As the headquarters for three fortune 500 companies and home to four major universities, Indianapolis has a lively and varied bar and restaurant scene for professionals and academics to enjoy a hard-earned drink.
Indianapolis’ picturesque skyline, charming midwestern neighborhoods, and distinct seasonal weather are key influences for outdoor venues.
720 N College Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46202
Livery is a bistro and cocktail bar in a colorful, high-end, and modern space in the Lockerbie Square neighborhood.
It draws inspiration from South and Central American cuisines to create elaborate, beautifully plated dishes and vibrant, tropical cocktails.
My favorite dish was the authentic baked empanadas, which were a delightful treat. I had them with gouda, havarti, and black bean puree, served with a zesty green salsa for dipping.
1105 Prospect St, Indianapolis, IN 46203
The Rooftop Garden is an adult-only cocktail lounge on the roof of The Fountain Square Theater building, with spectacular views of downtown.
Since they’re primarily a seasonal, summer haunt, their cocktails and small plates have a charming warmth to them.
I loved the refreshing spike blueberry lemonade with a decadent bowl of spinach artichoke dip.
333 Delaware St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Located inside The Alexander Hotel, Plat 99 is a fashionable espresso and cocktail bar, catering to breakfast and nightlife crowds.
The gorgeous tall-ceilinged dining space has blown glass fixtures hanging over the wooden bar with floor-to-ceiling windows delivering stunning downtown views.
I headed to Plat 99 to listen to a live DJ set while sipping locally made whiskey drinks. They also support local craft beer artisans with a rotating beer flight.
1 S Capitol Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46204
The Eagle’s Nest is one of Indianapolis’ premier fine dining restaurants. Located inside the Hyatt Regency, The Eagle’s Nest is a revolving rooftop restaurant.
You don’t even have to walk around for 360-degree views because the restaurant moves for you. They offer locally-sourced ingredients to elaborate multicourse meals and expertly crafted cocktails.
I loved their miso-glazed sea bass, made all the more irresistible thanks to its citrus ginger butter sauce.
201 W Main St, Carmel, IN 46032
In the northern suburb of Carmel, you’ll find one of the best rooftop bars in Indianapolis with a view.
3UP is a high-end rooftop restaurant and cocktail bar with a cozy interior and a summertime rooftop scene featuring live music.
Their drink menu has some of the most creative offerings I’ve seen in Indy. The Gingerbread Martini with Tito’s vodka, Bailey’s, Kahlua, and gingerbread syrup was better than dessert!
130 S Pennsylvania St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Located inside the Hyatt Place Hotel in downtown, Pivot Bar and Balcony is a 3000-square-foot outdoor patio that encompasses the entire second floor.
It has fire pits, large TVs, comfortable couches, and bar tables perfect for outdoor drinks no matter the season.
It overlooks Bankers Life Field, so it’s a favorite spot for pre- or post-game drinks and snacks. I enjoyed a beer and their over-the-top pork belly Reuben, which was infinitely better than any stadium hot dog I’ve had.
361 Indiana Ave #1705, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Stixx Social Room and Asian Grill is a unique Asian-American comfort food and cocktail bar concept with an outdoor cigar lounge.
Located in the old Bourbon Street Distillery in Mile Square, Stixx has a lively, approachable atmosphere to enjoy dinner and drinks under the stars.
They have a robust cigar selection and a festive Asian-inspired cocktail menu. I was most impressed with their fusion food. Namely, the fried lobster sliders with spicy crab, pickled carrots, cilantro, spicy mayo, and sweet chili.
351 Monon Blvd, Carmel, IN 46032
Another Carmel favorite, Sun King is a family-friendly neighborhood brewery, distillery, and food hall.
It’s a massive warehouse space with floor-to-ceiling windows, bar and taproom, and multiple food counters, not to mention a rooftop patio.
As a brewery and distillery, Sun King has the widest selection of beer and spirits you can find. Their artisanal brews run the stylistic gamut. I went for their jovially-named American IPA, the Hop Tickler.
401 E Michigan St, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Teetering between Mass Ave and Lockerbie Square, The Rathskeller is an enormous complex featuring a huge Biergarten with a full-service bar and counter food service, an old-world taproom, and a fine dining Bavarian restaurant.
Featured in multiple publications, it is the premier destination for imported beers, German food, and a stellar atmosphere.
The taproom has 12 rotating beers on tap, plus over 50 imported bottles. They also have a family-friendly food menu. I recommend traditional dishes, like the bratwurst sandwich or brat and sauerkraut croquettes.
1105 Shelby St, Indianapolis, IN 46203
Another bar inside Fountain Square Theater building, Imbibe is an edgy and fun speakeasy bar with an outdoor patio overlooking the skyline. The interior houses a game room with foosball, pool tables, pinball machines, and air hockey tables.
Imbibe has a cocktail menu modeled off roaring 20s drinks, a unique list of locally sourced craft beers, and a food menu with everything from salads to burgers.
I enjoyed a local beer with a delicious pulled pork sandwich and a side of curly fries.
Hotel Indy, 141 Washington St 6th Floor, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Named for Indy’s iconic motorcycle racing champion, The Cannon Ball Lounge is a modern rooftop bar on the sixth floor of the Indy Hotel in downtown.
A classy yet comfortable atmosphere, it overlooks the Wholesale District and offers wonderful sunset views.
There’s a varied menu of craft cocktails, fine wines, local micro-brewed beers, and small bites. I loved their exotic, rum-infused Victory Lane cocktail.