The food in Indiana is typical of Midwest America. Outside of the big cities, the restaurants are family-style chains or diners where meat and potatoes reign supreme. Indianapolis, however, can boast a big diverse dining scene, and it is followed closely by the college towns of Bloomington and South Bend. Indiana’s nightlife follows the same trend, with the only real variety found in the major cities. Local bars, however, can be found in every town as Hoosiers truly enjoy a drink.
Bars and Pubbing in Indiana
The residents of Indiana love to drink and go out because really what else is there to do? It’s never hard to find a bar in this state, though the hottest nightlife is certainly found in downtown Indianapolis and the Broad Ripple Village district 15 minutes north of the center. In the downtown core, live music is a big theme at iconic joints like the Chatterbox Tavern (435 Massachusetts Ave, Indianapolis) for jazz and the Slippery Noodle Inn (372 S. Meridian Street, Indianapolis) for blues.
Broad Ripple Village is the trendy district of Indianapolis, where the young and pretty head after work to dive bars like the Alley Cat Lounge (6267 Carrollton Ave, Indianapolis) or nightclubs like Vogue (6259 N. College Ave, Indianapolis). Craft brewpubs are found in all the state’s larger cities, including the popular Broad Ripple Brew Pub (840 E. 65th Street, Indianapolis).
The state’s college towns of West Lafayette, South Bend, and Bloomington are also reliable destinations to find a party, live music and good bars. Drink prices are really affordable throughout Indiana, especially in the rural areas. Most bars close at 3:00 a.m., the state’s official closing time.
Dining and Cuisine in Indiana
Outside of Indianapolis, it will be hard to find much in the way of ethnic restaurants or creative cuisine. Most small towns specialize in Midwest American fare, though in their defense they certainly cook it well. In downtown Indianapolis there are plenty of good choices of restaurants, from the landmark century-old St Elmo Steakhouse (127 S. Illinois, Indianapolis) to the locally produced menu of creative Elements (415 N. Alabama, Indianapolis).
Broad Ripple Village is the other hot spot in Indianapolis for dining, with Indian at Shalimar (1043 Broad Ripple Ave, Indianapolis) and Yat’s (5363 N. College Ave, Indianapolis) for Cajun fare. The City Market (222 E. Market Street, Indianapolis) was also recently renovated into a cool collective of slick cafés and food stalls in the heart of downtown.
Indiana also has a decent wine scene. Rent a car and cruise the Indiana Wine Trail to experience six of the state’s top wineries spread around the southeast such as Lanthier Winery (123 Mill Street, Madison) and Stream Cliff Farm Winery (8225 South CR 90, West Commiskey). All of the wineries welcome visitors, and typically have a restaurant and often a bed and breakfast on the estate. Local breweries are also a growing facet of the drinking and dining scene here. From Upland Brewing Company (350 W. 11th Street, Bloomington) to the Four Horsemen Brewing Company (710 Fellows Street, South Bend), there is a craft brewery in most cities of size.