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Silver Dollar Owner Explains GQ's 'Best Whiskey Bar' Nod

GQ named The Silver Dollar one of the "Ten Best Whiskey Bars in America," as Eater Louisville posted earlier today. Here, owner Shawn Cantley shares the backstory about the award and how the Silver Dollar found out about it (the bold text was done so at Eater Louisville's discretion):

In the past when we've been talked about in the national press we've seen it coming. For example, with the NYT piece from a couple weeks back, the Times' spirits writer, Robert Simonson, had been in the Silver Dollar on multiple occasions over the past year and a half, and then he called and talked with Larry for 45 minutes about what we were doing at the Dollar and told him he was doing a piece on bars that were doing world-class cocktails but in a laid-back setting and that we were going to be in it.

But, the GQ thing came completely out of the blue. We received an email from a fact checker about a month ago asking us a few questions. We exchanged a few emails. (He was particularly interested in the fact that we had over 100 whiskeys but refused to carry any imported whiskey, and by our definition that included America's most popular whiskey, Jack Daniels.) At the end he mentioned GQ was doing a piece on the Ten Best Whiskey Bars in America and that we were going to be in it.

To say we were stoked would be a bit of an understatement. We've been to most of the other bars in the article, and it's really humbling to be mentioned in that company. I'm so happy for the city, which is starting to get the attention it deserves as an up-and-coming food and drink destination. And, I'm really happy for our people--our Beverage Director, Susie Hoyt, who came down here from one of the most respected cocktail bars in the country, The Violet Hour in Chicago, and our bartenders. All of our bartenders except one have been with us since before we opened our doors.

When we decided we were going to be meticulous about every detail, we were going to use nothing but fresh squeezed juices, we were going to make all our own syrups, we were going to make bitters in-house, special ice, only classic recipes and technique, etc., etc., they were the ones that had to make it happen night in, night out. They're the ones that have to explain that you can't juice a cranberry, so we can't make a drink with cranberry juice. They have to explain why the Old Fashioned isn't the watered-down thing with a muddled orange slice and nuclear-red maraschino cherry at the bottom that the guest is used to, and then turn them on to the classic version or something else that they'll enjoy.

Not everyone gets the Silver Dollar or appreciates what we're doing. But, guys like Robert Simonson and the people who write for publications like GQ know the difference. You can tell our staff are really proud to have received this recognition, and they should be, because they worked and studied really hard to earn it. From the initial reaction the city seems to be proud of us too, and that feels really good.

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[Photo: Courtesy Silver Dollar]

The Silver Dollar

1761 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, KY 40206 502-259-9540 Visit Website