Hilltop Tavern on Frankfort Avenue | Photo courtesy of Hilltop Tavern

Hilltop Tavern, a bar and barbecue-centered spot in Clifton, recently closed without warning due to plumbing issues that had compromised the flooring of the structure.

Co-owner Erika Skelton told IL that Hilltop will reopen but had to close to “make necessary improvements to the structure and mechanicals of our beautiful old building.”

The brick structure — built in 1890, according to Jefferson County property records — has been home to a number of businesses in recent years, with Hilltop Tavern being one that has established itself as a neighborhood staple. Skelton confirmed that the problem is with plumbing, which has seriously damaged flooring, necessitating replacement.

A sign on the building at the corner of Frankfort and Pope streets simply states, “Closed for remodel,” and directs people to the Hilltop Tavern Facebook page for details.

Hilltop’s Facebook post announcing the closure took a comical approach.

An employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “It sucks, especially for the kitchen staff. It was unexpected.”

However, when Hilltop does return, it will be new and improved, according to Shelton, who on Sunday said: “We should be reopening within a couple weeks with a facelift and some new stuff, too.” She did not elaborate on what changes, aside from the necessary plumbing and flooring replacement, are in the works.

One customer said on Facebook: “We will certainly miss our fave neighborhood hangout! Keep us updated on the reopen date! It’d be cool if we could get a big reunion group to come out when you all are back up and running to spend some [money] to make up for any lost revenue.”

Kevin Gibson covers everything from food to music to beer to bourbon. He loves bacon, loathes cucumbers and once interviewed Yoko Ono (pissed her off a little, too). Check out his books, “Louisville Beer: Derby City History on Draft” and “100 Things to do in Louisville Before You Die.” He has won numerous awards for his work but doesn’t know where most of them are now. In his spare time, he co-hosts a local radio show and plays in a band called the Uncommon Houseflies. Check out his blog, 502Brews.com, or feel free to call him names on Twitter: @kgramone.


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