When you’ve had a long day, sometimes you deserve a bit more than just a basic vodka soda. If you’re looking for a place with quality drinks and craft cocktails, Indianapolis’ streets are lined with options for just that. Overwhelmed? Luckily, Indyfluence has put together a list of our favorite spots we hit up for a nice drink. Some of the locations are pretty casual while others are a bit swankier options for a more refined night out. But, they all are sure to deliver that classic Hoosier hospitality that will turn “just one more drink” into a late-night of conversation and libations.
Please drink responsibly!
1. Hotel Tango
This historic building is a renovated carriage repair shop that now stands as Indiana’s first Artisan Distillery. Handcrafted spirits are made and served on location, making this spot a must-try. The cozy interior makes visitors sit down and stay a while in the midst of a spiral staircase, exposed beams, and fireplaces. Fresh, local ingredients are what makes the cocktails here unbeatable.
Must try: The One Time In College (rum, cold cider, lemon, ginger syrup, and walnut bitters)
2. Spoke & Steele
The menu at Spoke & Steele is constantly changing with the seasons and latest cocktail trends. Their team of master mixologists curates a cutting edge cocktail list. Located within walking distance from Lucas Oil and Bankers Life, many traveling visitors find their way here. Their barreled cocktails and flask program are aged in preparation for special occasions or holidays, often awaited with anticipation from frequent patrons.
Must try: Milk Punch (cognac, rye, spiced rum, sherry, chai tea, clarified milk)
3. Ball & Biscuit
Esquire magazine ranked this place as one of “America’s Best Bars,” and it’s not hard to see why. This speak-easy style lounge specializes in prohibition themed cocktails. Dim pendant bulbs offer the only source of light, creating a mysterious and moody atmosphere. They also offer a small tapas menu to accompany your craft drinks.
Must try: The Abusement (jalapeño infused plantation rum, lime, simple, mint, club soda)
This charming restaurant is known for its innovation with both food and drink. The rustic patio is a trendy spot for patrons to sit at handmade tables with outdoor chandeliers hanging over their heads. The cocktail menu is frequently changing to accommodate for the fresh, housemade ingredients they use. Pair your drink with a delicious appetizer, and you’re in for a good night.
Must try: The Bee’s Knees (bone dry gin, lemon, honey, lavender bitters)
Thunderbird perfectly blends food, drink, and live music – the recipe for your ideal night. This spot used to cater to rockabilly artists who passed through town on their tours in the ‘50s and ’60s. Today, it’s known as a place where you can get a quality cocktail without breaking the bank. They also have a southern-inspired menu that’s sure to please.
Must try: The Mountains of Madness (cask strength whiskey, gingerbread liqueur, icing, egg white, bolivar bitters, nutmeg)
6. Plat 99 at The Alexander
Located in The Alexander hotel, this upscale bar is filled with modern and colorful decor designed by Cuban-born artist Jorge Pardo. Its name derives from the 99 bright glass structures that hang over the bar. This chic spot brings together patrons from all over the country to gather over artisanal cocktails and small plates.
Must try: Meridian (Roku Gin, Pisco Machu, Fruit Lab Ginger Liqueur, hibiscus, lemon, aquafaba)
7. Dorman Street Saloon
If you’re looking to get some quality drinks without having to change out of your casual weekend loungewear, Dorman Street Saloon is the perfect low-key spot for you. There’s a pool table, jukebox, sports on the TV, and you can still order a craft cocktail that is actually good. Fewer dollar signs and a shorter wait time make this an ideal spot for a casual drink.
Must try: J. Carpenter (gin, homemade pepper-infused simple syrup)
8. Nicky Blaine’s
Indy’s first martini and cigar bar, Nicky Blaine’s promises an intimate and classy night out. This full-service nightclub and lounge has an extensive menu of cocktails you can browse over candlelight. The timeless atmosphere and creative drinks will keep you coming back for the experience. And – duh – order a martini.
Must try: The Sophia Loren Martini (citrus vodka, amaretto liqueur, simple syrup, fresh lemon)
9. La Revolucion Cafe & Bar
This Mexican restaurant and bar has the ideal tropical atmosphere for you to enjoy a perfectly made house margarita. Take a seat at the outdoor patio or the indoor tiki lounge to sip on your contemporary, fresh drinks. This place is on the casual side, so you can kick back and relax like you’re actually on vacation. Get some chips and guac with that marg!
Must try: The Painkiller (rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and coconut)
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