The Braille Monitor February 2005
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Louisville: The Emphasis Is on Fun
by Denise Franklin
Fourth Street Live!
From the Editor: Denise Franklin and her husband Dennis are leaders of the Kentucky affiliate and residents of Louisville. When it comes to what's going on in Louisville, they know what they are talking about. Here are some good ideas about what to do with your free time during convention:
If you have visited Louisville during previous national conventions, you became acquainted with our heat, haze, and humidity. A few minutes outdoors in the downtown area was enough to send you scrambling for the air-conditioned comfort of the Galt House Hotel.
As I am writing this article, the temperature is twelve degrees Fahrenheit, and our city is buried under eleven inches of snow. Officials have urged us to stay home unless the trip is an emergency. What a contrast! Don't despair. I can predict with a certain degree of confidence that all that uncomfortably hot weather will be back to greet you when you return in July for the 2005 national convention.
While the weather may be familiar, you'll find that downtown Louisville has undergone something of a metamorphosis. Louisville's metro government has launched a no-holds-barred effort to bring people back into the downtown area. With that said, let me introduce you to Fourth Street Live!
Fourth Street Live! is Louisville's premier entertainment and retail district, located on Fourth Street between Liberty and Muhammad Ali Boulevard, in the heart of historic downtown Louisville. It is just a short walk from the Galt House Hotel and other area attractions. You'll probably want to plan on more than one visit since you will find so much to do and see. Here is an overview of some of the offerings.
Parrot Beach is our version of the party bar atmosphere. It offers great menu selections in the early evening and then transforms into one of the city's hottest nightclubs. If Top 40s music in a beach environment is what you seek, look no further.
Sully's Restaurant and Saloon is a cozy Irish pub with a vibrant nightlife. It is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including digital surround sound, a thirteen-foot projector screen, and seven plasma televisions on which you can enjoy a wide variety of sports events. Offering lunch and dinner, Sully's boasts some of the best DJs and bartenders in town.
If you happen to be in the market for a true rock 'n' roll saloon, you are in luck. Saddle Ridge is the ultimate place to party. The western décor provides the background for both rock and country music. Through the week you'll hear prerecorded music, but local bands and nationally known performers take the stage on Friday and Saturday nights.
Fourth Street Live! is home to the very first Makers Mark Bourbon House and Lounge. Upon entering, guests are met by an entire wall of backlit Makers Mark bottles and the trademark Makers wax dripping from the ceiling. The lounge is highlighted by warm, rich woods, luxurious black leather banquettes, bourbon brown furnishings, and a dramatic double fireplace. The fifty-seven-foot-long wood-topped bar is outlined in glass and underlit in soft white illumination. At the request of Makers Mark management, bourbons from each of Kentucky's distilleries are showcased. Public seminars are held regularly so that visitors can take away a better understanding of one of Kentucky's most famous exports.
Felt is an upscale billiards club with ten tables at which you can test your skills or learn how the game is played. Sit-down dining is available with an eclectic menu from which to choose. Don't forget to say hello to the jellyfish residing in the thousand-gallon aquarium.
Need a good laugh? Rascals Comedy Club features well-known comedians from HBO, Comedy Central, and The Tonight Show.
Lucky Strike Lanes is a cutting-edge combination of dining, bowling, and multimedia art. The facility boasts fourteen state-of-the-art lanes with 120 feet of projection screens serving as the backdrop. If bowling is not your thing, relax and enjoy something delicious from the full-service restaurant.
Howl at the Moon is a singing, clapping, stomping, dance-on-the-piano rock 'n' roll show, centered on audience participation and the world's most dangerous piano players dueling it out on two baby grands. The musicians offer witty discourse while encouraging the audience to sing along to songs almost everybody knows by heart. It is the perfect place to discover friends you haven't met before.
On May 31, 2004, the 117th Hard Rock Café opened its doors at Fourth Street Live! Here you will find over 250 pieces of rock 'n' roll memorabilia as well as those burgers and thick shakes that have become the chain's claim to fame.
Fourth Street Live! offers two other full-service restaurants. Both T.G.I. Friday's and Red Star Tavern feature menus ranging from steaks and seafood to chicken and pasta. Both are open for lunch, dinner, and late-night dining.
For those occasions when time is at a premium, you can grab a quick meal at Fourth Street Live!'s food court. Choose from Rocky Rococo, which boasts pizza, pasta, and gourmet salads; Taipei Café, specializing in Asian cuisine; or those familiar standbys, Subway and Wendy's. Before you leave the food court, a visit to Cold Stone Creamery is an absolute must. They serve yummy ice cream concoctions that can become addictive.
Fourth Street Live! doesn't have the corner on good food, however. Just a short bus ride from downtown you can find dozens of restaurants providing many types of cuisine. Bardstown Road and Frankfort Avenue are two areas where pedestrians can browse antique shops and specialty boutiques. Numerous eateries are also located in these areas.
If you have access to an automobile and feel adventurous, take some time to explore southern Indiana. This section is often referred to as "the sunny side of Louisville" and has lots to offer the visitor. Let me mention two which are outstanding. Derby Dinner Playhouse is a dinner theater where excellent performances and delicious food go hand in hand. Dramas and musicals are staged here, and you can choose from matinee or evening performances.
Nestled in the rolling hills of southern Indiana is Huber's Restaurant and Winery. Allow plenty of time for this outing because more than food is waiting here. After stuffing yourself on delicious homestyle cooking (don't skip the fried biscuits), visit the duck pond (these birds are always hungry), and take the kids to the petting zoo. At the market you can purchase fresh produce raised on the property. Handmade items are available at the gift shop, and the winery boasts several fine vintages from Indiana-grown grapes. You are encouraged to try the free samples. The Huber family takes pride in its accomplishments, and many family members still participate in the day-to-day operation of the business.
The snow has begun to melt from my front door. Could this be the July heat and humidity moving in early? No such luck. But during the cold days ahead Kentuckians will be hard at work planning the 2005 national convention. We're making our plans; hope you're making yours. See you this summer.
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