Old Louisville Tavern. Photos by Carly Garcia
Old Louisville Tavern. Photos by Carly Garcia

Until last week’s tragic fire, the Old Louisville Tavern was the only place in the city where you could hear a live DJ, sing karaoke, play trivia, and have your favorite beer on tap along with a deliciously fresh all-you-can-eat taco bar for under $10.

And it goes without saying that the bar and grill, being in the heart of Old Louisville with such great deals and fun opportunities, was a popular place for every crowd and home to countless regulars. Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, right?

Now, the recently remodeled building is vacant with visible fire damage and boarded windows, leaving several faithful regulars without their go-to spot, and not to mention a handful of Louisville’s friendliest bartenders temporarily without a job.

According to Louisville Metro Fire Department spokesman Capt. Salvador Melendez, the fire at the Old Louisville Tavern was one of several arsons that took place on July 22, and the man who is responsible was caught on a surveillance camera behind the building, and has been arrested for starting the fire. Luckily, no one was inside when the building was ablaze, as it started in the early hours of the morning after the bar had been closed.

Fire damage to the back of the building
Fire damage to the back of the building.

Though the building still stands, it suffered extensive fire damage throughout its second story, along with water damage and shattered windows in the lower level dining and bar area.

Thankfully, owners of the bar, Dan Borsch and Scott Lukemire, plan to re-open the Old Louisville Tavern in the near future, once the building has been repaired.

However, what about the Tavern’s employees during the months between now and then?

“The bartenders [of the Tavern] have always been so friendly, they’ve really made me feel fortunate to have such a great place in the neighborhood,” says Katie Carrigan, Old Louisville resident and frequent customer of the Old Louisville Tavern. “It’s so terrible that they’re the victims of this crime.”

And Carrigan isn’t the only one concerned. Councilman David James (D-6) knows the importance of locally owned businesses, which is why he is hosting a fundraising event for the employees who are now temporarily out of work.

The fundraiser will begin tonight, Aug. 1, at 5:30 p.m. on the front patio of the Old Louisville Tavern. Free appetizers and non-alcoholic drinks will be served to those in attendance. There will be a tip jar at the event, and Councilman James is asking for donations to directly benefit the employees and their families during this difficult time.
Councilman James also asks that those who cannot donate please still come and show your support for the owners and the future of the Old Louisville Tavern.

The Old Louisville Tavern is located at 1532 S. Fourth St., at the corner of Fourth and Gaulbert Avenue. Street parking is available.

Carly Garcia has been a proud resident of Louisville since moving to the city from Radcliff, Kentucky in 2011 to attend the University of Louisville. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in English in December of 2013. Formerly Insider Louisville's inaugural intern, Carly now freelances.


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