As I approached from the outside, I was extremely skeptical that I’d found the right place. It looked nothing at all like a place for beer nerds, rather more like an old run-down Bud/Miller/Coors-only sort of place for locals to chain smoke and drink their cares away. Inside, it looked pretty much the same. Dark and ramshackle and again just giving off a macro beer hangout sort of vibe...it’s a dive bar to be certain. Not Toronado kind of divey (to me, Toronado isn’t really divey, it’s just kinda dirty and surly, but you know the moment you walk in that it’s a place with nerd-beer, which is not true at Nachbar; even after I walked in I still was uncertain it was the right place)...this is way, way more understated and low-key. Which is not a bad thing necessarily, as it’s very subjective what sort of atmosphere each person will find inviting. Dark homey pub in England with a fireplace? Yep. This place, not so much, at least for me...even including the outdoor back patio, which is again rather run-down and kinda depressing. They had a few neat things here, though, like Schlenkerla Urbock on draft, but overall there wasn’t anything that was interesting enough to stay for a drink (I checked out both bottle and draft lists pretty thoroughly). While Germantown Craft House (just a few blocks away) is a bit sterile and upscale (or "fancy pants" perhaps, haha), it’s a significantly more pleasant atmosphere to hang out in, and is basically the polar opposite of Nachbar. Each to their own, though...certainly worth a stop to decide if it’s for you, and there is a chance they’ll have something fun and unusual on tap.
Overview: The Nachbar, like Cumberland Brews, is one of those Louisville destinations that serves as a sort of landmark. Whereas Cumberland Brews remains virtually unchanged in it’s vibe from 10+ years ago, so too does The Nachbar seem like a bit of a throwback to the time that craft beer in Louisville was truly an underground thing- a hidden society only visible upon closer inspection. With that being said, it gets one of my few fives in ambiance. The Nachbar would feel somehow alien if the bathrooms didn’t look as if they belonged in a third world peep show; if the tables weren’t marked up with all sorts of customer carvings; if the memorabilia from brewers and flea markets of yore were changed even in the slightest. If such a place in Louisville could be harmed in the same way that church buildings were harmed when their sanctuaries were sterilized in the name of "modernity", it would undoubtedly be The Nachbar. It’s as close to "sacred" as a bar comes in this city. Service has always been so-so; it always seems like a few minutes draw by while you wait for your order to be taken, even on a slow night. Selection is surprisingly good; yes, they have PBR, but they also carry a wide variety of other beers as well, which I will update shortly; the bottle list is solid. They always seem to carry a few things other Louisville bars don’t (like a English Black IPA a few months back that I couldn’t find anywhere else). Beers on tap top out at about seven dollars. PROS: Surprising selection; authentic vibe. CONS: Service could be slightly more engaging; would be nice to have different measures for beers available. OVERALL: This is one of those places you have to visit at least once if you want to know about the craft beer scene in Louisville. Go with an open mind (and to the bathroom beforehand if possible). Parking is on the street (free) and can be a chore during peak times.
theisti (893) Kansas | February 20, 2014| Updated September 8, 2014
Visited after dinner on a Wednesday. Grungy neighborhood corner bar interior, nice bar with worn tables spread throughout. Seemed to have a nice outdoor patio. Very much a local sort of spot. 15 or so beers on tap with a focus on German and german style beers. Well chosen, quite a few interesting beers on. Also a larger bottle list featuring Belgian, German and other import and domestic craft beers. No food served, though there was a crock pot going with some chips and salsa scattered around it. Not sure if this was a free for all, or something someone brought in. Service was prompt, though not particularly engaging. A couple of dogs in the bar, running all over. One cat crawling around for good measure. Music was good, crowd seemed to be regulars, all having a good time. Certainly worth hitting along with Eiderdown and Four Pegs which are in the immediate area.
76 = ★★★ (Worth the visit, must for locals, and visitors with time)
I only use the total score, not the component parts.
You’re either going to love this place or hate it. It is the very definition of a dive bar. The place smells funky and is far too small for the amount of people who frequent on weekends. And the bathrooms are...something to behold (and I don’t mean that in a good way). And this place is overrun by hipsters! But these are the pseudo-intellectual hipsters that dress redneck. No Bud Light swilling jocks anywhere to be found. Just grow a full beard and wear a scarf with an ugly sweater and trucker hat and you’ll fit right in. Great people watching spot! What keeps this place from being just another shithole bar is the craft beer selection. Constantly rotating and always an amazing selection of American and import crafts. And every year on Black Friday, they have the Blackout! This is all huge, heavy stouts and imperials, the likes of which no other bars in Louisville gets! Everyone I have met working the bar is friendly and knowledgeable of the beer they are selling. Great bar to hit during the week when it isn’t crowded. On weekends, expect to have to push your way through the place and good luck finding somewhere inside to sit.
Hipster haven. Parking sucks. Smells stale and funky inside and the outside features a perpetual cigarette smoke cloud. Seating is limited and awkward. Selection is pretty good and the prices aren’t awful. I won’t be in a hurry to come back though.