January is known to be when the high season of the service industry comes to a screeching halt. Frozen tumbleweeds roll across our social calendars. The only appealing words seems to be "blanket" and "couch" and "fire." Don't take this winter lying down! Get bundled up and enjoy the nightlife, as there are plenty of fun things to do while there's snow on the ground.
Jan 19-Feb 1. Christmas is over, sure, but it's about to be the most wonderful time of the year (again). Twice a year, for two weeks, Indianapolis' best restaurants put together a wallet-friendly menu in which you can try a delicious pre-fixe meal, including dessert. Chances are, at least half (if not all) of your downtown dining bucket list will be participating, with everyone from Acapulco Joe's to Cerulean putting out Devour menus. There are some larger national restaurants that participate as well, like Fogo De Chao and Weber Grill, but we know you won't miss the opportunity to support a local business.
American Psycho Dinner
Jan 20, 7 p.m. You can thank the fine folks at Thunderbird for giving you multiple reasons to leave your house this January. First, there's this American Psycho dinner, which, while you won't leave axe-murdered (probably), will be a kind of dinner-and-a-movie kind of thing. Chef Whitmoyer is whipping up a four-course pre-fixe menu for you to enjoy while Patrick Bateman paints New York red with the blood of his victims. No word on whether you'll be able to drop your business card (Silian Grail on bone, of course) to win a free dinner.
Thunderbird, 1127 Shelby St., $40, thunderbirdindy.com
Bourbon Thru Bluegrass
Jan 26, 5:30 p.m. The history of bourbon is a long and storied one, intertwining with fickle alcohol policy in the government and pop culture in the larger world. Bernie Lubbers is the guy in whiskey education, both as a brand ambassador for Heaven Hill Distillery, an author and a "whiskey educator." He also performs the history of bourbon through folk and bluegrass music, performing with his buddy Hickory Vaught. It's part music, part tasting, and part comedy show, and the $30 ticket will get you in for the cocktail hour at 5:30 with some light snacks, followed by the tasting and show. If you're in a hurry to read up on the fascinating history of bourbon, get Lubbers' book, Bourbon Whiskey, Our Native Spirit.
Thunderbird, 1127 Shelby St., $30, thunderbirdindy.com
Chefs' Night Off: "She Don't Eat Meat But She Sure Likes to Bone"
Feb 22 5:30 & 7:30 p.m. Yes, it's obvious by now that we are big fans of the CNO concept of letting line cooks take over the cooking at these multi-course dinners. Last year's vegetarian dinner was by far their largest and most diverse, so they're rolling out a second to challenge a new set of chefs. Vegetarians often bear the brunt of chef frustration, but for this dinner, meatless meals are going to take center stage, with the city's most talented sous and line chefs putting a high-end spin on vegetarian food. The July dinner was outstanding, and tickets have been flying for this second round. If you're not familiar, head over to nuvo.net/food to catch the review for that dinner. Two words: watermelon prosciutto. Get tickets at eventbrite.com
Garden Table, 908 E. Westfield Blvd., $45, thegardentable.com