Boredom is a foreign concept at Stacked Pickle. From its lengthy and eclectic menu to the games broadcasted on 92-inch projectors, the dynamic eatery provides something for every taste. Diners can bite into one of nine half-pound burgers, wrap their hands around spicy-chicken tacos, or build a castle with their golden-fried fish and chips, all while admiring professional athletes run, jump, and score on one of many 50-inch plasma TVs. On some nights, live bands storm the eatery’s intimate stage, providing a soundtrack to bargoers as they take swigs from a bottle of Blue Moon or gracefully sip a glass of wine. In the warmer seasons, Stacked Pickle opens its doors to nature and encourages patrons to enjoy their meals and drinks on the spacious outdoor patio.
As a student at Ball State University, Scott Wise spent many a night at Mugly's Pub & Eatery, a local dive known for its burgers and trio of draft beers. After some time away, Scott returned to his college town of Muncie only to discover that Mugly's was for sale. Rechristened Scotty's Brewhouse, the former dive now sports a handmade oak bar and old-fashioned gas-burning lanterns, not to mention more than 30 beers on tap.
Scotty's now has six locations throughout Indiana as well as sister pub, Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Co, and each has its own menu of brews, wines, cocktails, and alcohol-repellent sodas. Though the libations change, the food menu remains the same at each award-winning eatery. The brew houses' cooks pair beer-spiked marinara sauce with gourmet grilled-cheese sandwiches full of cheddar, mozzarella, and pepper jack, as well as crown half-pound burgers with peanut butter and jalapeños. Bison burgers are available on a low-calorie menu, and gluten-free options include chicken sandwiches smothered in thai peanut sauce. All venues welcome scores of families and kids, who feast on homemade pizzas, salads, and subs--especially on Sundays and Tuesday, when kids eat free with the purchase of adult entrees.
To craft their specialty burgers, the chefs at Detour American Grille first sear grass-fed beef sourced from Moody Meats in Ladoga, Indiana. They then layer the juicy patties with innovative toppings, such as peanut butter, fresh jalapeños, and locally sourced bacon, and send them out to sate diners' appetites. Their culinary expertise extends to a variety of gourmet sandwiches and contemporary American dishes, including grilled mahi-mahi and citrus chicken. Mac 'n' cheese is crafted with a blend of three cheeses, then showered with creative toppings like pancetta, Cajun spices, and blue-cheese crumbles. As diners await their meals, they can clink frosty beers from the bar and take in sports on the flat-screen TVs.
Music, games, and classic pub fare commingle at Claude & Annie’s, where patrons kick back with beers and split chili-lime chicken wings or clasp their hands around half-pound steak burgers. Five pool tables and dartboards spark friendly competition, and multiple HD projection screens broadcast sports games tragically cut short by giant bunny-shaped shadows. The sound of live music fills the bar on select Thursdays, and guests can belt their own tunes during karaoke on Friday and Saturday nights.
The staff members at Muldoon's attribute their success to the craic, a term that they say describes the atmosphere of fun and fellowship often found in a true Irish pub. That laid-back vibe has paid off: Muldoon's has been crowned Best Neighborhood Bar by CityVoter for four years running. Washed down with an extensive beer selection, the hearty food menu stocks such Irish classics as shepherd's pie, Irish beef-and-potato stew with Guinness broth, and hand-breaded fried-cod fish ‘n’ chips. Chefs also prepare more local favorites, such as a classic Midwest breaded tenderloin that, in accordance with tradition, looks kind of like Abraham Lincoln's profile if you squint. Meanwhile, guests can cozy up by the fireplace to listen to live music or admire the antique cash register at the bar.
It’s not uncommon to spot owners Steve and Amy Ward at Nippers Grill & Tap, greeting the regulars or cheering on a game of darts. The duo takes great pride in the neighborhood atmosphere of their cheerful pub, where friends meet to swap stories over pints of frosty beer and no one feels too intimidated to take the stage for at least one song during Friday and Saturday night karaoke. Boisterous carousers compete in friendly games of pool, pausing every now and again to root for a sports team or sniffle at a heartwarming allergy-medicine commercial playing on one of the numerous flat-screen TVs. Elsewhere, tables and chairs and a lengthy wood bar host mountains of nachos, plump wings, and crispy fried pickles. During warmer months, Nippers Grill & Tap hosts games of corn-hole on its outdoor patio.