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.
On the second-story balcony of a century-old brick building, diners at Tavern On South find their meals illuminated by a blend of moonlight and the glowing Indianapolis skyline. The tavern might also be within walking distance of Lucas Oil Stadium?100 feet, to be exact?but its upscale ambiance and seasonal menu subverts what you'd expect from your typical sports bar.
A Dining Room with a View
As noted by Indianapolis Monthly in 2011, the interior's wooden accents and iconic photos of the city "lend the tavern a timeless patina." It's a somewhat modern, toned-down take on a typical pub look, with granite bartops and exposed brick. When the weather's balmy, a meal on the patio offers unmatched views of the skyline.
Seasonal ingredients and creative flavors give Tavern on South's traditional offerings unexpected twists. Buffalo wings are made from Maple Leaf Farms duck rather than chicken, and hefty burgers are crafted from house-smoked bison. Even the meatloaf is made from prime rib.
Craft Beer and Cocktails At the bar, the craft beers on draft change with what's available from local breweries, but patrons can also find favorites from Flat 12 and Sun King Osiris by the bottle. The tavern's habit of bucking tradition also carries over to signature cocktails, such as the Cucumber Collins and a mai tai made with spiced rum.
Situated within blocks of the speedway, Kelly’s Pub Too celebrates the history of the asphalt loop by plastering their sports bar with all sorts of racing memorabilia, ranging from go-karts to NASCAR. Between sips of beer or shots at one of 10 pool tables, bar-goers fill up on a menu of classic bites, splitting baskets of wings and potato skins or tearing into a spicy Cajun blue cheese burger all on their own. The kitchen also turns out 14-inch pizzas topped with chicken, veggies, and sausage, as well as baskets of crispy fish and chips. A wide stage hosts live music acts throughout the week against a speedway mural that shows the track, stands, and a grand marshal questioning his place in the world now that the race has started.
In an interior that blends the aura of a club with that of a good friend?s living room, minimalist geometric paintings reminiscent of Rothko?s work hang alongside classical portraiture on the walls. Beneath the swaths of color, patrons direct their own tasting experiences with self-serve Enomatic machines, which draw from dozens of bottles to dispense servings of 1?6 ounces of red or white wines. More than 30 domestic and international wines star on the wine list, from sweet rieslings to cabernet sauvignons to the deep red of a rebellious bull?s Camaro. Sharable plates, including baked brie with apricot compote and flatbreads topped with steak and Stilton blue cheese, fuel conversation.
Nominated as one of Metromix's best bars in 2011, Taps & Dolls matches a medley of appetizers, sandwiches, and pizza with more than 44 draft beers, including craft brews and big-brewery ales. As bartenders loosen the taps, a line of flickering flat-screen TVs above the bar lets patrons cheer on their favorite sports teams or bellicose cartoon animals while they quaff PBR or Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. In addition to the 2-D entertainment, pool tables and arcade games—including Golden Tee and Silver Strike Bowling —keep fingers busy in between bites of chicken wings or fries, and a dance floor pulses with the beats of an all-request DJ Thursday–Saturday.