As part of the final Big Ten Tournament week in Indianapolis for awhile, your resident Indianapolis nightlife experts will give you the full lowdown on how to have a dang good time while cheering for your shootyhoops team. First, let's start with the assigned bars for each Big Ten fanbase -- and some others you should probably check out. Here are your Indianapolis Big Ten bars, in no specific order with comments from the author of this site.
1. Indiana: Kilroy's Bar & Grill
Like Kilroy's in Bloomington, except not at all. Your feet won't stick to the floor! All the long islands your heart could desire. The Wal-Mart of Indianapolis bars, and I don't mean this in a derogatory manner. Kilroy's does exactly what you'd like a bar like it to do. It's generally busy as all hell, but drinks are never too terribly hard to get. Wide enough booze selection, whilst still being relatively cheap. Close to Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Obvious ties to Bloomington. You can do a heck of a lot worse than Kilroy's downtown Indianapolis, generally. For what it is, Kilroy's is a good bar.
2. Penn State: Harry & Izzy's
Extremely dope restaurant, not really a bar. Gets high marks here, anyway. Think "extremely nice client luncheon" rather than "Big Ten tournament party." That's no matter. If you're going to Harry and Izzy's, you should eat filet sliders and ignore all other humans in your presence. Or hammer down a few bottles of nice vino, then stumble over to Bankers Life for the evening's events. Often a dinner spot, it generally empties out earlier than other locales around it. We'll assume whoever chose these bars just wanted to emulate the atmosphere inside the Bryce Jordan Center.
3. Purdue: Scotty's Brewhouse
Another good bar for sports and the like. Good outdoor drinking space (GET IT, SPACE, DID YOU KNOW NEIL ARMSTRONG LANDED FIRST ON THE MO-*hit over the head by falling piano*), which should be nice for the weekend's warmer temperatures. Pleasant. It's fine. A fine bar.
4. Michigan State: Slippery Noodle Inn
Indiana's oldest and most-hyped bar among dads that go to lots of Colts games. Also Indiana's oldest bar I routinely forget exists due to location -- it's a bit isolated from the other bars on the list on the far south end of Meridian Street. I assume it's good enough and fine for the purpose of hosting a bunch of very drunk Michigan State fans, some of which are assumedly, also, dads.
5. Wisconsin: Cadillac Ranch
If you're a Big Ten fan, you'll likely remember Cadillac Ranch from early December -- when Iowa fans literally drank Cadillac Ranch dry after they placed the largest booze order in the state ahead of the Hawkeye Friday night part. The levels of intoxication that would ensue after such consumption would, presumably, be the best way to enjoy Cadillac Ranch. You'd think that kind of business have the country-themed-bar that features a mechanical bull and is also adjacent to a police station would be begging for the Hawkeyes again. But, alas, no, they're turning to Wisconsin fans to make things more manageable. Of course, Wisconsin fans made their own impact in the city last April. Neither will likely have the same kindof turnout as they did at the Final Four or Big Ten title game, It's worth keeping an eye under the train bridge downtown to see if there's a hostile Hawkeye Bud Light-drinking takeover -- or if Wisconsin fans drink it dry first.
TL;DR: Wisconsin and/or Iowa fans are a match made in heaven for a country-themed bar ideal for consuming Bud Light en masse.
6. Michigan: O'Reilly's Irish Bar and Restaurant
Good enough Irish bar which will probably be horribly overrun on a March weekend adjacent to St. Patrick's Day.
7. Ohio State: Champps
Big, nice but also sterile downtown chain bar assumedly intended to replicate Value City Arena.
8. Iowa: Indianapolis Colts Grille
In the meantime, Iowa fans can hang out at Colts Grille, which is a standard meet-up spot for Indy-area Iowa alums.
9. Nebraska: Granite City
More restaurant than bar. Also a chain. Pretty much fine. Allegedly has or had a Sunday brunch buffet, which Nebraska fans won't be around to enjoy.
10. Northwestern: Champions
11. Rutger: Ike and Jonesy's
Close to Bankers Life. I've never actually been here, but I'll let Google's algorithm's tell the story.
12. Illinois: Ram Restaurant & Brewery
Chain restaurant and brewery based out of pacific northwest that randomly dropped locations in Indianapolis and Chicago. Has beer and food, presumably. Used to walk past here a lot when I worked downtown. Never been. Have heard nothing extremely bad or terrible about it, which is not something I can say about Illinois basketball.
13. Minnesota: Hard Rock Café
14. Maryland: Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar
Tomorrow: We'll go through other bars and things to do this weekend in Indianapolis to keep you entertained in between games.