If you have been putting off your bucket list trip to Bourbon Country, now is the time to make this dream a reality.

Every September, thousands of whiskey geeks from around the world converge upon Bardstown to relieve the “Bourbon Capital Of The World” of its stocks at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. At this incredible weekend of whiskey-fueled merriment, live music, food trucks, a marketplace, and over 50 distilleries will be participating, including Bardstown Bourbon Co., James B. Beam, Four Roses, Heaven Hill, and Maker’s Mark. KBF tickets also include access to exclusive barrel picks, and bottles will be available for sale. So to try new whiskey, immerse yourself in Bardstown culture, and make new friends, here is an insider guide to planning your best trip to KBF, plus a few pro tips to help you have a trip of a lifetime.

The Festival

KBF occurs from Friday, September 15, to Sunday, September 17. Tickets go on sale May 11. In addition to general admission tickets, three levels of VIP packages are offered this year. Tickets range from $175 for a GA “Weekend Bourbon Taster Pass” to $1195 for the top-level “Decanter Club” VIP Pass. For more about ticket costs and VIP packages and to purchase tickets on May 11, check out www.kybourbonfestival.com.

Pro Tip: “Bourbon Insiders” can purchase tickets, including VIP packages (these sell out fast) early on, starting May 10.

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Where to Stay

Here are a few cool spots to call home while enjoying the festival. While staying in Bardstown keeps you close to the action, staying in Louisville is a convenient option since Uber to the festival is reasonable, and there will be plenty of folks around eager to share a ride and split the cost.

The Samuels House

Up to eight guests can stay in this 200-year-old home purchased by the Samuels family of Makers Mark in 2020. This will likely be available for a short time, and you would be hard-pressed to find a more bourbon-centric place to stay while enjoying the festival.
160 S St Gregory Church Rd, Samuels, KY 40013

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The Brown Hotel

This timeless Grand Dame hotel is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. What better time to soak in the luxury of the gilded age than with a mint Julep in one hand and a classic Hot Brown sandwich, invented at the hotel in 1926, in the other.
335 W Broadway, Louisville, KY 40202

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This edgy and modern hotel doubles as a contemporary art museum with undoubtedly one of the most entertaining lobbies in Louisville. It’s also home to Proof On Main, a must-visit whiskey bar in the heart of Louisville.
700 West Main St, Louisville, KY

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Omni Hotel, Louisville

Breakfast at Neighborhood Services, have Dinner at Bob’s Steak And Chop House, then do late-night drinks at Pin And Proof, a speakeasy inside this hotel in the heart of Louisville, for a well-rounded culinary and mixology journey in Louisville without leaving your hotel.
400 S 2nd St, Louisville, KY 40202

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Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Bardstown

Close to several distilleries and downtown’s historic district, this relatively new and super clean Fairfield Inn by Marriott is a perfect home base for a weekend in Bardstown.
1070 Morton Avenue Bardstown, Kentucky 40004

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Bardstown Motor Lodge

If You want to be close to the Festival action but stay on a budget, this clean and affordable Motor Lodge near My Old Kentucky Home State Park is your ticket.
418 E Stephen Foster Ave, Bardstown, KY

Bardstown Motor Lodge

Pro Tip: Book a hotel ASAP. The Bourbon And Beyond Music Festival is happening on the same weekend, so hotels in Louisville and Bardstown will be like Derby Week: pricy and scarce. Many hotels in Bardstown, like the Old Talbott Inn, are already booked solid. Here are some hotels that currently have a vacancy.

Where to Eat

During the festival, many of the best restaurants in Kentucky come to you as the KBF has a new partnership with the Louisville Food Truck Association. Here are a few awesome offerings to look forward to.

Bardstown Burger

Straight up comfort food specializing in burgers, fries, and shakes. We recommend the outlaw burger with onion rings, cheese, BBQ sauce, and bacon. In fact, make ours a double.

Scout & Scholar Brewing Co.

Take a break from bourbon and enjoy a locally brewed craft beer or a Plum Ginger Hard Seltzer with a smoked pulled pork sandwich or a beer brat.

Toogie’s Table

Toogies in an institution in Bardstown, and Toogie herself is a long-time friend of Beam’s late distiller, Booker Noe. While the menu here is a culinary journey of classic Kentucky cuisine, we have three words of advice: Order. Fried. Chicken.

Bottle & Bond at Bardstown Bourbon Co.

The kitchen team at Bardstown Bourbon Co. Distillery will descend upon the KBF to serve up brisket sandwiches, cups of beans and cornbread, and Kentucky Poutine. Pairs beautiful with a locally made Bardstown Bourbon.

Pro Tip: If you are looking for a unique culinary experience that is authentic Kentucky, book a reservation at Barn8 Restaurant + Bourbon Bar. This gorgeous horse farm has a field-to-table restaurant, a massive bourbon selection, and bottles available for purchase.

book a reservation at Barn8 Restaurant + Bourbon Bar

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