You know the drill. You finally get a night out and you can’t think of anywhere to go. The Broad Ripple strip makes you feel old and downtown has more options than you can process in the brain space between dinner clean-up and bedtime show-down. We’ve taken the liberty of creating this list of top ten spots for a fantastic cocktail. Because sometimes a craft beer just won’t cut it. All you need now is the sitter.
Best for: A Weeknight Getaway: Open Society Public House
4850 N. College Ave, Indianapolis
Try: The Double Dare Margarita
A newcomer to the rapidly growing SoBro scene, Open Society fits into the southwest corner of 49th and College as though it has been there since the industrial era to which the design nods. Cozier than it looks from the outside and with a menu of South American small and large plates, you can come for brunch with cocktails and stay for dinner (with more cocktails).
Best for: Drinks after Work: The Libertine
608 Massachusetts Ave, Indianapolis
Try: the Bitter Paloma
Classic cocktails, craft distilleries, and boutique wines are the hallmark of this minimalist Mass Ave locale. Indy’s top mixologists serve original cocktails alongside old favorites in restaurateur Neal Brown’s hipster-chic hot-spot.
Best for: Meeting the Crew: Ball & Biscuit
331 Massachusetts Ave, Indianapolis
Try: the Vieux Carre
Inspired by the nickname of an oddly shaped 1930’s microphone, Ball & Biscuit is a Mass Ave staple specializing in prohibition themed cocktails and locally sourced small plates. Dark enough to give a little mystery to the evening, classy enough to show up before the kids are in bed.
Best for: Catching up with Old Friends: Nicky Blaine’s
20 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis
Try: the Mae West Martini
Indy’s first martini and cigar bar, Nicky Blaine’s is a full service nightclub and lounge which caters to those looking for a night out without the sports bar or dance club vibe. Named for Humphrey Bogart’s character in Casablanca (Rick Blaine) with an androgynous twist, Nicky Blaine’s is a timelessly inviting atmosphere with good seats and better cocktails.
Best for: A Classy Date: Ocean Prime
8555 N. River Road, Indianapolis
Try: a Black Orchid
This upscale modern American restaurant in the Keystone area will make you feel like you’re celebrating a special occasion even if you’re just celebrating a Tuesday night with no kids. The classy restaurant and sleek lounge definitely say “adult night”, and the food and cocktails won’t disappoint. Classic cocktails and tasty variations on the usual make these beverages worth the price.
Best for: Entertaining Out-of-towners: Hotel Tango
702 Virginia Ave, Indianapolis
Try: One Time in College
Hotel Tango is a cozy distillery in a renovated 19th century carriage house located in historic Fletcher Place. Proudly claiming the spot as Indiana’s first Artisan Distillery, the handcrafted spirits are born, made, and served on location. The fresh local ingredients and the homey feel make this cocktail lounge a must-try.
Best for: A Long Overdue Date Night: The Northside Social
6525 N College Ave, Indianapolis
Try: a Mojito
This sleek upscale eatery on Broad Ripple’s north end is the perfect place to unwind in style after a long week. The menu changes seasonally, but you can expect to find comfort foods with a twist. Classic cocktails made with fresh ingredients and fine liquors make this a great spot no matter the occasion.
Best for: Girls’ Night:Divvy
71 W City Center Drive, Carmel
Try: a New-Fashioned
This classy location inside the Carmel City Center offers free valet parking, a stylish outdoor patio area, and a small plates menu featuring over 100 items. Divvy offers a range of tasty cocktails which they call “Classics Revisited,” along with wine and champagne tasting flights. Their ability to cater to special dietary needs makes this the perfect spot for your foodie group outing.
Best for: A Special Occasion: Bluebeard
653 Virginia Ave, Indianapolis
Try: the Bee’s Knees
The cocktails and the menu at this Fletcher Place change daily, depending on the season and freshest ingredients. If you’re looking to feel trendy, this is the place. The architecturally appealing location is both cool and inviting and the upscale dishes are pleasing to foodies and comfort-food lovers alike. Pro tip: get a cocktail that pairs well with dessert.
Best for: A Friendly Gathering: Imbibe
1105 Shelby Street, Indianapolis
Try: a Dark & Stormy (only $4 on Thursdays)
Located inside the historic Fountain Square Theater this lobby bar with game room specializes in Gatsby era cocktails, hand-crafted, and served along side appetizers and craft brews. Stop in for a drink before heading upstairs for some duck pin bowling.