The Pinnacle Guide

PRETTY DECENT

Louisville, USA

Entered through a plant shop that seamlessly blends into a bar, Pretty Decent is a 20-seat cocktail destination featuring Latin and South American spirits.

AREAS OF EXCELLENCE

AREAS OF EXCELLENCE

 The Pinnacle Guide assesses bars against eight areas of excellence, following a rigorous self-application process and anonymous in-bar reviews. Find out more about this process and apply as a bar here.

ENVIRONMENTAL ENDEAVOURS

Pretty Decent uses only small-scale producers, focusing on people who make spirits out of pride, tradition, and heritage. As an agave-heavy bar they do not buy any tequila from distillers using cloned monoculture agave that is a strain on the biodiversity and ecology of Mexico. Instead, they support producers working to fix issues like water security in their village, biodiversity throughout Mexico, and habitats for bats who perform the important work of pollinating agave plants. 

DETAILS OF NOTE

It’s not just the spirits that make it back over the border with the Pretty Decent team. They also bring lots of dry chiles back from Oaxaca three to four times a year for one of the salsas made in house. Meanwhile their verde cruda salsa, is made entirely from tomatillos, serrano chiles, cilantro, and garlic grown in the bar’s home garden. As a small venue – if the bar is full – they run a wait list and will send a text when space becomes available.

The Pinnacle Guide

1

There are plenty of bars in the world where guests enter a business of another nature, head through a secret door and pop up in a bar. Pretty Decent isn’t one of them. While the front is a plant shop it’s not entirely clear where that ends and the bar begins, they just seamlessly transition. This is helped in part by the fact that Pretty Decent’s bar is designed like a modern-minimalist home kitchen.

During daylight hours, the warmth and light are let in through the plant shop’s windowed-front, enhanced by the space’s incredibly high ceilings, the greenery everywhere and bright, light finishes. The bar top is a 14-foot piece of maple with a Rubio finish that makes it look naked, like a butcher block, something guests are often drawn to touch when seated here. There’s also no barrier between the workspace of the bartenders and those sitting at the counter, it truly is like sitting at a friend’s kitchen island while they cook dinner.

Behind the bar is a large selection of vinyl records and a turntable spinning music. There’s a pale blue and white tiled backsplash in mismatched patterns and above that just one shelf displaying about 110 heritage clear Mexican spirits. Art on the walls feature prints sourced on trips to Oaxaca or pictures taken by the owner in Mexico City and Chicago. In short, everything at Pretty Decent feels very considered, but ultimately like a charming, laid-back neighbourhood bar. Whilst guests are not wrong to assume that, the cocktail program is far from it.

The majority of ingredients at Pretty Decent are made in-house and they really take their time over this – meticulously creating bespoke products such as hazelnut-cinnamon syrup or ‘Horgeat’ – their own recipe orgeat that starts with a base of Horchata. They proudly prep one hour for every two hours of service.

Drinks are almost exclusively based on pisco, mezcal, tequila and rum and as such lean towards bright, citrusy, shaken numbers. But there is also a compendium of classics for guests to fall back on should they want something known and loved. All the staff are well educated on the spirits here and regularly take trips south through Oaxaca to soak up more knowledge and bring back tasty bottles.

The spirits menu (housed in custom-made leather binding from local company Clayton and Crume) is effectively an education in agave and the team are happy to steer guests as appropriate. For bartenders – this education piece extends further to category masterclasses – and Pretty Decent open their doors to all local hospitality professionals who would like to learn more. Such is the commitment to mezcal – they have even commissioned candles that smell like the spirit – which are for sale at the front and burnt in the bar and the bathrooms.

S
ofter music is heard while the plant shop is still open, transitioning to music intended to evoke a sense of nostalgia; albums that get reactions such as ‘I haven’t heard this in forever’ or ‘I loved this album in high school.’ Plenty of late 90s, some golden age hip-hop and latin jazz or Afro-Cuban songs. As the evening descends the room is incredibly homey, and the vibes true that vision of a dinner party come to life in a plant shop.

At the end of the night any unused ice after service is melted and used to water the plants and spent coffee grounds from the cold brew are used as fertiliser. 

“This is one of the best overall bar experiences I’ve had in recent memory. It is unique for its environment, as many bars in Louisville are whiskey heavy. Menus are beautifully designed, and the cocktail descriptions are both poetic and informative.”

The Pinnacle Guide Anonymous Reviewer

DO YOU THINK YOU COULD BECOME AN ANONYMOUS REVIEWER FOR
THE PINNACLE GUIDE? CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT MORE…