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What Is a Bourbon Bar and What Can You Find There?

picture of bourbon drinks

Bourbon lies at the base of the United States. In 2019, Kentucky distilleries produced more than 1.7 million barrels of bourbon. That’s 95 percent of the world’s supply of the drink.

There is nothing more American than bourbon or the bourbon bar. Yet many people never visited one, and they don’t know what to expect.

How should you order a glass of bourbon? What kind of food or catering can you get at a bar? What does a bar offer for private events and live entertainment?

Answer these questions and you can have a night you’ll remember at a premium bourbon bar. Here is your quick guide.

Bourbon 

As you might imagine, the primary attraction of a bourbon bar is the bourbon. Bourbon is a variant of whiskey made from corn, producing a sweeter drink than other whiskeys. Each bar has its own bottle list, but there are many kinds of bourbon that are popular like Barrell and Old Forester.

Ordering bourbon is its own art form. You should identify a brand by name when you order a drink. If you don’t, the bartender may bring you a lower-quality product.

If you are new to drinking bourbon, start by ordering a low-proof brand. See if you can find one that is made in small batches, which can help concentrate the flavor.

“Neat” bourbon is served plain, with nothing added to it. You can also order your bourbon “on the rocks,” which adds ice. Some people like to mix their bourbon with club soda, ginger ale, or Coca-Cola as well.

A “dram” is a small shot of whiskey. A fluid dram in the United States equals 1/8th of an ounce, but bars can serve bigger drinks. A “balanced dram” is a smooth and refreshing drink.

Bourbon cocktails contain a wide range of mixers and flavors. The mint julep combines bourbon with mint and sugar, creating a sweet and simple drink. If you like dessert cocktails, you can order a liquid bourbon ball, combining bourbon with chocolate.

Food and Catering 

Some bars have a very limited food selection, allowing patrons to focus on the beverages. Others let patrons order food, including pizza and seafood.

You can pair your bourbon with a number of interesting dishes. If you want to complement your drink to food, you should order something sweet like pastry.

But contrasting your drink with your food can create a complete tasting experience. Order something salty like pizza or savory like fried chicken.

The higher the proof in your bourbon is, the bolder your food should be. Grilled and smoked heats go well with bourbons as high as 55 percent proof. Ask the bartender at your bourbon bar for suggestions.

1923 allows you to order catering. You can select from a number of hors d’oeuvres and platters, making 1923 a great place for a private event.

Private Events

Bourbon bars can host a wide range of different events. Many people like to go to one for a birthday or bachelor party. But they are open for company events and team-building activities.

Bourbon bars do have audio-visual tools, including projection screens. You can watch movies, listen to musicians, and give speeches to your guests.

What distinguishes bourbon bars from other bars is bourbon tastings. At 1923, a bourbon instructor runs the testing, talking about the drinks and the history surrounding bourbon production.

You can choose from several different kinds of tastings. You can order a menu with more modern brands, or you can order one that serves rare bottles. You can also have a tasting menu that includes cocktails.

1923’s bourbon tasting menus do not include food. Tasting bourbon means smelling and swishing the drink around, which food can impede.

Entertainment 

Some bars allow for live music and performers. You can have a stand-up comedian, celebrity impersonator, or full rock band perform for you. Bars are spacious so guests can dance and sit wherever they want.

You can also have a photo booth and a station for guests to receive temporary tattoos. You may be able to bring in other amenities as long as you run them by the bar owner. Most owners are very flexible.

Atmosphere

The Prohibition era is when whiskey and bourbon production took off in earnest. Bars were opened in secret all across the United States, allowing people to continue to drink.

This style of bar continues to influence establishments today. Some bars may label themselves “prohibition bars.”

They use retro-style decorations with dark colors and hardwood. They may host musicians and live entertainers who offer music and theatrical plays from the era. But other bars go for a different air, seeming more upscale or modern.

You can visit a bar at any time that is open. You can go alone, or you can bring a drinking buddy. Sitting at the bar lets you get your drinks sooner, but bars provide room so you can sit further away in privacy.

1923 has 3700 square feet with a capacity of 200 patrons. This leaves you with plenty of room to find a spot to drink and talk with your friends. You can also find seats to pull up with someone and make new acquaintances.

What You Can Find at a Bourbon Bar

A bourbon bar is the perfect place for a quick drink or a private event. Bars are stocked with different varieties of bourbon, and you can also order a bourbon cocktail.

If your bar serves food, pair your bourbon with a dessert or salty entree. Many bars cater to private events, including wedding receptions and company retreats.

You can have live performers at yours as well. Get a retro-style band to match the atmosphere of your prohibition bar.

The whiskey is waiting for you. 1923 Prohibition Bar serves the Las Vegas area. Request your private event today.