Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar opened along Covington, Kentucky’s Mainstrasse Village on Derby Day in 2012. Cut to present-day and the spot has solidified itself as a Northern Kentucky mainstay. It’s no wonder: the sipping point boasts upward of 700 bourbon varieties, including a collection of rare bottles.
General Manager Aaron Lilley says that when they first opened, they were the first bourbon bar in Northern Kentucky. Also known as OKBB by regulars, the bar has since seen the region’s bourbon scene evolve into a “giant community.”
“It’s great to have a community, working together, more the merrier aspect of things,” says Lilley. “But the larger the community gets, the harder the bourbon is to get, and if you don’t play the right games with the distribution companies, you don’t get the chance to buy the now rare bourbons, even if you’ve been in the game since 2012 and won best bourbon selection for 10 year’s running.”
Both Cincinnati CityBeat’s Best of Cincinnati and NKY Magazine’s Best of NKY have previously awarded OKBB with “Best Bourbon Selection.” OKBB’s ever-growing collection includes rotating seasonal offerings, so bourbon lovers can come back any given time of year and have something new to taste.
Customers can try their wide array of bourbon, flights or sip one of OKBB’s classic or original cocktails. While bourbon is the main focus, OKBB also has a smaller selection of craft local beers, wine and non-whiskey spirits.
Lilley says that OKBB is most proud of its private and single-barrel selections that are handpicked by its bartenders and bourbon experts. And they have price points for a breadth of budgets.
“We now house over 1000 American whiskeys,” says Lilley. “You can get a $3 drink or a $1500 drink, the choice is yours.”
Whatever you choose, you can sip that drink inside or cozy up on their tucked-away patio, the perfect spot to nurse a drink on a breezy, warm spring or summer day. Either way, don’t let the “old” in Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar fool you; OKBB prides itself in creating an atmosphere that is far from stuffy.
Before heading out, make sure to check out OKBB’s bottle shop, which features to-go drink kits and a rotating selection of bourbons and whiskeys. You can also commemorate the stop with their merch, from t-shirts to glassware to hoodies and more. Stick around Northern Kentucky long enough and you’ll probably see at least one person repping the bar.
When asked why people should drop by OKBB and other sipping points along The B-Line®, Lilley shouts out the cities they’re in. Covington alone is home to multiple spots along The B-Line®, so stop by OKBB and you may be able to check off a few drinking destinations.
“Just walk the streets of Mainstrasse, Ludlow, Dayton,” says Lilley. “You’ll find something to do, and I guarantee that you’ll fall in love with this city.”
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