Kentucky Wildcats: Top 10 Bars in Lexington on Gameday

by Tyler Mansfield
kentucky-wildcats-top-10-bars-in-lexington-on-gameday

Outsider has teamed up with Kentucky Sports Radio and On3 to create the most in-depth Gameday guides.

Kentucky Gameday Guides: Things to Do | Bars | Restaurants | Tailgates | Parking

If you’re ever in town on a college football Saturday, there are plenty of top-tier Lexington gameday bars to check out as you countdown to kickoff. When the Wildcats are in town, the city is known to get wild. Like, really wild. With that said, Kentucky fans – and those who are in town to cheer on the Wildcats’ opponent – are always looking for the best Lexington Gameday bars.

Outsider spoke with the KSR team to gather some insight on the go-to bars and pubs in Lexington on gameday. Let us be the first to tell you that you’ll have some great options to pick and choose from.

KSBar & Grille

  • Location: 1030 South Broadway
  • Distance to Kroger Field: 1.3 miles
  • Saturday Hours: 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Known For: Ultimate Hangout for UK Fans
  • Website

One of the legendary Lexington Gameday bars, there is absolutely no better spot to be at on a Kentucky football gameday than KSBar. It’s the ultimate hangout for Wildcats fans – and that is just stating the obvious. The bar – and restaurant –  is brought to you by Matt Jones and the gang at Kentucky Sports Radio. It was named both the Best Bar and Best Sports Bar in 2022 by the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Decked out in UK memorabilia, KSBar makes you feel like you’re in someone’s man cave. What separates it from anywhere else is the fact that KSR hosts its gameday pregame show live on-site. You can sip on some drinks, eat some great food and hear the gang breakdown that day’s ‘Cats game. You simply can’t beat it.

“KSBar is the headquarters of Kentucky Sports Radio and the unofficial biggest gameday tailgate. There’s a live, two-hour KSR pregame show on-site before kickoff, plus a LexTran bus shuttle over to Kroger Field for one dollar each way.”

Drew Franklin, KSR

While KSBar offers a top-notch drink menu, the food is also really, really good. They serve delicious burgers, wings, barbecue, appetizers and more, so there’s definitely something for everyone.

Centro

  • Location: 113 Cheapside Park
  • Distance to Kroger Field: 2 miles
  • Saturday Hours: 10 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.
  • Known For: Extensive Bourbon Collection
  • Website

If you’re a fan of bourbon, and also sitting outside on a beautiful fall Saturday, then Centro is just the spot for you. Located in downtown Lexington, this is a go-to local hangout – especially on UK gamedays. With over 100 bourbons, countless cocktails and local craft beers, Centro offers just about everything.

“You can escape the college student madness following a Kentucky football game by visiting Centro in Downtown Lexington’s Pavilion. An open-air bar, there are rarely lines to get a drink.”

Nick Roush, KSR

While it is a little further away from Kroger Field and would make for a long walk, Centro is just a short Uber ride up the road. If you’re looking for a non-college bar that has plenty to offer, you can’t go wrong with paying a visit here.

Bluegrass Tavern

  • Location: 115 Cheapside Street
  • Distance to Kroger Field: 2 miles
  • Saturday Hours: 5 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.
  • Known For: Kentucky’s Favorite Bourbon Bar
  • Website

Everyone knows that Kentucky runs the bourbon world. The biggest names in distilling are located throughout the Bluegrass State, and Lexington features arguably Kentucky’s Favorite Bourbon Bar: Bluegrass Tavern. Located just two miles from Kroger Field, this pub has a number of beers on tap, classic cocktails and, of course, a boatload of bourbons.

If you want a cool nighttime hangout spot following a Kentucky game, be sure to pop into Bluegrass Tavern. Better yet, just spend your evening in the Centennial Park Entertainment District and hop around from bar to bar.

“For the postgame crowd, the Pavilion downtown is a great place to start your bar crawl with several bars – including popular spots like Centro, Bluegrass Tavern, and Stagger Inn. Get dropped off and walk the block to find what you like.”

Drew Franklin, KSR

Stagger Inn

  • Location: 269 West Main Street No. 50
  • Distance to Kroger Field: 2.2 miles
  • Saturday Hours: 4 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.
  • Known For: Live Country Music
  • Website

Just down from Bluegrass Tavern is another neat bar – Stagger Inn. Known for their live music presence, this place is certainly an entertaining spot to cut loose after a Kentucky Wildcats game. The description on their websites states, “We sure aren’t your average country bar, but we will be your favorite!” That alone should make you want to go check it out.

At Stagger Inn, you’ll have plenty of drink choices – from house-made cocktails to bourbon mixes, and a number of bottles to a Country Boy Brewing Draft Bar. There’s always fun to be had here, so make sure to stop in and check out the vibe.

McCarthy’s Irish Bar

  • Location: 117 South Upper St
  • Distance to Kroger Field: 1.9 miles
  • Saturday Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.
  • Known For: Cheap Drinks
  • Website

McCarthy’s – an authentic Irish bar – has been a staple in Lexington since 1996. An old-school type of pub, McCarthy’s features arguably the best drink prices in all of Lexington. If you’d like to find somewhere where you can drink more for less, then you have to stop by this gem on South Upper Street.

