On Dec. 5, 1933, the 13-year last call known as Prohibition finally ended, and Americans everywhere — except for those in the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union — celebrated. Each year, we continue to mark the occasion not because it’s a good excuse to drink a beer or shake a cocktail, but because it signifies triumph over the noble and utterly ridiculous experiment.
In Louisville, Prohibition decimated our bourbon distilleries and breweries, and Whiskey Row essentially became a ghost town, taken over by other businesses. There were six distilleries that were allowed to keep producing whiskey for medicinal purposes, but all the others — hundreds — were shuttered.
On Wednesday, Dec. 5, several local spots are celebrating just as they did in 1933. Here’s a look at a few of them …
What better way to commemorate the occasion than by rolling a bourbon barrel down the street in parade-style fashion? Starting at 4:30 p.m., Bourbons Bistro owner Jason Brauner will gather anyone who wants to join and roll his Maker’s Mark Private Select barrel from The Wine Rack (2632 Frankfort Ave.) to Bourbons Bistro (2255 Frankfort Ave.).
The party will continue at the bar and restaurant afterward, featuring drink and food specials. We even hear there might be $1 bourbon shots.
Bourbon author and historian Michael Veach hosts these intimate discussions and tasting several times a year at Oxmoor Farm. Since this one falls on Repeal Day, that’ll be the topic of the evening, and Veach will welcome guests Fred Minnick and Carla Carlton, both bourbon authors, as well as Sally Van Winkle, granddaughter of Julian “Pappy” Van Winkle and author of “Always Fine Bourbon.”
Each guest brings a bottle of bourbon with them to share with the audience, and a vintage bottle from Oxmoor Farm’s wine cellar will be opened as well. On Wednesday, it will be a bottle of Very Old Fitzgerald from 1955. The event runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and admission is $79.
If you haven’t been to this live music venue located below Another Place Sandwich Shop on South Seventh Street, now is your chance, because they’re waving the cover charge in celebration of Repeal Day. Plus, you’ll hear live music by The Derby City Dandies, who will play swing tunes from the ’20s and ’30s. The entire event is sponsored by Wild Turkey and Grand Marnier, so the cocktails should be on point. It runs from 8 p.m. to midnight.
This three-in-one event features a tour, a talk and a tasting, all in the name of Repeal Day. After a full tour of the distillery, Penny Peavler, president and CEO of the Frazier History Museum, will lead a discussion on the strange days of the 18th and 21st amendments. Afterward, there will be special cocktails at ALEX&NDER. The event runs from 6 to 9 p.m., and admission is $20.
These two watering holes are banding together to celebrate the occasion, beginning first at Monnik and then moving over to Butchertown Social later on. The party is free, and there will be special Prohibition-style cocktails and finger foods. Over at Social, there will be live music as well. If you come dressed in your favorite 1920s attire, you’ll get a free treat. It runs from 6 p.m. to midnight.
From 4 p.m. to midnight, this rooftop bar is saying farewell to the 18th Amendment with old-school cocktails, live music and even a VIP bourbon tasting hosted by Old Forester. The party is free, but if you want to participate in the tasting, it’ll set you back $20.
Meta gets bonus points by being extra. On Wednesday, the downtown cocktail bar is celebrating five years in business, choosing specifically Repeal Day as its anniversary date. There’s an entire list of free stuff going down from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., including enamel pins, food by Chef Patrick Roney, Derby City Soul Club DJs, drink specials, giveaways, T-shirts and more. The entire Meta staff will be behind the bar as well.
We love a good dinner special, and if you happen to be in Clarksville Wednesday night, here’s one for you. Bubba’s is offering $5.33 classic cheeseburgers and single bacon burgers, as well as $3.33 wings, beers and specialty drinks — all in the name of Repeal Day. There’s also 33-cent Reposado Rockers for your margarita, which we assume means an extra shot of tequila? Nice. Deals run from 4 p.m. to midnight.