Eccentric begins to explain Haymarket Whiskey Bar owner Matthew Landan. After all, when I walked into his bar only 10 days into his renovations 2 hours before his soft opening with himself as the only bartender, the words crazy, gutsy, and ballsy also came to mind. Then I looked down at the Star Wars light saber laying on the bar. This guy’s got some flair about him.
Matthew moved to Louisville from Chicago 7 years ago and opened up the Derby City Espresso for $30,000 in the prime real estate spot of 331 East Market Street. After declining sales and the itching need for reinvention, (he blames it on his roving Deadhead days and travels in Europe), the guy who never wanted to open a bar, opened a bar. And so began Haymarket Whiskey Bar, named after a Louisville outdoor farmer’s market in the late 1800s.
The space is small but spilling over with personality as quirky as the owners. There are naked mannequins, a fleur-de-lis disco ball, pinball machines, and a self-serve beer cooler. There is one bathroom and a small patio in the back for smokers. The small seafoam green glass bar adds a kitschy touch with 6-7 barstools for sitting. There are 7 taps and 50+ whiskeys and craft beers.
In the coming months Haymarket Whiskey Bar is acquiring an absinthe fountain, having special charcuterie tastings, grappa tastings, and expanding the bourbon collection to match the whiskey collection. Matthew is also working on getting his sidewalk permit for the summertime to have tables outside. But give him a break, he’s only been at this for 10 days. Take a look at his work in progress:
Hard open February 4th. Open Tuesday through Saturday 4p-2p. Live music 4 nights a week.