Best Of Indy 2005 

You know the drill. This is YOUR issue. Well, of course, every issue is YOUR issue — meaning we put NUVO out for you! And, well, OK, because we believe in arts, entertainment and social justice. And, well, OK, also because we get a paycheck. Where were we? Oh yeah, YOUR issue: You get to vote for your bests — and in fact throughout this product you’ll find YOUR words. You wrote about your favorite places and people when you submitted your ballot votes. You wrote about your favorite Indy entities off-ballot, when we sent out our call for entries.
The Big Thirty
Best Bar or Nightclub

The Vogue
Slippery Noodle Inn

Talbott Street

Talbott Street offers several options for the social type. Great dance floor and wonderful selection of DJs. The female impersonation is the best in the state!

The decor is unique and the different bars are roomy. David makes great martinis in the Sky Bar. —Holly Petree

Tiki Bob’s is filled with hot girls pretty much all night long. If you’re the people-watching sort, it’s where you want to go. You never know what you might get to talk about the next day. —Eli Vance

The Red Key is the best neighborhood bar around. Friendly and well-kept with great BLTs and potato salad. Russ runs a tight ship, but this means everyone knows how to behave but have a great time enjoying himself. Everyone from town drops in to say hi and be refreshed. —Nancy Showalter

The Chatterbox is the place to be. It’s the best place for live jazz in town, and there are always interesting people to chat with. —Laura Becktel

The Ugly Monkey is the only club that has had to fight the city to stay open. Before the club rented from Union Station, the city had no one to rent that space and the taxpayers helped foot the bill. I commend the owners and staff of the club for standing up for what they believe in — the right to own a legitimate business in the United States. —Kevin Mehay

Midtown Grill is the best place for a first date on a nice evening. The patio is great, good view and enough to watch but not too much to be distracted. The service is excellent. The staff makes actual suggestions and doesn’t just say everything is good. Perfect martinis, half-price on Tuesdays! I am not sure if the date I just had was that good, or Midtown just made it seem that way! —Mary Farrell

Drifty’s Sports Pub. Finally, a great blues bar on the Southside. Very cool place. Eighteen TVs, eight pool tables, seven dart boards and the biggest names in blues. Very cool. —Jennifer Elliott

The Beer Sellar, with their 50 drafts and 100 different bottles, is a beer drinker’s heaven. It has five pool tables, a full-length shuffleboard table and four big screen TVs, so everyone has something to do. It also has the best nightly drink specials in the Castleton area, including $5 pitchers every Thursday and Sunday. They added a full-service kitchen to feed even the biggest appetites. Why go anywhere else? —Mark Collings

Coaches Tavern has a little bit of everything you need in a bar/live music venue. The atmosphere is perfect. The location has been a tavern since the ’40s, and Coaches keeps that theme. Watching a sports event there is more than exciting with the local tavern feel. The food is by far the best tavern food in the city. The live music is local, and nationwide talent keeps the night going. Their drinks are well worth the money (they make them stout if you like). —Shane Holden

CT Peppers is the best bar in town! With it being two stories you can have your choice of a live band or dancing your heart out to top 40 music downstairs. —Melissa Crain

I love going to Howl at the Moon! It is always a good time and the waitstaff is really great! —Laura Wood

The Patio has the ambiance of a club, good acoustics and an intimate setting for concerts. Just a great venue all around! —Devon Kaser

Plump’s. With buckets of Keystone Light for $5, friendly patrons and waitstaff and being able to bring your best friend or your dog, Plump’s can’t be beat! Good times, good people, great bar. —Zachary Steele

J. Clyde’s, located on Indy’s Eastside, around the corner from the Emerson Theater, is the epitome of happy hour. Whether you stop in on your way home from work or party it up between bands at the Emerson, there is never a dull moment. With a jukebox that plays Al Greene to Patsy Cline and boasts local favorites like Shadeland, The Slurs and About The Fire, there is truly something for everyone’s listening pleasure, not to mention three of Indy’s most loved and popular bartenders: Susan, Ross and Kris. Where else can you get a High Life on tap for a buck? —Katie Hurst

Best Live Music Bar

The Vogue
Slippery Noodle Inn
The Patio

The Slippery Noodle Inn is without a doubt the most pleasant and friendly bar I have ever been in. And — trust me on this — being from the U.K., I have been in bars all over Europe. All the staff, including the scary-looking doormen, are unfailingly polite and good-humored, the music is tremendous and the other patrons so friendly it’s like being at home (even though some of them think I’m Australian!). I just wish I lived nearer — well, much nearer, actually! —Peter Miles

The Patio has got to be the best place I have found. I saw Greg Dulli from the Afghan Whigs, and he was right in front of my face! The stage is so low — it’s great! —Heather Dean

Chatterbox. The atmosphere is totally relaxing. The walls are covered with signs of past patronage. The waitstaff is very nice and attentive. Just a great place to relax, chat up a new friend and enjoy the musical vibes. —Megan Helwig

At Cheeseburger in Paradise, you get the best bar with beer pouring at 38 degrees, great food and a very friendly waitstaff. You also get great live music. All this, plus the fact that it has an outstanding Parrothead atmosphere. —George Wallace

The Jazz Kitchen in Broad Ripple is a great local place to hear live jazz. The atmosphere is very laid-back and relaxing. A great place to end the night or start it. —Mandy Maddox

When a friend of mine from work and I went out for a night on the town, she mentioned Howl at the Moon. I said I didn’t want to go to some piano bar, but she told me, “Just wait, you’ll like it,” so we went. It was the best — I hadn’t been downtown in years and I had the time of my life. We had no problem getting served, and the action was great. I recommend it to everyone, especially if you have never been to a piano bar. —Kathy Lindley

