331 E. Market St, the home of the Haymarket Whiskey Bar was built in 1885 and sat at the easternmost edge of Louisville’s whiskey row and across the street from the Haymarket.

The Haymarket referred to an outdoor farmer’s market established in the wake of the Civil War. Local farmers and merchants used the spot informally to sell goods directly to consumers. The market occupied the blocks between Market, Liberty, Floyd and Brook streets, on the site of the city’s first rail station. In 1891 some of the farmers formed a stock company to purchase the space. Despite the name, the Haymarket did not actually sell hay in any meaningful quantities.

By the end of the 19th century, city regulations allowed hucksters of fruits, vegetables and other products to use three feet of sidewalk to sell their goods. Many of the purchasers were grocers who would arrive at daybreak to buy goods for resale in their neighborhood stores. Consumers who ventured into Haymarket directly were called “curb buyers.” While buying directly at the Haymarket required much more haggling than in a grocery, better deals could be had.

Starting in the 1920s the building was occupied by the S. Goodman and Sons Company. For four generations, the Goodman family was Kentucky’s premiere dealer in Ginseng, Goldenrod and other medicinal plants. They also traded in furs, wool, cowhides – all products from the countryside that they brought into their downtown warehouse. Eventually the Goodman family found East Market Street changing around them and vacated the 331 storefront sometime shortly after the beginning of the new millennium.

After several years sitting vacant, 331 E. Market gained a new tenant when Derby City Espresso opened on April 1, 2007. Originally an artisanal coffee-shop, DCE later added a unique craft beer selection and began booking live local music. After a nearly five year run, DCE closed to reinvent itself as Louisville’s only “punk rock bourbon bar” in January 2012.

Hailed as one of the top bourbon bars in the country, Haymarket retains the character, charm, and menu of Derby City Espresso, while offering the widest selection of American whiskey (especially Kentucky bourbons) within city limits. As a member of the Urban Bourbon Trail, Haymarket champions the deep culture and history of bourbon country by offering “American Whiskey History and Modern Bourbon Marketing” classes by appointment. The bar has been written about in Malt Advocate and Bourbon Review Magazines as well as being named one of Thrillist.com’s top 22 whiskey bars in America.

The future is unwritten but it’s not inconceivable that The Haymarket Whiskey Bar could reside at 331 East Market for generations to come. We certainly hope so! Until then let’s look forward to 2015 when we will celebrate the 130th anniversary of the construction of this grand old building! Cheers