Sara Havens

Photo by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | The Voice-Tribune

Photo by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | The Voice-Tribune

Nobody knows the bar scene like Sara Havens. In fact, she’s built a solid reputation and written a book about her nightlife know-how.

By day, Havens is the managing editor of LEO Weekly, but once the clock strikes happy hour, the Ohio native turns into The Bar Belle, a moniker she adopted in 2006 when she began writing about her evening adventures for the Louisville publication.

Havens’ humorous, candid columns were so popular she decided to publish a book featuring her top 100 pieces from 2006 to 2010 (along with a foreword by Congressman John Yarmuth). Thus far, the reception has been overwhelmingly positive.

The Voice-Tribune sat down with the author, who allowed us to fire away with questions – and even offered to buy us a drink.

“The Bar Belle” book is available at Carmichael’s Bookstores, Regalo Gifts and Connect with Sara online at

What’s your preferred cocktail?

Bourbon on the rocks. A good bourbon. Woodford (Reserve) and Maker’s Mark.

Where is your favorite watering hole? 

I see all the bars as members of my family. I don’t like to pick any over the other, but I do have a long-standing Thursday happy hour at the Back Door.

George Lindsey, Sara Havens and Matt Haws were three of the judges for the Manhattan Experience drink contest.

George Lindsey, Sara Havens and Matt Haws were three of the judges for the Manhattan Experience drink contest.

How long is long-standing?

Twelve years.

How do people react when they meet you?

Most say, “We thought you were going to be some crazy drunk girl,” but I’m actually pretty shy. I’ve got people who want to hang out with me, but I’m like, I’m going to let them down.

What’s the best way to get service at a busy bar? 

Don’t snap or hit the bar. I like to at least have my money out. Don’t wave it around. Just kind of make eye contact.

Where did you have your first drink – legally? 

It was in college. … I’d seen a commercial for Bud Ice, so I ordered a Bud Ice. It was gross. Then went through a Zima phase. And then I ran out of money, so I turned to crap beers.

Any advice for those of us who like to imbibe on occasion?

Turn your phone off after a certain point. It’s gotten me in trouble so many times. If I put you in my phone you should have to sign a waiver that anything that comes out after midnight you have to ignore.

What’s the worst drunk text you’ve ever sent? 

I think I booty-called someone.

If you weren’t a writeR-editor, what would you be doing?

I think I might like doing PR (public relations). I wanted to be a marine biologist until I figured out lots of science was involved. Or maybe a bartender.

Any last words?

Know your limit. If you don’t, then have friends that do. Be responsible. Take a taxi or CityScoot. … At CityScoot, they know me by first name. (Contact CityScoot, a service that gets you and your car home safely, at 502.566.6384.)