The Broad Ripple Brewpub has the best waitstaff EVER! I’ve been going there for over three years now, and I’ve never had a bad experience. The servers and waitstaff seem to love their jobs, and this is reflected onto each guest at the Brewpub. The staff is consistently friendly and timely, and there is almost always an engaging conversation that accompanies each visit to the restaurant. Perhaps it is the precisely brewed beer that evokes the pleasant attitudes, but I am willing to bet that it is much more than that, seeing as the average tenure of a server/bartender is about three years. The Broad Ripple Brewpub staff will forever be my friends and “family” as long as I’m still able to lift an IPA to my mouth. Cheers! —Courtney Hughes

The Ugly Monkey has overtaken the dance club bar, and every Wednesday and Thursday night, they are showcasing local music. —Rob Snodgrass

Birdy’s. It has alcohol, a hole-in-the-wall, laid-back atmosphere and bad-ass music; what else does a nurturing metal head need? Birdy’s has been the breeding ground for great acts and future rock stars for years. Battle of Birdy’s is setting the pace for the Indianapolis metal/hard rock scene. Finally, there is a place where you can publicly resurrect that vintage 1987 Slayer tour shirt and feel right at home. —Cody Jones

Best Dance Club

The Vogue
Talbott Street
Tiki Bob’s

The Vogue is a unique place to experience nightlife in Indy. There is not another bar in Indy where you can see amazing dancers dressed up as celebrities, enjoy cheap drinks and dance the night away with all of your friends! —Alana Maddox

Growing up gay in Indiana can be quite tiresome — having to constantly defend oneself against the misguided, ignorant bigotry of our fresh-off-the-farm brethren. At the end of the week, however, Talbott Street affords an opportunity to escape the arduousness of a much-heterofied, Midwestern, punch-the-clock existence. For a few magical hours, anyone can be as carefree as he wants (and not worry about lugging around that Bible to show “morally true” Christians what it actually says — and doesn’t). —Joe Wohlhieter

Best Restaurant

India Garden
Maggiano’s Little Italy
The Oceanaire Seafood Room

Marco’s restaurant is hidden away near 52nd Street and Keystone Avenue. Great service, incredible food in an old supper club setting. Daily specials are one of a kind! —Brenda Dembroski

Yats is yatastic! My husband Ty and I have been known to eat there one to three times a week. —Carol Baker

El Jaripeo in Westfield. Best Mexican food, great service and great prices. —Cindy Robison

Fujiyama is the best restaurant in Indianapolis. It is a Japanese steakhouse off Emerson Avenue and I-465. It’s a little more expensive than the average, but it’s well worth it. It’s so much fun for a couple, a family or even a group. I’ve gone there for birthdays, anniversaries and high school prom. They cook your meal right there in front of you. What could be better than that? —Ashley Mayhew

Opening night for Abuelo’s Mexican Food Embassy was enough to make this Mexican food lover return, if not for the tender and juicy fajitas and mouthwatering enchiladas, then the margaritas. (Oh, the margaritas!) The “La Grandeza” margarita has an orange-infused Sauza Blanco Tequila that will make you come crawling back for more. Even if you’re not a Mexican food lover, if you love a good margarita you won’t leave disappointed (in fact, you might need a little help getting out the door). —Lynette Rowland

The Claddagh Irish Pub downtown is the best restaurant that I have ever enjoyed! Not only is the food excellent (I’ve never disliked anything I’ve tried and I’ve tasted most of the menu), but the service is fabulous, the beer is delicious (you can’t find a better black and red) and the atmosphere can’t be matched! I suggest this place to everyone, and I’ve never had anyone tell me they didn’t enjoy themselves — including a native Irishwoman! —Megan Clayton

The Rathskeller is the best restaurant because Wayne is the best bartender! —Courtney Hansen

Puck’s has wonderful ambiance, service and the food is sensational. —Amy Feiber

Bobby’s in Westfield is a great family pub. The food is excellent but reasonably priced. Kids always eat cheap, if not free. It’s like family. —David Hodge

Best New Local Restaurant

Cheeseburger In Paradise
Brugge Brasserie

Johnny Carino’s Italian Restaurant

Urban Element is tucked away on Pennsylvania Avenue with a great menu, fun people and an inviting, comfortable environment. Let’s help keep it there until the library re-opens! —Ana Papakhian

Decadent by Design Café. I had the maple bourbon pork with dill red potatoes and sauteed cabbage, followed by Italian cream cake. It was the best meal I have had in months! The waitstaff was great and I love the location. —Kevin Lackey

Hoaglin To Go Cafe is a breath of fresh air in Indy dining! It has New York style with Midwestern charm, and the food is exceptional. —Peter LePage

Miyako Japanese restaurant in Fishers is new to me. It is small, but the food is awesome, the service is outstanding and the food is fresher than any local Japanese restaurant. It is high quality food at an affordable price. They treat you very well there. —Rachel Carr

Best Waitstaff/Service

India Garden
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse

St. Elmo’s Steakhouse

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse makes you feel like king for a day. —Jason Morris

The first time I went to Yats, I didn’t have much cash, so I asked if they took credit. The server answered, “No, but we take IOUs.” —Liz Sprague

I enjoyed my first time visit to the Oceanaire. Our waiter was very helpful with suggestions, knowledgeable about seafood, and prompt. —Kim Johnson

Peterson’s staff and service are second to none. Very personable, attentive and courteous. —Mary Shawn Seaborn

Best New Business


Fry’s Electronics

Ah Barista Cafe has the best deli sandwiches and drink selection I have seen in a long time, not to mention their soups. Wednesday’s Chicken Velvet Soup is to die for. The staff is great, friendly and gives the best customer service. —Dawn Huth

Best Major Local Event

Indianapolis 500
Indiana State Fair
Brickyard 400

The Indy 500 Parade is the best way to spend an afternoon with 300,000 people! —Jody Riskowski

