Despite the fact that Louisville’s weather is hit or miss for the majority of the year, rooftop venues are still a hot commodity when it comes to hosting events. People may not want to be outside the entire time, but they at least like the option.

The Brown Hotel, 335 W. Broadway, has now joined the ranks of the venues such as the Frazier History Museum and the Ice House that offer rooftop gathering spaces for weddings, networking events and holiday parties. Though, to be fair, The Brown Hotel had a rooftop garden decades before either of those two venues existed. Starting back in 1928, the historic hotel hosted “lavish dance parties” on its top floor and terrace, according to hotel management. However, the space closed in February 1971.

Hotel management found out about the space’s history after looking through reams of records and newspaper clips about The Brown Hotel, said Brad Walker, the hotel’s general manager. He added that the hotel had been looking to renovate the roof space for a while.

“It just makes sense. It’s a great space,” he said.

The 93-year-old Brown Hotel just reopened the rooftop garden and 16th floor event space after six months of renovations, which cost $950,000. The 3,600-square-foot venue features copper and wrought iron accents, views looking toward downtown and the river, and new landscaping. It can hold up to 300 guests for standing receptions and 200 for a seated dinner.

“We are constantly looking to upgrade the hotel,” Walker said, particularly to keep up with the slate of new hotels coming online downtown. “A hotel is something you’ve got to invest in every year.”

For smaller networking events, the rental rate will range from $1,000 to $1,250, but the price varies based on the size of the event, the day of the week and time of year. For example, a seated dinner will cost $50 a person, he said.

During Louisville’s warmer months, The Brown Hotel plans to offer pop-up dining events and live music nights reminiscent of the parties and $1.50 dinners it used to have in during the last century. “Same great service, same great food, only 50 times the rate,” Walker said regarding the $1.50 dinners.

Currently, the only rooftop space with regular public access is the bar and restaurant 8UP Elevated Drinkery & Kitchen, which sits at the top of the Hilton Garden Inn at Fourth and Chestnut streets.

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Caitlin Bowling
Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]