The Ultimate Guide to the Indianapolis Bar Scene

Are you looking for the best bars in Indianapolis? The city is famous for its bars, and you can enjoy the rich heritage of the Railroad City at its historical and contemporary taverns.

bars in indianapolis offering fruit cocktail drinks

Indianapolis’s bars have something for everyone. Visit the oldest bar in the state for creative cocktails or try whiskey at a veteran-owned distillery.

You can try hearty American bar food, Mexican cuisine, and artistic charcuterie boards. I love visiting Indianapolis, and I always go to the iconic bars.

You can have a wild party with fruit-infused drinks or an intimate evening with old-fashioned whiskey. Check out my list of the best bars in Indianapolis below!

Ball & Biscuit

331 Massachusetts Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone: 317-636-0539
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Ball & Biscuit is a hip bar near Indianapolis’s historic Lockerbie Square, and it’s popular with locals and visitors.

It has innovative cocktails, creative snack plates, and a speakeasy vibe that gives it a trendy atmosphere. Head down to Massachusetts Ave and E New York St and check out this Indianapolis staple.

I like to start with a bubbly wine like the Astoria Sparkling Rosé, a perfect drink for celebrations or a fun night out.

If you prefer a heavier beverage, try an Ash & Elm cider or signature old-fashioned. Don’t forget to order a hummus plate or baked goat cheese platter.

Alley Cat Lounge

6267 Carrollton Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46220
Phone: 317-257-4036

When you’re in Indianapolis, you have to visit Alley Cat Lounge. It’s a funky establishment with down-to-earth vibes, and it’s in northern Indianapolis near the White River.

Alley Cat Lounge is on Broad Ripple Ave and Carrollton Ave, and it has an extensive drinks menu and Mexican cuisine.

I like the homemade chicken tortilla soup, and it’s great for a cold Indiana night. The chorizo empanada is also excellent, and it has onions, cheese, and sweet peppers.

Alley Cat’s chefs wrap the empanada in sweet potato dough and cook it in deep-fry oil, and the result is a crunchy, decadent meal that you’ll love.

Hotel Tango Distillery

702 Virginia Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46203
Phone: 317-653-1806 ext. 2
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Hotel Tango Distillery is a military-owned bar in the Fletcher Place area. It’s in a rustic brick warehouse and has an authentic, laidback vibe.

The distillery focuses on local, sustainable practices, and all proceeds support military associations. Hotel Tango Distillery has a menu with creative light bar food, and it’s an Indianapolis bar with values as strong as its whiskey.

The bar distills whiskey, rum, vodka, and rye, and you’ll get to sample drinks right from the source. Head to the tasting room and try an old-fashioned or an inventive house cocktail. I recommend the nachos and the charcuterie board.

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Howl at the Moon Indianapolis

20 E Georgia St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone: 317-955-0300
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Howl at the Moon is a hip bar with a high-energy vibe. It has regular live music, and you can dance and enjoy a loud atmosphere.

The bar is in the Wholesale District, near the famous Gainbridge Fieldhouse arena, and it focuses on entertainment and live parties.

Order the house specialty and share a drink by the bucket with your friends like the Pink Paradise bucket.

The Fruit Roll-Up is my favorite drink, and it’s a flavorful peach vodka with cherries, Honeycrisp apple vodka, and melon liqueur.

Have some fun and order the strawberry shortcake shots with whipped cream and berry puree.

Slippery Noodle

372 S Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN 46225
Phone: 317-631-6974
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Order drinks at this historic spot in the Wholesale District. It’s the oldest bar in the state and survived Prohibition as a speakeasy, and the vintage atmosphere continues today.

Slippery Noodle Inn has American cuisine, classic drinks, and spicy wings. I like the Philly steak sub. It’s dripping with melted Provolone and has choice slices of sirloin steak.

Order a side of bacon and cheese baked potatoes, Cajun fries, or Cheddar jack quesadillas. Try the Sinking Sunlight cream ale, Shock Top Belgian White, or draft beer, and don’t forget to try the molten chocolate cake with ice cream and truffle for dessert.

1933 Lounge

127 Illinois St, Indianapolis, IN 46225
Phone: 317-635-0636
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Enjoy a classy, stylish experience at the 1933 Lounge in the heart of the Wholesale District. It’s a cocktail lounge with upscale appetizers and seafood cuisine, and the atmosphere is cozy and warm.

1933 Lounge is famous for its extensive wine list and house cocktails, and you have to drink a Liquid Love Affair when you visit.

It’s a fruity martini with sparkling wine, and the hints of passionfruit and pineapple provide a fragrant touch.

I also like The Journeyman Manhattan, a sweet vermouth cocktail with orange and house-made rye. Try the seafood and order a plate of shrimp sliders or a crab macaroni and cheese bowl.

Broad Ripple Tavern

745 Broad Ripple Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46220
Phone: 317-257-6030
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Broad Ripple Tavern is a casual spot with American cuisine. It’s by The Vogue Theatre in the Broad Ripple district, and it has games, a pool table, and relaxed vibes.

I like to visit the tavern when I want a cozy atmosphere and hearty American grill food. I recommend the Tavern Burger with your choice of toppings.