The variety, quality and freshness of produce offered at the Broad Ripple Farmer’s Market in Indy is unsurpassable. Flowers I buy have been cut that morning, greens are less than 24 hours from the garden and you can smell the juice of the Indiana melons 20 feet away. I find speaking to the farmers, bakers, florists and other escapees from plastic and additives fascinating. The live entertainment at Broad Ripple’s market is excellent — I’ve heard lots of artists I would never have known otherwise. —Sylvia Patterson-Scott

The Talbott Street Art Fair, which happens every year on the second weekend in June, just keeps getting bigger and better! There is art and food for every taste and pocketbook. It’s a free event that people of all ages can enjoy. It is sponsored by the Herron Morton Neighborhood Association, and the neighborhood puts a tremendous effort into the event. The Herron Morton neighborhood itself, a blend of beautifully restored Victorian homes and new construction, is a great setting for the art fair. —Kathleen Shortridge

Best Local Summer Festival

Indiana Black Expo
Brew Ha Ha
Broad Ripple Art Fair

Festiv-Ale is the best summer event that Indy has and all proceeds go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. There is an amazing variety of beer, wine and food, all included in the $30 ticket price. With its location outside of the Northside Claddagh Irish Pub, consider it the perfect opportunity to celebrate “halfway to St. Pat’s Day” with 800 new friends. Every year it gets better and better. -Liz Polan

Best Live Theater

Indiana Repertory Theatre
Phoenix Theatre

The Murat

Best Local Men’s Clothing Store

Men’s Warehouse
Express men

The staff at Nordstrom is helpful and friendly. They are not snobbish and will do what it takes to make the customer happy. The clothing is trendy and the prices are not nearly as obnoxious as Saks or the shops on Massachusetts Avenue. Their return policy is second to none. —Jason Stellema

Best Local Women’s Clothing Store

LS Ayres
Old Navy

Best Local Band

The Pieces
Jennie DeVoe

Spanky’s Clubhouse

I thoroughly enjoy the Jennie DeVoe Band. Jennie is a versatile, talented musician and songwriter. She is truly one of Indiana’s best! —LeighAnn Crane

Spanky’s Clubhouse is definitely the best local band in Indy. They rock. They have a wide range of songs and their eight original songs are awesome. If you haven’t come out to see them, you are missing a great party. They always have a blast every weekend. Jeff, the lead singer, is the best live singer I have ever heard. He can change his voice and still sound awesome for many different songs. —Amanda Evans

The Medicine Man Band is the best cover band Indy has to offer for many reasons. 1) They not only play popular dance songs they play the ones that all the other cover bands in the city neglect. 2) Their shows are energetic and entertaining. 3) They just plain ROCK! —Andrew Vaughn

Extra Blue Kind rocks. They just signed to Opulent records. IMC has been playing their video, and they dropped their official CD at Radio Radio. —Allan van Horne

Margot & the Nuclear So & So’s is not only the best local band I know of, it is one of the best bands I’ve heard in a long time. A fan of Richard Edwards’ impressive songwriting and distinctive voice, I feel he’s finally hit the nail on the head with his current band, incorporating a variety of sounds including cello, melodica, trumpet and a Rhodes piano. Margot never fails to impress. —Michaela Tacker

Why is Newmatic the best band in Indy? Name one other band that has appeared in the last few years that puts on a show like these guys do. —Chris Bergstrom

Dark House Sweet’s new self-titled album really rocks! This is a band on its way up. —Mark Stults

Jessica Benge is an up-and-comer who has actually been around for a while. She has an extremely powerful and soulful voice, mixing soul, rock and blues to great effect. A veteran of many local acts, including the Bob & Tom Band and Steve Allee, Jess formed her own group in 2004 to perform her own original material. —Matt Mays

Shadeland is by far the best local band in Indy! Not only is their music the most rockin’, they are great people and love their fans! Always very cordial and appreciative. Allen (lead singer/guitarist) greets everyone with a hug and smile. Brad is not only the best drummer out there right now but is one of the sweetest guys you will ever meet. Ian is shy but sweet and is very good at tickling the ivories. James is just out there, and will let you know. —Jennifer Thurman

The Spud Puppies are an awesome local new age bluegrass band. I am in awe every time I see them. Their drummer is sweet. He can bang on those drums harder than Bam-Bam. I suggest everyone go and check them out. Even if you aren’t into bluegrass music, you will still enjoy it. Their lead singer is extremely talented and writes almost everything. —Amanda Perdue

Fosters Branch is comprised of three very talented young men: Shawn Rafferty (lead vocals/guitar), Kevin Rafferty (vocals/bass) and Travis Beck (vocals/drums). They have endless energy and never cease to entertain all of Indianapolis and its surrounding areas. Check out all the details at www.fostersbranch.com. —Shelby Jones

Youwilldie always reminds me of a symphony. They are the best band around right now, hands down. —Meg Olsen The best band out there in my opinion is Cop and a Buzz, with lead singer Kevin Service. He is very musically and vocally talented. The rest of the band is very talented as well, and they aren’t new to the music business. A must see! —Penny Garrity

Living Proof is a phenomenally versatile and immensely talented band. I have had the pleasure to see them perform at locales as diverse as Catholic carnivals and Irish bars. The combination of superior vocal stylings and exceptional horns and percussion makes Living Proof the band to see in Indy. —Kelly Stone

The Twin Cats are by far the most original and entertaining group around town right now. Their smooth blend of funk, jam, jazz and imported rhythms make everyone move in some way, shape or form. Catch them hosting CT Peppers’ open mic night every other Wednesday or at one of their many shows to see what I mean. If you do, you’ll be hooked, though, so be warned. —Michael Hunt

