red pepper.
If you could be any age for a week, what would it be?
I guess 80 — that would be a very eye-opening week. If I could see what the world will be like in 50 years, I would come back with invaluable information.
What famous person do people say you resemble the most?
People don’t really say I look like anyone famous, but my hair can definitely channel Bruno Mars. Only when it’s wild.
Who would you most like to be stuck with in an elevator?
(Wild Turkey master distiller) Jimmy Russell. He knows so much about our bourbon history, I could definitely learn a lot. Plus, I’ve already been in an elevator with him, and he is the coolest person.