About time I updated my rating. Overview: Holy Grale, as is well-known by now, is in an old church building, and is styled as a house of worship for the beer lover. Mission accomplished. The main room downstairs is where most of the action takes place, but the Choir Loft upstairs offers additional seating for bigger parties, and the Grale Garten provides a nice outdoors place to sit. Both additional spaces often feature a separate beer/food menu from the main room, making this place like three locations in one. (See their facebook page for images/event information) Service is engaging and professional, and know their game without a doubt. Selection, in my experience, is unparalleled by most any place youíll visit: the variety here in regards to traditional, modern, experimental, odd, sublime never ceases to surprise. Food, though I donít order every time, is pretty tasty, and well worth the price. PROS: Just about everything. CONS: Can be crazy crowded, doesnít really have their own parking. OVERALL: A world-class beer destination. If youíre within a state, and love beer, you need to visit this place. NOTES: I have parking tips for this location on my Gralehaus rating; Gralehaus is also well worth a visit, and can be accessed during business hours through the Grale Garten or from the street (Baxter Ave.)
I visited at 11pm on a Friday night expecting to endure carnage to order a beer, but instead found the place to be nearly empty. Weird, but welcomed. Much smaller venue than I anticipated. I doubt you could fit more than 50 people in the downstairs area. The draft list was very interesting. Roughly 20 beers with a strong focus on stuff from Europe. Amager, Alvinne, Beer Here, De La Senne etc on tap. Basically nothing local. The bottle list had some nice stuff like vintage Orval, but certainly wasnít earth-shattering by any means. Prices were reasonable given the quality. The service was strange. Very transaction-focussed and impersonal. I was sitting at the bar for a couple of hours and was pretty much ignored by the staff. It wasnít busy, so Iím not sure what was going on. Overall, the continental selection is pretty unique for the region. Worth a visit.
Interesting place! Built in 1905 as a small Unitarian Church. Still retains a lot of the church visuals and feel, (vaulted ceiling, choir loft, stained glass, etc). A little cramped when busy, but still a good amount of seating. The main area has an L-shaped bar with seating for about 10 or so. Small tables line the walls. The upstairs Choir Loft features a small bar and additional seating. There is also an outdoor beer garden, although I havenít been out there yet. The beer list is absolutely top notch! 26 taps and an expansive bottle list, both of which are filled with an astounding number of rare and hard to find beers. Big focus on international beers, specifically Belgians, lambics and sours. But also more than enough American craft brews to choose from. Check beermenus.com for an up-to-date draft and bottle list. Typical beer pricing (generally around $5 - $8 for drafts and $8 - $25 for bottles). Unfortunately I still have yet to try any food here, although I hear itís world class. You will need to order at one of the bars, as I do not believe they have a wait staff that takes orders at the tables or outside. Depending on how many people they have working the bar, there may be a bit of a wait if crowded. But the bar staff was friendly and attentive on my last visit (4/5/14). The biggest downside is parking, which is scarce. You may be able to park in the KFC lot next door, although this is usually filled up early on weekends. DONíT park in the Walgreens lot across the street, they watch and will tow. So youíre limited to finding parking on the side streets, of which the majority of houses do not have driveways. So youíre battling not only people coming out to the bars and shops of this area of Bardstown Road, but also the people who live here for a parking space. But all in all, a unique place to have a beer and a definite must stop if youíre in town. Just try to avoid stopping by after 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays if possible, as thatís when itís most crowded.
Visited on 2/28/14. Had a really hard time finding the place on a busy Friday night. I never did find the place while driving, so I just parked (at least a 10 minute walk away) and hoped my GPS was right. Finally found the place and it was slammed. I stood at the bar for a long time and finally got told the beer I reordered on tap was upstairs. He definitely had a tone of "Hey stupid, just go up there and order." Upstairs was also packed, only one bartender. Waited and waited again. Ordered two beers so as not have to go through it all again and was told one had kicked. Had my one beer standing awkwardly next to the bathroom and left. It was honestly a cool place with great beer but with the parking and crowd I canít see why people would bother. I did not try the food.
If I had to find weaknesses with the Holy Grale there would be only two. Firstly parking can be tricky unless you are willing to go up and down the side streets. The other option would be to park once on Bardstown Road and then just walk to it.
The second are the prices and this is very minor. Much in line with a world class bar experience you get what you pay for. There is no gouging and the selection is so great you will not be disappointed at all in whatever you order. The hardest part might be narrowing it down to a few choices.
If youíve only got one day in Louisville be sure to stop by for at least one drink here, a flight at Against the Grain, and a trip across the river to keg Liqours for all your take home needs.
An old Church in a hip part of town that was converted to a craft beer bar. The decor is hands down the best Iíve ever visited. Good craft beer selection, friendly staff, large eco-friendly patio. Just a really groovy place to knock back a few tasty craft beers..
theisti (746) Kansas | September 19, 2013| Updated September 8, 2014
Visited on a Wednesday evening. As others have stated, Holy Grale is located in a former church, and it makes great use of the space with a bar area, the choir loft, and a great outdoor beer garden. The beer selection is great, when I visited the 5 of the 6 taps in the choir loft were Three Floyds. Service was attentive, though not terribly friendly. I had the Scotch egg appetizer, and it was tasty enough. Neat design, great beer selections, certainly a top place I have visited in Louisville. This place had hosted Zwanze Day 2013 the previous weekend, which speaks to the quality.
88 = ★★★★ (best in area, a must for locals and visitors)
I only use the total score, not the component parts.
phaleslu (534) Cincinnati, Ohio | September 16, 2013| Updated March 11, 2014
I came down for Zwanze Day 2013 at Holy Grale, my first one ever. The place is an old, small church building on Bardstown Road. The inside is an awesome renovation with a nice bar and some high tables. Thereís a íchoir loftí upstairs, accessible through inside or outside stairs. Thereís a bier garten out back with Euro-style long tables, a patio bar, and vines surrounding it to wrap up the vibe. The place was well-staffed for the event. The tap list was excellent, and the food was very good. I need to visit on a normal day to get a better idea of how it usually is here but Iím definitely coming back. Update: Came back on a low-key afternoon. The food is awesome. Nothing to contradict from before, just reiterating how nice and high-quality this place is. Best place in Louisville.
The coolest atmosphere Iíve been to, especially outside which reminds me of a Euro beer garden. Stained glass windows, herbs, hops. The inside was nice as well but the ac was broke and it was hot as balls. The service was very nice and helpful, knew a ton about beer and gave good suggestions for other places in the city. The food was really good and came quick, fun small bites but I wouldnít come for a full dinner if youíre starving. The draft selection was pretty good, but not mind blowing. Nothing from Kentucky or crushable, lots of international ticks. The bottle list was pretty good and very inexpensive. I really enjoyed this place, one of the top bars in the US.
JCW (142) Cincinnati, Ohio | May 19, 2013| Updated November 14, 2013
Stopped in here with a date, we both really enjoyed it. Outside dining with a fantastic tap list. While I enjoyed a Petrus Oak Aged Pale, my date had a 3F Behemoth(she wanted hoppy). We had already eaten so we didnít try the food, but other people we shared a table with(for what its worth) liked it a great
deal. My second beer was a Bellís Expedition, again on tap, herís a Two Hearted. All priced about ~$7.per. Well worth a stop.
Iíve heard there is some bad blood between these guys and Sergios. And while sergios has the rep and the bottle service to qualify as a truly unique beer destination, I still maintain that as of the day I visited Holy Grale until today, it is and has been far and away the best tap list I have ever seen. Anywhere. That alone should set it apart. Plus the vibe/ambiance and food are all top notch.