Governor Davis & the Blues Ambassadors is one of the hardest-working (over 170 gigs per year) “local” bands. They’ve been performing around the Central Indiana area for over 14 years, yet each show is unique, fresh and very entertaining. You never hear the same set of music twice because their repertoire includes over 150 tunes, and they mix it up according to what they’re reading from the audience at the time they’re playing. They put 110 percent of their energies into each show, even if it’s a small audience. A great show every time. —Jan Kline

Kit Malone and the Ditchweeds are a little bit folk, a little bit alt-country and a little bit rock ’n’ roll, all wrapped up in the attitude of punk. What more do you need? —Sharon Ramsey

The Franchize is the hottest, most fun to watch group in the Midwest. Combining all the best of hip-hop, rock, funk and soul music, they create their own unique sound that always gets the crowd moving. Experiencing their show is like going to the outrageous house parties back in the day, except there are a lot more hot women, and the music is always good. A must-see group for great times and heart-pounding, high energy music. —Douglas Bright

Best Car Dealership

Bud Wolf Chevrolet
Don Hinds Ford

Honda West

Best Movie Theater

Hollywood Bar & Filmworks
Castleton Arts

The Republic Theatres, which just opened a first-run movie house in the old Cub Foods building on Georgetown Road, did a fine job renovating the utilitarian warehouse structure into a comfortable, spacious, 14-screen theater. A creative use for an abandoned building, it shows a commitment to urban renewal and community involvement. —Michael Piper

Kerasotes at Glendale is hard to beat due to its proximity to Broad Ripple, its number of screens and the stadium-style seating. There’s not a bad seat in the house. —Kelly Sample

Best Museum

The Children’s Museum
Indianapolis Museum of Art
Indiana State Museum

he Indianapolis Children’s Museum offers a great place to take children to learn new and interesting things, and since it changes exhibits, there’s always something new to see when you go. —Jennifer Allen

The State Museum redefines what it means to be a Hoosier. It is the best place to introduce people to our state and its people. Humility is an admirable quality, but we have much to be proud of. —Colette Fike

Best Day Spa

Robert’s Salon & Day Spa
Phillipe’s Day Spa

The Villa Inn Restaurant & Spa

The Villa offers a full line of spa services, as well as a fine dining restaurant and nice B&B rooms. —Sam Crimmins Tyler Mason rocks! They always give me what I am looking for, and the stylists are the best! —Kat Cunnington

Bella Naturale Salon & Day Spa is great. It’s very reasonably priced and not pretentious in any way. Snuggled in Southport, only 10 minutes from downtown, it’s a hidden treasure. Professional staff is helpful and friendly — no hint of day-spa snobbishness. —Sarah Moore

Best Vintage/Consignment Shop

Broad Ripple Vintage

Plato’s Closet

Broad Ripple Vintage: great store, great inventory, great people — but you’d better be able to handle The Doors. —Jay Sandefer

Best Florist


Gillespie Florists

Palmer Kelly does the most beautiful pieces of artwork EVER! I use them personally, and my company uses them. They are very customer-driven and can put just about any arrangement together that you wish for or can create something that looks like it was in a dream or fairy tale. —Shawn Batton

Best Fitness Center

Cardinal Fitness
Lifetime Fitness

Cardinal Fitness is the best. Dane rocks! —Kristin Winnett

Best Local Hotel

The Canterbury Hotel
Omni Severin Hotel
Marriott Downtown

Stone Soup Inn is the best place to get away while being in the heart of downtown Indy. Yummy breakfast, lovely rooms and minutes from Broad Ripple, downtown, theater, shopping and art. —Abigail Weliver

The Westin is four-star all the way. We felt like we were on our honeymoon. It has every luxury you could possibly want. —Shannon Post

Best Local Music Venue

The Music Mill
The Vogue

The Patio

I’ve really started to dig the Music Mill. You’d never know you’re next to a Chick-Fil-A and big shopping mall. They have a great mix of bands, the serving staff is always friendly and it’s a large venue with an intimate feel. I’ve never been disappointed whether performing or viewing a show there. —Sarah Stierch

I think the Indianapolis Symphony is of major importance to this city. In a poll taken of businesses by The Indianapolis Star a few years back, it was decided that the most important attraction for a business to locate in a city is its cultural attractions. The Indianapolis Symphony is world-class — one of only 18 full-time orchestras in the United States. —Ruth Boerner

The Rathskeller. There is no better place to drink than the Biergarten, especially after Wine and Brew Fest! —Mat Gerdenich

My favorite place to see local music is The Mousetrap. It’s always free and they get a lot of local and Midwest talent. There’s plenty of room to dance or to sit and watch. —Michael Quarto

Best Apartment Community

Lakeshore Apartments
Arbor Green

AMLI at Riverbend

Living at Autumn Chase was a great experience! The community is well-kept, the floor plans are beautiful and the staff is attentive and friendly! —Kristin Ryker

The Marott is definitely one of the best places to live in Indianapolis. I’ve lived here for over two years and the leasing office is the best, the amenities are nice and well taken care of (fitness center, indoor pool, etc.). It’s very safe, and it’s right in between downtown and Broad Ripple. Without traffic, it takes me about seven minutes to get downtown, and 10 minutes to get to Broad Ripple. I really love living here, and I’ve never been able to say that about an apartment complex before! —Kate Forrest

Best Hair Salon

Great Clips
A Do Hair Design
Meridian Design Group

Tucked away behind Long’s Bakery on Southport Road is Bella Naturale Salon & Day Spa, featuring the entire line of Aveda products. Very simple and casual environment puts anyone at ease after a long day in the office. If you’re looking for a great stylist, I recommend asking for Michael! —Matthew Holley

