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.
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.
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.
From the second-story balcony of Tavern On South's century-old building, diners enjoy seasonal menu creations illuminated by a blend of moonlight and the glowing Indianapolis skyline. As noted by Indianapolis Monthly in 2011, the interior's wooden accents and iconic photos of the city "lend the [newly opened] tavern a timeless patina," as diners sip on regional craft beers and thoughtfully selected wines.
Chef Allen Shideler orchestrates the menu and composes its dishes with seasonal ingredients, serving plates such as the chicken pomodoro in accordance with the growing seasons of herbs and the migratory patterns of tomatoes. The tavern is also within walking distance of Lucas Oil Stadium, allowing diners to stroll over to games after dinner.
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.
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.