Ben Jackson lights up dance floors around the city all week long, spinning at spots like Metro, White Rabbit Cabaret and Casba. When he’s not on the floor as DJ Action Jackson, he’s running Indy/Philly-based record label Rad Summer with pal Flufftronix, releasing music from much-loved locals like Oreo Jones, Party Lines, Sirius Blvck and more.
But just like any other party-loving patron from Indy, Jackson has plenty of personal pro tips of his own to share with anyone who’s looking for a fun night out in the city.
“Keep your phone charged, download the Uber app. And it’s legal to drink in the streets in Indy as long as you’re not publicly intoxicated,” Jackson shares. “Some great alternatives to chain fast food places to eat at after the bars let out are Olly’s, Peppy’s Grill, and Bacon Legs & Turntables. Another tip is Wednesday night karaoke at a hidden gem, Sam’s Silver Circle Bar.”
This Thursday and Friday, partygoers can put Jackson’s words of late night wisdom to the test, before or after attending the two-day Rad Summer Anniversary Party at The White Rabbit Cabaret. Celebrating Rad Summer’s four-year anniversary as a label, the festivities will include one night of live acts and one night of DJs, with performances from numerous Rad Summer artists.
Prior to the two-night banger, NUVO caught up with several artists on Jackson’s label, asking them to share a bit of their local party-going advice.
NUVO: For someone who’s new to Indianapolis, what are some party tips you’d give when it comes to exploring the city’s nightlife?
Oreo Jones: If you’re brand new or about that “Netflix and chill” lifestyle, you may be a little lost when it comes to the nightlife here. No matter what anyone tells you, bring a road soda on your personal. It is totally legal for you to walk down the street sippin’ on a Mang-O-Rita. Beware of where you whiz unless you’re south of South Street. And if you’re trying to dance your heart out, follow Mild Cherry and Action Jackson.
Shy Guy Says: Go where the music is good. There’s a different show almost every night in town, and if the music is good then chances are the people will be too.
Andy D: The party tips I'd give someone coming to Indy are really the same tips I give anyone who is partying—be open and try saying yes to as many suggestions for locations as possible. So much party time is wasted deciding what to do and where to go, and it's crucial that the party just starts. You'll get into a flow when changing locations, but you’ve gotta start somewhere.
John Stamps: Social media is your best friend. Follow artists and DJs you like and see what they're up to. Follow local bars and venues. The Hi-Fi (@thehifiindy) and the White Rabbit (@whiterabbitcab) are two of my favorites. They are constantly putting on great shows, and they are good at keeping you informed on when they are happening.
NUVO: If you had only one night left to spend in Indianapolis, what would be your party route?
DJ Lemi Vice: I would start with all my favorite craft cocktail and dinner spots early in the night: Bakersfield, Libertine, Bluebeard and Thunderbird. Then depending on the day, I would just try to make my rounds to all the parties my friends would be DJing/hanging out at. Tiki Bob’s, Revel, and Blu Downtown are all spots that are always fun, and usually the tunes are being run by our DJ homies.
John Stamps: I’d go start at Pure and eat that new tuna sandwich they’ve got with a side of potato salad. I would visit all the bars my friends work at, assuming they all forgot to request off work my last night in town. Then, I would text Sirius [Blvck], Oreo and Action to figure out the move for the evening. So I guess you should really be asking them this question.
NUVO: What do you like most about this city’s nightlife scene right now?
Andy D: Some folks don’t realize Indy is a legit mid-sized city that’s really at the top of its game right now. Parties can be found most nights of the week. I lived in New York City for eight years, and all the good parties were on Wednesdays because the locals were priced out and crowded out of places on the weekends by the bridge-and-tunnelers. Indy doesn’t have the population and price crunch that megatropolises have, but we’re at this sweet spot where on any given night five things will be going on.
Action Jackson: I like the explosion of all the craft cocktail bars that have been springing up: Ball & Biscuit, Libertine, Thunderbird, etc. Also, Meridian Street clubs have become cool again after going through a bit of a slump for a while. They’ve all been booking better DJs and have invested in lighting, sound and décor.
Lemi Vice: To me, Indy's nightlife is killing it right now due to the cooperation by the DJ community. The downtown scene has really come up in the past couple years, mostly in part to all the DJs and promoters working together to bring good acts here, or just put on nights that are a good time.
Oreo Jones: The best thing about nightlife in this city is that there is literally something going on every night of the week. You wanna karaoke? Billy Roe at DJ's is waiting for ya. Want to go to a show? There is a band or hip-hop or some kind of musical act probably playing as you read this.