WIP is great! Located downtown, it’s a fresh breath in salons. Always greeted by my first name, I am always taken care of by Jeff, the owner, and my stylist, Josh. The stylists are always up-to-date on the newest trends and trained to be top notch. —Kyle McCool

For a great hair salon, Common Tribe is awesome. The decor is beautiful, and the people working there really know what they are doing! Wade Turney is the best. —Adrianne Bowsher

Forget your foofy $100 haircuts. I get my hair cut religiously at the Fantastic Sam’s on 10th Street and Lynhurst Avenue. I can’t believe how many compliments I get, even on what I think is a bad hair day. —Jennifer Rankin

Best Electronics Store

Best Buy
Fry’s Electronics

Radio Shack

Best Furniture Store

Kittle’s Furniture
Value City Furniture
L. Fish Furniture

Best Home Builder

CP Morgan
Davis Homes

Pulte Homes

Best Tattoo Parlor

Skinquake Precision Tattoo
Artistic Skin Design

You cannot find a better group of tattoo artists or body piercers than those at Metamorphosis. They shine in the Broad Ripple area as being the most informative on what you want, how to take care of it and the “Are you sure?” question. They definitely make sure you know what you are doing. Hats off to the entire group — especially Kristin and Jeff Foti. —Rochelle Quinn

Artistic Skin Design: The tattoo artists with this company are unbelievable. They are true artists in their own right. Hank is one of these artists, and he has won best artist worldwide. Amanda is excellent at her chair as well. Amanda did my first tat and she was great — I couldn’t be happier. I will only go to Artistic Skin Design on the Southside. —Malibu Birch

Jason Riggs is more of a skin-painter than a tattooist. From his conceptual designs to his layered washes and bold use of color, Jason stands out among the “flash-on-the-arm” tattooists staffing the various (and sometimes nefarious) one-stop body modification chains. —Doug Perdue

Best Place to Work

Eli Lilly & Company

Clarian West Medical Center is the best place to work because of the atmosphere and the people. It’s a joy working here and I would not trade it for anything! —Nicole Osborne

I work for Cook Inc. I have only worked there for five months, but it’s great. They spoil you there, and they have the best insurance and give away prizes. I love it! —Melissa Davidson

Arni’s Restaurant is one of the only restaurants in town that can say it has the same three dishwashers today as it did 17 years ago when it opened its doors. Restaurants have one of the highest turnover rates, and Arni’s is a place where people love to work, stay forever and always come back even if they leave. —Shelley Hendricks

Best Certified Massage Therapist

Dave & Darren Short
Chad Brown
Tamera May

Barb Humphries at Heal Thyself takes massage to a level beyond relaxation. She’s amazing, especially when it comes to sports injuries. —Elizabeth Snook

Best Club to Dress Swanky

Vapour Lounge
Nicky Blaine’s

6 Lounge

Best Club to Dress Skanky

The Vogue
Tiki Bob’s

The Ugly Monkey

Best Ladies’ Night

The Vogue
Have a Nice Day Café

The Ten

Howl at the Moon is a great place for the girls to kick back and have a blast. Dance on the stage or maybe even a piano, sip tasty cocktails from their humongous bar and be a part of the act with fun music choices! It’s definitely a fun place to party with the girls. —Megan Clayto

Best Mid-week Night Club

The Vogue
Mineshaft Saloon
Lulu’s Restaurant & Cocktails

Retro Rewind at the Vogue! —Kristy Guthrie

Best Dance Floor

The Vogue
Talbott Street

Have a Nice Day Café

Best Beer Selection

Chumley’s Beer House
The Rathskeller
The Beer Sellar

You must have Weihenstephaner Hefe or Dunkel on draft at the Rathskeller! —Mat Gerdenich

MacNiven’s carries an extremely large menu with beers from around the world. —Amy Feiber

Best Wine Bar

D’Vine A Wine Bar
Corner Wine Bar

Easley Winery

Even though it is a fledgling establishment, Deano’s latest venture into the world of viniculture and craft-brewed beer is already taking off. A great selection, wonderful prices and an expanding menu (which still has a little ways to go yet) make it a great place to stop in after work or to spend a weekend night drinking and listening to music. Stop by the former location of Santorini’s for a fresh surprise right on Fountain Square. —Michael Hunt

Best Gay/Lesbian Bar

Talbott Street
The Metro

The Ten

Talbott Street seems to really be the only great place for a mixed gay/lesbian crowd. This city needs more choices for lesbians! Also, hard call on best drag queen: Asia is the most colorful and creative, and Alana Steele is the best dancer and works so hard for her $! —Melissa Contreras

Best Bar for Conversation

Nicky Blaine’s
D’Vine A Wine Bar
The Chatterbox

Nicky Blaine’s is easily Indy’s best bar for conversation. The decor, patrons and everything in it makes it perfect for dates, casual meetings and great conversation. Nicky Blaine’s features fantastic live music and an amazing martini and drink list to help you loosen up a bit and keep the conversation going. —Douglas Bright

Best Bar for Hooking Up

Rock Lobster

Talbott Street

Best Jukebox

Melody Inn
Alley Cat Lounge
Old Pro’s Table

The Peppy Grill is the best place to sober up and put on some country or ’80s while you eat some good pie or fried mushrooms. —Jessica Higgason

Best Neighborhood Bar

Moe & Johnny’s
English Ivy’s

The Red Key Tavern

Tim’s is an experience ... you just have to go. —Nicole Osborne

Best Club DJ
DJ Logan Matthews at Talbott Street
Kevin Service
Kevin Mixx at The Ugly Monkey
Best Irish Pub

Claddagh Irish Pub
Kelly’s Pub

Mickey’s Irish Pub

The Golden Ace Inn throws the best St. Patrick’s Day party I have ever attended. This family-owned pub, full of history and excitement, offers a number of wonderful experiences. Make sure that you look for the neon V and ask about the story. If they are done serving food for the day, you can always have a pizza delivered! —Jeffrey Fignar

