In the heart of the Hoosier State, the vibrant city of Indianapolis beckons both residents and travelers to partake in its spirited nightlife. Known for more than just the roar of race cars on the famous speedway, Indianapolis offers a diverse and thriving bar scene that caters to every taste and mood. Whether you’re seeking a sophisticated cocktail in a trendy downtown lounge, a laid-back brewpub experience, or a classic sports bar to catch the game, the city’s bar landscape has it all. In this guide, we embark on a journey through the Circle City to discover the best bars where locals and visitors come together to celebrate, unwind, and create unforgettable memories. Join us as we explore the top establishments that define the nightlife in Indianapolis.
Out in Fletcher Place is Bluebeard. This bar is in a converted 1924 warehouse and has a lot of character. It’s mainly a New American restaurant, but they have a bar if you enjoy a nice drink with your meal. They have beer, wine, and cocktails, but their Old Fashioned are divine.
One of the most fun places to get drinks is Tappers Arcade Bar. You’ll find the bar just outside downtown, filled with pinball machines and other arcade games you can play while sipping your favorite drink. Their draft list is extensive, and they have a handful of cocktails. I recommend going with a local Indy beer while you play.
Hotel Tango Distillery
Hotel Tango Distillery is in the Fletcher Place neighborhood. This vast brick building houses a distillery featuring all types of liquor. You can sign up for a tasting, my favorite thing to do, or purchase cocktails or a bottle to take with you. The toasted marshmallow bourbon is heavenly.
Located on historic Dorman Street, this bar is affectionately named after the street. The bar has been around since before prohibition, so it’s a historic spot and a great place to get drinks in Indianapolis. This is the type of place you go with a mixed drink like rum and coke or vodka sprite.
Duke’s is one of the best places to go out in Indy. Just south of downtown, this live music venue is perfect for dancing the night away, listening to music, and drinking incredible drinks. Duke’s Indy has a fully stocked bar so you can order almost anything. Be sure to check out their music lineup!
In the Canterbury neighborhood is a local cash-only bar, Red Key Tavern. If you ask me, this is a great dive and has one of the best atmospheres in town. It’s definitely one of the best here in Indianapolis, Indiana. It’s casual and fun, and you’ll probably leave with new friends even if you show up alone. They have beer, wine, and liquor here, so you can order whatever you want.
If you’re looking for a bar that almost makes you forget you’re in Indy and not Germany, then The Rathskeller is your bar. This is one of the most fun places to go out for the evening to enjoy comforting food and great beer. They have 12 imported beers on draft and over 50 bottled options. I highly recommend trying the Hofbrau Dunkel.
The Slippery Noodle Inn is a historic bar with a great atmosphere. It’s rustic yet has undergone improvements throughout the years. It’s known as Indy’s oldest bar, opening originally in 1850. Their food is fantastic; nothing beats a local beer to kick back with her.
To get to Alley Cat Lounge, you’ll need to travel about seven miles north of downtown. This hole-in-the-wall bar is the perfect dive for great bar snacks and cold beer. They have a full bar, too, if you prefer something simple like a rum and Coke cocktail.
If you love a jazz bar, then you’ll love Chatterbox. This local jazz bar features beautiful music, great food, and even better drinks. The atmosphere is perfect, and you’ll love stopping in for a drink, even if you’re not a massive jazz fan.
Ball & Biscuit
Ball and Biscuit is an artsy bar just east of University Park. It’s Indy’s original cocktail bar, so you’ll have to try a cocktail while they have beer and wine. The place is casual yet refined so you can come for a night out or a relaxed evening. I love the coconut lemon refresher.
Next to the Soldiers and Sailors Monument is Tastings – A Wine Experience. You can’t miss this spot in Indy if you’re a wine lover. They have a full bar, too, if you’re not interested in the wine, but booking a wine tasting and enjoying a meal here is a great way to spend an afternoon.
Inside the Alexander hotel, Plat 99 is a stunning and refined lounge in Indy. It’s the perfect spot for a drink before a nice dinner or a night on the town. I highly recommend looking at their crafted cocktail list and ordering the Plat 99 Punch.
Tini is a cocktail bar in downtown Indy. It has everything you’d expect: dim lighting, a comfortable yet chic sitting area, and unique cocktails. I love their classic cocktail options, but the New York sour is my favorite. Their greatest hits options are delicious, and the Tini Collins is popular.
Kilroy’s is downtown and is your classic American gastro pub. It’s a casual spot to meet up with friends or dine and enjoy a drink when traveling solo. I love their discounted beer, wine, and food happy hour specials.
Howl at the Moon is a premier music venue and bar in downtown Indy. This is the place to be when you’re looking for a night on the town with great music. They don’t have food, so you’ll want to eat beforehand, but the drinks are top-notch. Their small liquor buckets are popular. I like the Adios Mofo and Howlin’ Punch.
The Brass Ring Lounge is a speakeasy in the Fountain Square neighborhood. It’s intimate, relaxing, and a great place for date night. They have beer, wine, and liquor, but when you’re here, you can’t go wrong with their Bucca with a Beautiful Busch, a can of Busch beer with a shot of sambuca.
Tomlinson Tap Room
If you’re looking for a place where to get a drink, next to the Indianapolis Historic Market is Tomlinson Tap Room. This brewhouse sits in a historic building which adds to the charm. It’s a prime spot to sample craft beer from Indiana and the surrounding areas. I love their local beers and that you can take your beer with you while you walk around the market.
Above St. Elmo’s Steakhouse is a beautiful speakeasy, 1933 Lounge. It’s the perfect date night spot, a spot to celebrate, or for a fun night out. They have a fine selection of beer, wine, and cocktails for drinks and great appetizers to munch on. You can’t stop in without trying their signature Elmo Cola.
There’s nothing like a British pub, and Indy has Chatham Tap Mass Ave to cover that. I love this English-style pub because the atmosphere is laid-back unless a soccer game is on. It’s a local hangout and comes with a fully stocked bar and food menu. This is mainly a beer bar, so I’d go with Fuller’s London Pride.
16-Bit Bar+Arcade is next to University Park and is a fun place to go out in Indy. It’s filled with food, all kinds of drinks, and plenty of arcade games to keep you entertained. You can sip your favorite beer, wine, or cocktail while playing over 50 classic games.
The Broad Ripple neighborhood features a local watering hole, Broad Ripple Tavern. It has a dive bar vibe, pool tables, music, and great company. They have a full bar but going with a pitcher of beer to share with friends is most people’s move here. If you’re hungry, their tavern fries are perfect for sharing.
Foyt Wine Vault is just outside Indy in Speedway. It’s across the street from the Indiana Speedway, so the decor is racing-themed. They have food and all types of alcohol, but you can’t go wrong with their wine since it’s a wine vault.
Why should you trust us?
We use our own local experience and contacts in the city to know which places to include in our lists. We also researched the web and read 3 reputable blogs and websites, including do317.com, tripadvisor.com, and indystar.com. So that you can be sure you’re receiving the best of the best. We compiled all the results in one spot and ranked them according to how frequently they were referenced.