Wednesday, 29 May 2024
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It’s National Bootlegger’s Day. Here’s where you can get a speakeasy experience in Indy

bootleggers indianapolis password

Prohibition has been over for a long time, but there are bars in Indianapolis that offer the speakeasy experience. What better way to celebrate National Bootleggers Day?

Since 2015, National Bootlegger’s Day is celebrated every year on January 17 for a number of reasons, according to National Today. It marks the start of prohibition in the U.S., the distillation of Temple Rye whiskey, and the birthday of infamous gangster Al Capone. There is some definitive correlation between all three of these things. “It was the onset of prohibition that prompted both Capone and farmers in Templeton, Iowa, to distill their own whiskey to sell,” National Today reported. “This was how the famous Templeton Rye whiskey was born, and its popularity spread like wildfire during prohibition… so much so that it became Al Capone’s favorite whiskey.”

On National Bootlegger’s Day, we can raise a glass for the daring bootleggers of prohibition who made the risky occupation seem more romantic.

If you’re looking to celebrate locally, Indy has several bars that offer a speakeasy type of experience.

Bars that have speakeasy vibes

Bar One Fourteen

“Bar One Fourteen offers bespoke cocktails and elevated bar fare for parties of up to 16. Equipped with an elite audio system that features Klipsch Forte speakers, a vintage reel-to-reel tape player, and vinyl turntable, Bar One Fourteen provides guests an unparalleled listening experience in an environment like no other. 21+ only.”
Address: 114 E. 49th St., Meridian Kessler

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The Exchange

“The Exchange is a whiskey and craft cocktail bar stocked with hundreds of the best whiskeys from all over the world. We cultivate an upscale environment—without the airs or the dress code.”
Address: 301 Mass. Ave.

Sundry & Vice

“Sundry and Vice is an award-winning turn-of-the-century apothecary-themed cocktail bar and gathering place.”
Address: 850 Mass. Ave.

Traditional speakeasy bars

For these next few places, they operate more like a traditional speakeasy so you’ll have to do some searching. You have to find the location of the bar (many clues can be found online) and some of these bars may even require a password just like they did during prohibition, but that is all part of the fun.

The Bemburg

“The Bemberg is a private, members-only club in downtown Indianapolis. A limited number of annual memberships are available for purchase. The club is a place to gather with friends or business acquaintances to have drinks and small bites. You’ll find an upscale club with a variety of spirits, cocktails, wine, and beer at The Bemberg.”
Seating is limited and reservations are required.
Located downtown.

Bootleggers

This might be Indy’s most secret speakeasy spot. It is recommended you stop by the restaurant above the speakeasy for a hint. The speakeasy is hidden behind a vault and you will need a password; otherwise, what would be the point (Hint, hint).
Located downtown.

Commodore

Is self-dubbed a “modern speakeasy of Fountain Square.” You have your best chance of finding it on Wednesday nights since that is when they have DJ nights from 9 p.m. to midnight.
Located in Fountain Square.

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The Vault

“Welcome to The Vault Indy, where timeless elegance meets intrigue. Nestled in the heart of the Bates-Hendrick’s neighborhood in Indianapolis, Indiana, we’re not just a speakeasy; we’re a journey back to the roaring 20s and 30s. Our establishment is a living tribute to an era when classic cocktails, fine bourbons, and delectable local food pairings reigned supreme.”
As implied by the name, you’ll need a four-digit code to enter the speakeasy. A hint for the code: Check out their Instagram post from January 3, 2024.
Located in Bates-Hendricks.

Verita

Verita is hidden inside Bocca, the Italian restaurant located at 122 E. 22nd St. in Fall Creek Place. While dining at the restaurant, be sure to take a look around to find the hidden speakeasy.

Wiseguy Lounge

“Not in plain sight, but when found, you will experience calm low lighting, dark reclaimed wood, rich leather sofas, elite bourbons, craft cocktails, and knowledgeable well-dressed bartenders who can create any cocktail to satisfy your cravings.”
You don’t need a password for this one; you just have to figure out what business it is connected to. Hint: Think about the name “Wiseguy” and other names of businesses on Mass Ave.
Located on Mass. Ave.

Indy-area food: A new Parlor Doughnuts is opening on the north side. Katie Wiseman is a trending and breaking news intern at IndyStar. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @itskatiewiseman.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is National Bootlegger’s Day?
    National Bootlegger’s Day is celebrated every year on January 17 to commemorate the start of prohibition in the U.S., the distillation of Temple Rye whiskey, and the birthday of infamous gangster Al Capone.

  • What are speakeasy bars?
    Speakeasy bars are establishments that offer a unique experience reminiscent of the prohibition era. These bars often have hidden entrances, require passwords, and provide a cozy atmosphere where guests can enjoy specialty cocktails and live music.

  • Are there any speakeasy bars in Indianapolis?
    Yes, Indianapolis has several bars that offer a speakeasy type of experience. Some notable ones include Bar One Fourteen, The Exchange, Sundry & Vice, The Bemburg, Bootleggers, Commodore, The Vault, Verita, and Wiseguy Lounge.

  • How can I find these hidden speakeasy bars?
    These speakeasy bars often operate more like traditional speakeasies, requiring some searching and sometimes even passwords. You can find clues online, visit the restaurant above the speakeasy for hints, or explore neighborhoods where these bars are located.

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Conclusion

National Bootlegger’s Day is the perfect occasion to explore the speakeasy bars of Indianapolis. Whether you’re looking for a classic speakeasy ambiance or a modern twist, there are plenty of options to choose from. Enjoy bespoke cocktails, elevated bar fare, and an unparalleled listening experience at Bar One Fourteen. Visit The Exchange for a wide selection of whiskeys from around the world. Immerse yourself in the turn-of-the-century apothecary-themed atmosphere at Sundry & Vice. And for a more traditional speakeasy experience, embark on a search for hidden entrances and passwords at The Bemburg, Bootleggers, Commodore, The Vault, Verita, and Wiseguy Lounge. Cheers to the bootleggers of the past and the speakeasy adventures of today!