Best Place to Kick It Old Skool

Ike & Jonesy’s
The Alley Cat
The Vogue

Best Karaoke

The Metro
Living Room Lounge

The Free Spirit Lounge, adjacent to the Dollar Inn in Castleton, has to be the best place to go for karaoke. This is not a high-class establishment, but that’s what makes it fun. Cheap beer and local regulars make it a great place to toss a few back and sing some songs ... no reason to be nervous at all! —Kate Forrest

Best Place for Billiards

Chalkies Billiards
Fox & Hound

John Wayne’s Sports Bar

Best Bar to Take Your Mom To

The Rathskeller
Ike & Jonesy’s

The Slippery Noodle

My mom and I absolutely love to go to the Slippery Noodle. They play her kind of music from back then, with a new age twist for me. It is the best of both worlds and feeds our love of music while cashing in on some much needed mother/daughter bonding, with a funky new attitude. —Jennifer Lasley

Best Sports Bar


Chumley’s Beer House

Best Concert Venue

Verizon Wireless Music Center
The Vogue
The Murat

Best Open Mic Night

Locals Only
Crackers Comedy Club

The Slippery Noodle

Best Local Comedy Act


Best Rock Bar

The Patio
Melody Inn
Birdy’s Bar & Grill

Best Country & Western Bar

8 Seconds Saloon
John Wayne’s Sports Bar

Best Jazz Bar

The Jazz Kitchen
The Chatterbox
The Slippery Noodle

The Monkey’s Tail at the Jazz Cooker is such a fun place to be. It has great employees and great customers. It’s a good place to sit outside and relax with a cold brewsky. We have always been treated well. —Amanda Perdue

Best Comedy Club

Crackers Comedy Club
One-Liners Comedy Club


Best Brewpub

Broad Ripple Brew Pub
Rock Bottom Brewery

Brugge Brasserie

Best Bartender

Jeff Sample at the Upper Room
Sally at Blind Pig

Holly at Talbott Street

Nobody can serve a dollar beer quite like Josh Russell at J. Clyde’s! —Codi Russell

Best Bar Food

Broad Ripple Brew Pub
Chumley’s Beer House

Best Martini

Nicky Blaine’s
Scholar’s Inn
The Upper Room

You might end up spending a damn near fortune by the end of the night, but Nicky Blaine’s has got to be, by far, Indy’s best martini bar. Everything from Snickers, Banana Splits, Chocolate Martinis and more topped off by none other than a chocolate cigar ... it’s worth every penny. —Lynette Rowland

Best Margarita

Cheeseburger In Paradise
Don Pablo’s

Cancun Mexican Restaurant

I think the best margarita — and I mean a real margarita, not one that is half fruit — is at an authentic Mexican restaurant called El Rodeo. There is one on any side of town and they also have great deals, both food and margarita-wise. They also have a 46-ounce margarita that is perfect to share. A word of caution: Have a designated driver, because they pack a punch. —Sarah Lovelace

Best Place to Get Buzzed After Work

J. Clyde’s Pub

Moon Dog Tavern

Best Bar to People Watch

Chumley’s Beer House
The Alley Cat

Talbott Street

I’ve never had a dull moment at the Alley Cat, and I have always enjoyed the eclectic patrons. It’s great to people watch, to chat with someone new or to just sit back and have a few drinks. —Courtney Wertz MacIntyre

6 — Where stripping, cowboy hats, mini-skirts, boob jobs, chaps, overdressed businessmen, underdressed escorts, spurs, grinding, see-through bathroom doors, lap dances and drunken swaying is welcome. Not to mention the very Clockwork Orange VIP lounge. —Abigail Weliver

Best Drag Queen

Alana Steele
Asia LaBouche
Vicki St. James

Alana Steele is amazing! She was the first runner-up in a national contest two years ago and in the top 10 last year! She makes almost all of her own costumes and has at least one new outfit every weekend. She even mixes her own music, pairing the likes of Patsy Cline with Britney Spears. She is very witty when MCing any event. Her dancing is quite entertaining as well. She is the best all-around drag performer I have seen in all my years of being a drag fan. —Holly Petree

Best Nightclub Décor

Talbott Street
Subterra Lounge

6 Lounge

Best Nightclub to Be a VIP

Vapour Lounge
6 Lounge
The Vogue

Best Show Club

Brad’s Gold Club
Legends at Talbott Street

Best Charitable Event

Race for the Cure

Race for the Cure is the most phenomenal event! To see all of the survivors gives you hope and resolve to continue doing whatever you can to help fund research. —Kristin Ryker

Chocolate Fest is where it’s at! Go to Chocolate Fest. Everybody wins at Chocolate Fest! —Carol Baker

Z99.5 Make-a-Wishathon … it is amazing what is done on that day. They make many people happy. —Teri Crabtree

Best Film Festival

Heartland Film Festival
LGBT Film Festival
Indianapolis International Film Festival

Having only been running a couple of years, the Indianapolis Gay & Lesbian Film Festival is well-organized, professionally run and helps raise money for Indianapolis Youth Group. —Sam Crim

Best Art Festival

Broad Ripple Art Fair
Talbott Street Art Fair

Penrod Arts Fair

Best Performing Arts Group

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
Dance Kaleidoscope
Ballet Internationale

Indy Men’s Chorus has thrilled and performed for audiences for over 15 years. Still going strong, they represent this state across the country. —Carl Engelking