For those of you who enjoy Irish brews, you can get a 20-ounce Guinness Nitro draft for only $5. That’s right – $5 for a 20-ounce draft beer. A draft Bud Light – and most domestics – range from just $3.50 to $4, too. You’ll definitely find the best deals at McCarthy’s.

Henry Clay’s Public House

  • Location: 112 North Upper St
  • Distance to Kroger Field: 2 miles
  • Saturday Hours: 4:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.
  • Known For: Nostalgic Atmosphere
  • Website

Want to hear live music with no cover charge? How about doing that with some free popcorn to snack on? Henry Clay’s Public House is the place to be for all of that – and that’s not even mentioning the drinks. Located inside a historic 1805 residence, the bar has a wide range of premium bourbons and craft brews and can make just about anything. Their old fashioned is known as one of the best in town.

Henry Clay’s Public House has live music nearly every Saturday, so it could be a great place to hear some tunes and throw down some cold ones following a UK game.

Tin Roof

  • Location: 303 South Limestone
  • Distance to Kroger Field: 1.8 miles
  • Saturday Hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.
  • Known For: Live Music
  • Website

No matter where you are, it’s hard to go wrong with Tin Roof. With plenty of drinks to choose from and great live music, it makes for the perfect atmosphere – especially on a Kentucky gameday in Lexington. The location is less than two miles from campus, making it a good place to hangout before beginning your tailgating festivities.

While Tin Roof features a jam-packed drink menu, including nearly 30 draft beers, it also offers some delicious food – chicken tenders and wings, burgers and sandwiches, tacos and quesadillas and more. The Lexington location serves a brunch menu – with bottomless Mimosas – from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

ONA

  • Location: 108 Church Street
  • Distance to Kroger Field: 2.1 miles
  • Saturday Hours: 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
  • Known For: Relaxed Vibe
  • Website

If tailgating all day and then cheering from start to finish at the game took most of your energy, you can go wind down at ONA. Known for their relaxed atmosphere, this bar features a laid-back type of vibe with Art Deco interior. There’s really nothing else like it in Lexington, so you need to see it for yourself.

Located on Church Street, ONA serves unique cocktails and cheap beer. Swing by, grab a tasty drink and relax. You’ll need it after going full-force all day long.

Arcadium Bar

  • Location: 574 North Limestone
  • Distance to Kroger Field: 3 miles
  • Saturday Hours: 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
  • Known For: Arcade Games
  • Website

Everyone likes arcade games, right? Well, there’s an awesome spot in Lexington where you can play them – while enjoying some adult beverages. Arcadium, which is just three miles from Kroger Field, is a vintage-style bar with classic arcade games, craft beers and quality spirits. They have 20 rotating craft drafts, delicious cocktails and an impressive bourbon collection.

In terms of the arcade games that are in the building, Arcadium’s customers can jump back in time and play Donkey Kong, Frogger, Ms. Pacman, Super Mario Brothers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, among others. There’s a lot of fun to be had at this cool joint.

Soundbar

  • Location: 208 South Limestone
  • Distance to Kroger Field: 4.4 miles
  • Saturday Hours: 4:30 p.m. to 3 a.m.
  • Known For: Live DJs and Dancing
  • Website

If the Wildcats pick up a big win and you’re wanting to go celebrate at one of the most lively Lexington Gameday bars, Soundbar could be the postgame spot. A nightclub-type atmosphere, it’s a great place to cut loose after cheering on the ‘Cats at Kroger Field. With a great drink selection to go through, energetic DJs spinning tracks and plenty of room for dancing, Soundbar provides all of the vibes.

With a reputation for being clean and welcoming, Soundbar is a spot that many people check out – especially on Saturday nights. It’s also important to mention that they have cup pong tables.

Honorable Mentions

Molly Brooke’s Irish Bar (109 North Limestone)

Similar to McCarthy’s, Molly Brooke’s is another cool Irish bar to check out while in Lexington. With brews such as Smithwicks and Magners Irish Cider on draft, and plenty of bourbons to choose from, this friendly pub is always a solid choice when making your rounds through the city.

Al’s Bar (601 North Limestone)

Also located on North Limestone, Al’s Bar features tasty snacks, craft draft beer and creative cocktails in a relaxed environment. They host a number of small concerts throughout the year, so you may have to stop by after a Kentucky game and see what’s going on.

College Student Bars

Wild Cat Saloon (123 Cheapside)

One of the best college bars in Lexington, Wild Cat Saloon is almost always electric. Just like any college bar, it is known to get wild – especially when karaoke is taking place – and there are great drink specials that will save you some money.

Rosebud Bar (121 North Mill Street)

Known for having great bartenders, Rosebud’s is another go-to location for college students in Lexington. With a wide variety of drinks to choose from and old-school music playing, the atmosphere is always enjoyable here. It’s probably important to mention that they have 2-for-1 wells, too.

Outsider.com