It’s taken a while, but if you care to stroll from Louisville across the Big Four Bridge, there’s a real treat at the end. Walk down the long ramp and just across the street is the newly opened Parlour, a combination craft pizzeria, beer garden, and cocktail lounge.
Parlour’s creation has taken about a year, said operating partner Matthew Farley, one of the members of Jeffersonville Hospitality, LLC, which also operates the nearby Portage House. Turning the 1830’s era building into a modern restaurant required major renovations, including re-positioning of walls. In order to install the kitchen’s main feature, an 8,000-pound oven from northern Italy, workers had to remove a wall.
But Farley said the design of the property, with prominent and inviting green space and comfortable lawn furniture outside, complements its surroundings.
“It’s a real inviting green space, and it matches the setting of the bridge,” he said. “We want to be really inviting coming off the bridge.”
Farley said his group didn’t set out to open both the Portage House (which is in its fifth month of operation) and Parlour in a six-month window.
“It wasn’t by design, but these were two beautiful spaces,” he said. “To take advantage of this location, we were able to create a bar setting for adults and make it family friendly as well.”
Jeffersonville residents have choices in how to enjoy Parlour. There’s the main dining room for a simple sit-down dining experience, while the upstairs bar area includes a half-dozen seats adjacent to a patio with a gorgeous view. There’s a more private dining area on the second floor as well. Outside, a covered patio bar with TVs offers pizzas by the slice, and you can enjoy the atmosphere on patio furniture placed on a few patches of grass.
At the bar, Parlour serves a selection of bourbons, whiskeys and vodka on tap.
“You don’t see it a lot in this market,” Farley said. “There are clear benefits, it features the product, service is extremely fast, and making cocktails adds dynamism — the bartender has more control of the character of the cocktail. You can make it creamier, depending on how you pull the tap lever.”
The imported wood-fired oven allows the preparation of pies unique to the region, Farley said. Crusts have a spotted char to them, in what he called “Italian” style. There are 10 unique pizza creations on the menu, including a Broccoli Cheddar, Artichoke Pesto and Caprese, and of course you can create your own.
The Big Four Bridge opened to walkers four years ago, and there’s no question that its presence has changed the character of Jeffersonville. By his own admission, Farley said Parlour wouldn’t have happened without it.
“Our inspiration was to take advantage of the location,” he said.“We’re really proud to play a part in the further revitalization of Jeffersonville’s historic district. I don’t think you’ll find a better hangout spot on either side of the Ohio River.”