Best Art Gallery

Big Car Gallery
LAMP Fine Art Gallery
Stutz Art Gallery

Best Amusement Center

Great Times

Ben & Ari’s Galaxy of Fun

Best Body of Water

Geist Resevoir
Eagle Creek Resevoir

The Canal

Best Volunteer Opportunity

Humane Society
Habitat for Humanity

The Damien Center

I really enjoy volunteering at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. It is always in need of people. You meet and greet tourists and locals and learn about art in the process! —Kate Forrest

Best Place to Take a Tourist

The Canal
Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The Canal Walk downtown gives you a great view of the city, and it is close to many of the city’s highlights. A wonderful place to take a tourist, a friend or anyone. —Jennifer Allen

Brickyard 400. Nothing is more entertaining than going to a NASCAR race in person. Watching the cars race by is fun, but nothing beats seeing drunk guys with weird tattoos wearing shirts and hats with flames on them. —Barton Phariss

The Indianapolis Zoo is the best place to take a tourist. Right now they have the neatest dolphin exhibit I have ever seen. —Ashley Mayhew

Best Politician

mayor Bart Peterson
gov. Mitch Daniels

sen. Evan Bayh

Best Church

Broadway United Methodist Church
East 91st Street Christian Church

Grace Community Church

Best Neighborhood

Broad Ripple

Old Northside

I have lived in Broad Ripple for a few years now. I love it there. Everyone knows everyone, and it’s like a large family. I have made many friends at bars, restaurants and shops in Broad Ripple. For the most part, there is no crime and I feel really safe. —Adrianne Bowsher

The best neighborhood is the Preserve at Spring Knoll in Zionsville, Ind. Several of the people in this 168-lot neighborhood know each other. Many of the nearby streets have neighbors who know each other well. The neighborhood is filled with children who play all day as well as the adults who play all night. There are many get-togethers at homes. E-mail addresses are collected to send out vital “party” information for all to attend. —Graig Collings

Herron Morton Place. It fought to survive, fought for historic status and fought against mass redevelopment to become the best neighborhood. With an ideal mix of historic and new houses, old residents and the newest trendsetters, everyone still cares about their neighbors. —Michael Higgins

Best Local University/College

Butler University
University of Indianapolis

Best Local Web site



For all that you do and all the challenges you have faced, NUVO should be given an award of their own! I can’t tell you how many times I refer to your guides for bars, restaurants and more at least every week. Your resources far surpass any competitor’s. Kudos to you. —Lynette Rowland

WZPL is a fun place to browse. I love seeing all the different links. They are well-organized, and there is never a time where the Web site is down. —Amanda Perdue

Best Local Park

Eagle Creek Park
Holliday Park

Fort Harrison State Park

Southeastway Park has two playgrounds along with a basketball court, football field and many trails that you can hike on. There is also a place where you can fish. —Barbie Seymour

Best Golf Course

Crooked Stick
The Sagamore Club

Pleasant Run

Best Professional Sports Team


The Colts, man. Where else are you going to see one of the NFL’s most dominant offenses, not to mention a bunch of first-class guys who can be true role models? —Eli Vance

GO CHIEFS! —Carlos Lejjena

Best Local Athlete

Peyton Manning
Reggie Miller

Jermaine O’Neal

Best Local Mascot


Butler’s Bulldog

Best View of the City

The Eagle’s Nest
Victory Field

The Canal

I recently took my husband on a Discover flight from Terry Airport in Westfield. This was our anniversary present that I had been planning for two years. It was wonderful — the instructor let him take the plane up and fly the entire time, plus we got to see and go wherever we wanted. The cost was minimal compared to the experience. —Katy Wilkerson

Best Parking Lot

Circle Centre Mall
Conseco Fieldhouse
The Indianapolis Zoo

Best Place to Get Married

White River Gardens
The Indianapolis Zoo

The State House

The Propylaeum Club is a historic mansion built in 1890 and offers a beautiful setting both inside and out, for lovely small to mid-size weddings and receptions. The Victorian mansion lends a home-like atmosphere to the occasion. Chef Mike and staff present an outstanding menu for the wedding party and guests to satisfy every taste, capping off a memorable event. —Nancy Showalter

From the minute I saw the Community Life Center on East Washington Street being built, I knew that was where I wanted to get married. Last year, I got married there, and it was everything I could have wanted and more. The chandelier was breathtaking, and I received countless compliments on the location. I could not speak more highly of it. —Janine Luster

Best Place to Dump Someone

The Canal
The Alley Cat
Broad Ripple

Best Detour from I-69

Allisonville Road
Binford Boulevard
Fall Creek Road

Best Local Half-time Show

Quick Change

The Avon High School Marching Band has been the state champion the past three years. They consistently give a great and entertaining half-time show. They are also very competitive in the national competitions for color guard, percussion and marching band. Definitely a show not to miss. They always have great crowd support and response to their performances. —Lorri Matern

Best Place to Take a First Date

The Canal
The Melting Pot

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

St. Elmo’s Steakhouse has charm, elegance and the world’s greatest shrimp cocktail. —Brenda Dembroski

IMAX films are just long enough to give you something to talk about, but they don’t take up the whole evening. If the date’s going well, you can walk the canal afterward — if not, have a quick dinner at Friday’s and you’re done! —Colette Fike

Best Place to Take a Second Date

The Melting Pot
The Canal
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

Best Place to Spot Local Celebs

St. Elmo’s Steakhouse

Pacers game

Best Place to Pick Up a NUVO

Broad Ripple

Eateries and Dishes
Best Chinese Restaurant

PF Chang’s China Bistro
China Buffet
Chinese Ruby

Best Family Restaurant

Cracker Barrel


Maggiano’s is a great place to take the family. The food is the best Italian I’ve eaten outside of New York City. It’s family style dining and the atmosphere is perfect for lively conversation, and a ton to eat! Whether you have a small or large family, you WILL NOT go hungry. —Megan Clayton

