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Oct 3, 2010 08:49 PM

Indianapolis for a conference...

Hello all!

I will be in Indianapolis the first weekend in November (4-7) for a conference, and will be staying at the Westin. I'm looking for suggestions for places to go in the evening with good drinks and things to munch on. Basically I'm looking for places to go so we don't end up sitting at the hotel bar 3 nights in a row :-)


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  1. Can you drive? Although it's primarily a high-end meat market, Goose the Market has an Enotecca downstairs with top notch wine list and both local and imported foods. Massachusetts Avenue has a number of bars and restaurants. R Bistro has a weekly changing, locally conceived menu with reasonable pricing and a great wine list. The Chatterbox, Chatham Tap, Rathskellar, McNivens and the Ball and Biscuit for beer and cocktails. Ball and Biscuit has some of the better cocktails in Indy. The center of downtown is dominated by chains and am not very familiar. Fountain Square is southeast of downtown and you will find Siam Square for Thai, White Rabbit Cabaret (bar/theater), Imbibe, and the Brass Ring (my personal favorite, especially for cocktails). If you can drive and want a great dinner, I would rec. Recess in SOBRO. Good luck.

    R Bistro
    888 Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46204

    Chatham Tap
    719 Massachusetts Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46204

    4 Replies
    1. re: napolean

      There are mostly chains downtown.... Mortons, Palamino, Oceanaire, Shula's, Ruth's Chris, etc.... St. Elmo's is a local steakhouse that is as good as the chains. I was at Oceanaire last night and though obviously a chain, had a very good meal.

      I've been to Recess 3 times recently and it is very, very good. Be aware though that they serve a multi course menu with no options so check their web site or call to be sure that you like what is on the menu. Frankly, I've been three times and never checked the menu b/c I know it will be well done.

      1. re: napolean

        cmartink, further to napolean's and HoosierFoodie's mention of Recess - suppose you drive - or hop a cab - for a fairly early dinner on Saturday at Recess (make reservations: then take a post-prandial stroll up College Avenue (yes, it's safe) about a mile north to Broad Ripple for some bar-hopping and drinks and some local flavor. You'll pass some other bars and food places on the way up too.

        What is your age? (I see from looking at previous posts of yours that you are a recent graduate) I also gather you are from NY so there would be no comparison with Greenwich Village or West Village - or Manhattan - but you'll get a flavor of one local scene, such as it is. Google "Broad Ripple Indianapolis" if you are interested.

        1. re: huiray

          Just don't go to Broad Ripple for food unless you want sushi, you can get great fresh fish at H2O--just east of B.R. Village. Broad Ripple brewpub for English style ales (my favorite) and Brugge for belgian beer.

          1. re: napolean

            Oh, I don't long as you are not looking for haute cuisine in BR (=Broad Ripple) I think there are some decent/OK places - Petite Chou, Corner Wine Bar, Ambrosia, Brugge, Shalimar, Naked Tchopstik, to name a few... But you asked for good drinks and munchies. I've never been in it, but I understand the Red Room in BR is a "trendy hot bar spot", young folks mainly. There are bars of various sorts, some next to each other, along the main drag and on side streets in BR.

            The Jazz Kitchen provides live music (Jazz/Swing/Big Band) and OK munchies, the Red Key Tavern is an Indianapolis institution/retro trip with bartender (Russ)-enforced rules for behavior (HEH) and was a Kurt Vonnegut hangout...both places on College, on your way up walking from Recess to BR. :-)

            The beers are pretty good at Broad Ripple Brewpub and Brugge, as Napolean mentioned. Pub food at BR Brewpub. Decent steamed mussels and frites at Brugge.

            H2O Sushi is about another 3/4 mile east from the main drag of BR Village, but they also have interesting Jap-fusion type sushi & rolls as well as an eclectic Omakase offering when they do offer it.

            Corner Wine Bar
            6331 Guilford Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 76220

            Jazz Kitchen
            5377 N. College Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46220

            Petite Chou
            823 E Westfield Blvd, Indianapolis, IN 46220

            Shalimar Restaurant
            1043 Broad Ripple Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46220

      2. I agree with Napolean's recommendations- especially Recess and R Bistro.
        If you must stay downtown, I suggest going to Palomino's. The bar area has a lively atmosphere and they have a number of appetizer specials offered between 4-6pm I think. Their wine selection has never wowed me, but they have a full bar, and I do enjoy their flatbread pizzas.

        R Bistro
        888 Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46204

        1 Reply
        1. re: mem53

          Palomino is another chain restaurant, we also have Oceanaire and McCormack & Schmick, they are all very good, but you could have the same meals in other cities. Recess and R Bistro are best independent choices. New spot in Broad Ripple is Monon Food Company (MoFoCo) on Cornell by Monon trail, will be a nice change from brew pub options.

          R Bistro
          888 Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46204

        2. The Oceanaire is my favorite restaurant downtown, within a few blocks of the Westin. The seafood is excellent (much better than McCormick & Schmick in my experience). I've enjoyed dinners at Palomino and R Bistro as well. Another good place worth mentioning is 14 West, which is an independent restaurant right around the corner from the Oceanaire, offering contemporary American food.

          There are a couple more excellent non-chain places to the north that are walkable from the Westin. About 3/4 mile north of the Westin is Euphoria, in the historic Buggs Temple building, and it's outstanding. About a half mile northwest of the hotel is Zing, which has small plates (I haven't been there).

          There are two more places worth dining at just south of Broad Ripple. I ate at Zest there and thought it was excellent too and worth a visit. I also enjoyed dinner at Meridian.

          And if you have a car, my very favorite restaurant in all of Indianapolis is located about 8 miles north of downtown Indy. It's called Oakley's Bistro and it's wonderful. Stephen Oakley has a great way with food and the entire menu has a bit of whimsy to it (such as with his "shrimp corn dogs" and "lobster waffle").

          I've posted detailed reports on dinners at all of these restaurants (except Zing) in the discussion at Check it out, and check out the restaurant menus on their websites per the links noted here. As you can see, there are a lot of places in Indy where you can get very good, creative food. Enjoy your visit!

          4 Replies
          1. The Slippery Noodle Inn is a good bar to get drinks and things to munch on. Some great blues music, too.

            1. The Brass Ring for drinks and sausage platter

              1. re: napolean

                Heh. Napolean, I presume you mean the Brass Ring in Fountain Square, not the one in Haubstadt, IN ?

                nsxtasy, any recs aside from these fine dining non-drinkies (i.e. rather than high-end wine) places you recommend?

                1. re: huiray

                  Brass Ring in Fountain Square. Ask Jesse Lee or Dawn to fix you a special drink.

            2. cmartink,

              What did you end up doing? Please give us some feedback.