Our current Food & Dining Magazine quarterly print edition is Winter 2022 (Vol 76; December, January and February). It’s free to readers, and can be found at food and dining establishments all over town—or just hop on over to issuu and check it out.
Today’s feature link is my profile of Watch Hill Proper, the planet’s largest American whiskey bar, boasting cuisine created by executive chef Michael Crouch, who brings his famiiar kitchen credo to another appreciative audience.
“I do simple, flavorful food that is sophisticated and elegantly prepared. I’m big on sourcing and utilizing only the best ingredients, creating elevated food, if you will, trying to bring flavors to people that aren’t common at other places in town.”
Come to Watch Hill Proper for the Great Wall of Whiskey, stay for the Iberian acorn-fed pork and escargot.
Norton Commons is Louisville’s first (New Urbanist) subdivision development, occupying agricultural acreage once owned by pioneering local media mogul George Norton. Ground was broken in 2004, and currently just under 5,000 people live in the development, a number expected to double by the time North Village (the second and current phase) is completed.
That’s plenty enough nearby residents for Watch Hill Proper to function as a “local” bar, albeit one with 1,600 unique American whiskies (1 for every 3 residents) and counting, enumerated by means of a 78-page .pdf file, and shelved on a vertigo-inducing, ceiling-high “Great Wall” that faces the main dining area.
There are at least seven bar-length rows of around 50 bottles each, with the higher realms accessible by wheeled ladders – and these are only 25% of the total. Behind this visible shock-and-wall is a backing labyrinth of floor to ceiling storage shelves, connected by ladders and catwalks. As high volume restaurants employ food runners, so Watch Hill Proper has bourbon climbers, scaling the heights like sailors mounting the mizzenmast, assuring each guest’s tumbler is filled.
Just don’t ask for Lagavulin, Vodka Collins or Michelob Ultra. Howes and Craggs, passionate bourbonists to the core, have minted a short, sassy disclaimer: Nothing foreign, nothing clear, and no beer.