Best Fusion Restaurant

Sakura Japanese Restaurant

Naked Tchopstix

Best German Restaurant

The Rathskeller
Heidelberg Café Bakery

Gisela’s KaffeeKranzchen 

Best Greek Restaurant

Greek Islands Restaurant
Santorini Greek Kitchen
The Parthenon Restaurant & Deli

Santorini is the best Greek food in Indy for sure. I’m Greek, so I know! —Anna Kokinos

Best Indian Restaurant

India Garden Restaurant
Shalimar Indian Restaurant

India Palace Restaurant

I love the India Garden’s lunch buffet! For only $8 you can try all kinds of fabulous Indian food! —Kate Forrest

Best Italian Restaurant

Olive Garden Italian Restaurant
Mamma Carolla’s Old Italian Restaurant

Bravo Kitchen Italiana

Johnny Carino’s has not been open all that long, but it is one of the best Italian restaurants in Indy. The prices are awesome — they give you two choices on the size of the plate, and their side dishes are just simply AMAZING! —Tammy Bolin

Some Guys may be known primarily for its pizza, but if you don’t try their pasta you are really missing out. Their tomato vodka sauce is the best ever. You can get it in three different temperatures (uncommon to have a choice like that in Italian), and it comes not only with bread of your choice but a dinner salad topped with fresh veggies, homemade dressings and mounds of shredded mozzarella cheese. The atmosphere is intimate and the staff never leaves. Their wood-fired pizzas are a must as well. —Holly Petree

Best Japanese Restaurant

Sakura Japanese Restaurant
Mikado Japanese Restaurant


With as close as I have seen in Indy to an authentic Japanese menu, Asaka is great for many other reasons as well. They have a sushi happy hour EVERY DAY and an incredible menu as well. Add to that great service by personable staff and you have the recipe for greatness. —Michael Hunt

Best Mexican Restaurant

Don Pablo’s
El Sol De Tala Mexican Restaurant

Cancun Mexican Restaurant

Best Seafood Restaurant

The Oceanaire Seafood Room
Red Lobster
Bonefish Grill 

Best Soul Food

Mississippi Belle
Big Mama’s Soul Food

Mississippi Belle has the absolute best soul food: fried chicken, fried corn, smothered pork chops, greens, green beans, sweet potatoes. This place ROCKS! —Rachel Carr

Best Thai Restaurant

Thai One On
Thai Café

Thai Taste Restaurant 

Best Upscale Restaurant

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
St. Elmo’s Steakhouse
The Oceanaire Seafood Room

Chanteclair — oddly enough, it’s inside the Holiday Inn, but AMAZING FOOD ... plus the oh-so-famous violinist serenades at each table. —M. Snyder

Best Cheap Date

Taco Bell
White Castle

I have to get a plug in for Yats. It’s great, cheap Cajun food! Cool atmosphere, especially when the outdoor eating area is hopping. —Mike Kole

Best Place to Eat If You’re Jared from Subway

Jimmy John’s

Jared comes to Nippers to eat when he’s tired of Subway. No kidding, he sings karaoke all the time! —Chris Cramer

Best Place to Eat at 2:15 a.m.

Steak ’n’ Shake
Taco Bell
White Castle

Best Coffeehouse

Starbucks Coffee Co.
The Abbey

Monon Coffee Co.

Love the atmosphere and the pie at Mama Bears. —Linda Hupp

Vic’s is an owner-operated local coffeehouse with nice patio seating and good salads and paninis. —Sam Crimmins

Best Brunch

Le Peep
Café Patachou

The Keystone Grill

Keystone Grill hands down has the best brunch. For $25, you get all-you-can-drink mimosas, shrimp cocktail and made-to-order omelettes. There is a carving station, you can make your own waffles and so much more! —Adrianne Bowsher

I sit in church Sunday mornings dreaming about Sunday brunch at the Aristocrat, debating whether I will have a sweet, fluffy waffle or huevos rancheros. I delight in my meal, whichever choice I make, and then always wish I could have devoured both. —Angela Smith

Best Hangover Breakfast

Bob Evans
Canary Café

Sunshine Café 

Best Take Out

Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar

Pizza Express


Best Chili

Skyline Chili
Steak ’n’ Shake
Charlie & Barney’s Bar & Grill 

Best Hamburger

Steak ’n’ Shake
Cheeseburger in Paradise


At Carvers, they serve you the biggest and best hamburgers any way you want them. —Barbie Seymour

By far the biggest, tastiest, most mouth-watering hamburger I have ever had is to be found at a relatively undiscovered place on Pennsylvania Avenue called Urban Element. It’s about the size of a brontosaurus burger, so I can rarely finish it ... especially because they also have the best fries in town with special seasoning salts. Yum! —Tiffany Berkson

Best Steak

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
St. Elmo’s Steakhouse

Sullivan’s Steakhouse

Decent prices, impeccable service, great menu and wine selection ... what’s not to like about Sullivan’s? It’s not cheap, but it IS worth it. —Michael Hunt

Best Veggie Burger

Broad Ripple Brew Pub
Chili’s Grill & Bar
Brugge Brasserie 

Best Fries

Steak ’n’ Shake 

Best Blue Plate Special

MCL Cafeteria

Mann’s Grille

Best Gourmet Pizza

Bazbeaux Pizza
Some Guys Pizza Pasta Grill
Pizzeria UNO 

Best Slice of Pizza

Bazbeaux Pizza
Luca Pizza
Giorgio’s Pizza 

Best Fish ’n’ Chips

Claddagh Irish Pub
Long John Silver’s

Broad Ripple Brew Pub

Best Fish

The Oceanaire Seafood Room
Bonefish Grill

Red Lobster

Best Sushi

Sakura Japanese Restaurant
Mikado Japanese Restaurant

H2O Sushi

Best Fresh Bread



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