Matthew Landan at Haymarket Whiskey Bar | Courtesy of Haymarket

The bar business can be a brutal one, but luckily, Louisville is the kind of town that supports its nightlife ventures — as long as the drinks and ambiance are enticing and affordable. No one knows this more than Matthew Landan, who, five years ago, transformed his East Market Street coffee shop into a bourbon bar and live music venue.

Haymarket Whiskey Bar celebrates its fifth anniversary tonight, Jan. 13, with drink specials, music and even a midnight toast with bourbon. The party starts at 8 p.m., with specials including whiskey and bourbon prices from when Landan first opened the bar, which has been written up by the likes of Esquire, Bourbon Review, Men’s Journal and Travel & Leisure.

Landan says he’ll have $4 pours of Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, Jim Beam and Old Forester, as well as $3 Mellow Corn shots. There also will be $7 cocktails and swag giveaways. And, as an ode to the beginning, local band Squeeze-Bot, who played the very first show at Haymarket, will return for another go-round.

Haymarket’s Old Fashioned is one of the best. | Photo by Sara Havens

“It’s been an amazing five years,” says Landan in a press release. “Who would have thought there would be so much growth in the downtown Louisville bourbon scene five years ago?”

When he first opened Derby City Espresso 10 years ago, Slugger Field had just opened, there was no Big Four pedestrian bridge or even a plan for building more bridges, and there were no distilleries in downtown. Now, we’ve got Angel’s Envy, Peerless, Evan Williams, Copper & King’s, Jim Beam and many more on the way.

Haymarket is known for its extensive bourbon collection and bartenders who know their way around a cocktail. In fact, Haymarket was mentioned as serving up one of the top Old Fashioneds in my recent addendum of the top spots to find our city’s official drink.

“We are very grateful to our customers and the city at large, and to our friends and partners in the bourbon and spirits community and industry for all the support,” says Landan. “We promise to continue to set the standard for hospitality, bartending, education and customer experience, and we are determined to keep bourbon weird in the years to come.”

Haymarket is located at 331 E. Market St.

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Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."