The Galt House Hotel recently opened a new restaurant concept (Walker’s Exchange) and unveiled an update to Jockey Silks Bourbon Bar. A third restaurant called Swizzle is on the way. It will take the place of RIVUE Restaurant & Lounge on the 25th floor of the West Tower. The planning of each of these new concepts has consumed the creative energies of teams of people working with AJS Hotels. We eat, drink and sleep restaurants.
It is exciting and stressful, but on this particular journey I’ve also learned a lot about Louisville because each restaurant is inspired by a place of historical significance in the city’s culinary history. It’s work, but also a fun way to learn about Louisville.
Walker’s Exchange in the Galt House is a game changer for the hotel and for dining on the Belvedere in 2020. But in 1851 the original Walker’s Exchange was located on Third Street where William H. Walker sold “Chesapeake Bay canvas-back ducks, New York oysters in the shell, venison and grouse from the prairies, mutton and beef from Bourbon Country, pheasants, quail, woodcock, plover, salmon, bass, etc.,” according to an advertisement at the time, as well as casks of port, sherry, cognac and a number of wines. He also developed a kind of liquor called Walker’s Tonic Bitters.
The 1850 iteration of Walker’s Exchange was not the first foray into the food and beverage industry by W.H. Walker. He began to build his business presence with a coffee house and small hotel located exactly where the current Galt House Hotel stands today. It
William H. Walker enjoyed a decades long successful run as a food and beverage entrepreneur. Walker’s Exchange was a bustling restaurant where dining and imbibing were refined as much as they were joyful. It’s a great feeling to be part of reviving such an important piece of Louisville culinary history.
Jockey Silks Bourbon Bar
While Jockey Silks history is shorter by comparison, it still plays a part in a time of Louisville’s history when downtown was experiencing a resurgence. First opened in 1972, the original Jockey Silks Bourbon Bar was a dark, old school bar with a late mob era vibe. No doubt it had character and a lot of memories embedded in its carved oak details, but it also represented the high style of the 1970s, a time of swagger and growth for Kentucky’s largest city.
The new Jockey Silks, although completely different from the old, represents the same optimism for a new generation. Modern, upscale, and chic – the new Jockey Silks will be the stomping grounds of hip.
Swizzle Dinner & Drinks
Once a downtown Louisville hotspot in the 1940s, Swizzle is being revived on the 25th floor of the Galt House Hotel in supper club style. Swizzle is the name of a stick from the Quararibea Turbinata tree that was used in the 18th century to stir drinks. The name and stirring tradition was revived with American cocktail culture in the 1940s and 50s. The new Swizzle will continue cocktail tradition in a mid-century modern setting that blends contemporary with classic in a way that will make diners want to stay for more than just a sunset. Swizzle is set to open on April 24th, 2020.