Choose from Swiss cheese, grilled onions, bacon, fried egg, or add jalapenos for a kick of spice. You can also order a vegetarian black bean burger if that’s more your style.

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I also like the grilled chicken nacho plate, which puts a fun spin on classic nachos with toppings like black olives and pulled pork.

Chatham Tap

Multiple locations
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Chatham Tap has several locations in Indianapolis, including the Butler, Fishers, and Chatham-Arch areas.

It’s an English pub with global cuisine, and the pub is the best place in town to watch live soccer matches. The vibe is cozy and casual, and I like to visit after a long day of touring the city sights.

Try the fish and chips with seasoned fries and tartar sauce, a British specialty, or try the bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich on Parisian bread.

I like the St Joseph beer, but a mug of cold Guinness beer is a fan favorite at this sports pub.

Foyt Wine Vault

1182 N Main St, Speedway, IN 46224
Phone: 317-672-4246
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Foyt Wine Vault is one of my favorite bars in the Speedway area. If you’re visiting for the Indy 500, stopping by to see the Motor Speedway, or spending time in west Indianapolis, grab a glass at Foyt Wine Vault.

It’s a classy wine lounge with an upscale atmosphere, and the bar serves refined Italian and American cuisine.

I always start with a traditional bread basket with baguette slices, soft pretzels, honey butter, spicy mustard, and cheese.

The charcuterie board is excellent, and it has local meats and cheeses. Don’t forget the fresh mozzarella Italian meatballs with basil and red sauce.

Kilroy’s Bar & Grill

Multiple locations
Phone: 317-638-9464
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If you’re craving a full, hearty meal with your drinks, visit Kilroy’s Bar & Grill. There are locations in the Wholesale District and the Broad Ripple area, and there are location-specific daily specials.

The vibe is comfy and casual, and the cuisine is American with barbeque and regional dishes. It’s mainly a sports bar, but the Broad Ripple location welcomes families.

Try the Wisconsin cheese curds or mini corn dogs with mustard to start, then tuck in a big slow-smoke feast.

The feast includes pulled pork, brisket, or chicken, and you can choose from sides like waffle fries and green beans.

Plat 99

333 Delaware St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone: 317-624-8200
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Plat 99 is a chic cocktail bar in downtown Indianapolis near South Street Square Park. It’s in The Alexander hotel and has a retro vibe.

Sample refined small plates with savory and sweet cuisine, and enjoy the cozy atmosphere with designer decor.

I recommend trying imported drinks like the Caribbean rum, but the Spanish rose wine is my favorite. Don’t forget to sample the local drinks, like the Moscato Oliver wine native to Indiana.

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Try the roasted pepper hummus with cucumber and olives. The hummus has a feta topping, and it pairs well with cocktails. Finish with a tiramisu cake.

The Rathskeller

401 E Michigan St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone: 317-636-0396
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Do you like German cuisine? Visit the Rathskeller Restaurant and enjoy the best German bites in the city.

It’s a beer hall, and you can sample authentic German drinks and cuisine in a traditional atmosphere.

I always enjoy the live music at the Rathskeller, and the cozy yet casual environment keeps me coming back again and again.

This bar is near Lockerbie Square, by the James Riley Museum. Eat authentic German sausage, Bavarian snacks, and soft pretzels.

And of course, you have to try a beer. Try fermented Bavarian beers, golden lagers, and continental Belgian ale with hints of caramel.

Tappers Arcade Bar

501 Virginia Ave #102, Indianapolis, IN 46203
Phone: 317-602-6411
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Change things up a bit and enhance your bar experience with arcade games. Tappers Arcade Bar is a free-play arcade, retro bar, and one of the best places for craft beer in the city. It’s in Fletcher Place, near Interstate 70.

You can play pinball while you enjoy a drink, try your hand at a vintage arcade game, or snack on locally made chips. The bar doesn’t serve meals, but you’re welcome to bring dinner from a nearby restaurant.

The Banana Hammock is my favorite frozen drink, with lime, rum, and pineapple. Also, try the old-fashioned whiskey with brown sugar.


717 Massachusetts Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone: 317-986-6603
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You have to visit Tini before you leave Indianapolis. It’s on Massachusetts Ave, south of the Chatham-Arch district, and it’s the perfect place for a mellow evening.

The cuisine is American with Korean influences, and the vibe is upscale but welcoming. Check the schedule for live music and events.

Tini is famous for its creative cocktails, but it has a menu ranging from frozen drinks to apple brandy. I like the cheese smash burger with a frozen lime and strawberry daiquiri.

Order a side of waffle fries with kimchi and Gochugaru ranch, and don’t forget the sweet and spicy steam buns.

Tomlinson Tap Room

222 E Market St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone: 317-423-2337
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One of my favorite things to do is take a group of friends to Tomlinson Tap Room. The bar serves local Indiana beers in a historic space.

It’s in the Market East District, a few streets over from the Soldiers and Sailors monument, and it’s in the Indianapolis City Market.

The vibe has an authentic pub feel and is casual and cozy. Bring your food, order a meal at the market, or enjoy a beer on its own at this iconic local hub.

The bar serves 19 taps of rotating beer, and the drinks are local, authentic, and guaranteed delicious!

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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