GenCon Restaurant & Pub Guide

Gen Con
Gen Con

If anyone is like me, a few hours of gaming gives you an appetite. And since a lot of GenCon attendees will not be familiar will with downtown Indianapolis, I figured I would give a list of my favorite wining (or at least beer drinking) and dining locations.

With more than 260 destinations for food and beverage in the greater downtown Indy area, it may be difficult to find a decent place to grab some grub. The conveniently close restaurants like the Subway and the McDonalds (in the Hyatt basement), and Circle Centre Mall’s food court, and the Steak’n’Shake are all standing room only.

Nothing downtown is cheap because we all have to pay for that new fancy Lucas Oil stadium they built to house the “winning” Colts. That’s not a joke, they actually placed an additional tax on restaurant food (which is why I’m packing my lunch). I am not going to provide directions, because that is just tedious, and because I am confident that if a gamer can figure out game mechanics, they can read a map.

I have actually been to all these establishments and give my official seal of approval on them.  If you would like to find out more about downtown Indy visit this IndyDT (though be warned about broken links and the freakin’ irritating mouse icon!).

MBL’s Top 13 Locations:

1. Scotty’s Brewhouse

1 Virginia Ave.
(317) 571-0808
Get Directions

  • Food – ***
  • Beer – ****
  • Price – $$$
  • Atmosphere – ***
  • Other – They don’t offer their own brew, but they have a very wide selection of imports/micros as well as some odd mixes. Scotty’s has really come through the past couple of years as establishing itself as THE place for GenCon attendees to eat, usurping The Ram as my #1 recommended hangout.

2. Ram Brewery

140 S Illinois St
(317) 955-9900
Get directions

  • Food – ****
  • Beer – *****
  • Price – $$$
  • Atmosphere – ****
  • Other – Privateer Press usually make their home here.

3. Fogo de Chao (fo-go dèe shoun)

117 E. Washington St.
(317) 638-4000
Get directions

  • Food – *****+
  • Beer – **
  • Price – $$$$$
  • Atmosphere – ****
  • Other – A Brazilian churrascaria (steakhouse) where you’ll be served all the meat (15 cuts), grilled to perfection by authentic Gauchos, you can eat. It comes with a hefty price tag, but it is soooooo worth it.

4. The Rathskeller

401 E Michigan St.
(317) 636-0396
Get directions

  • Food – ****
  • Beer – ****
  • Price – $$$
  • Atmosphere – ****
  • Other – German cuisine and beer, go to the Biergarten!

5. Spaghetti Factory

210 S Meridian St
(317) 635-6325
Get directions

  • Food – ****
  • Beer – *
  • Price – $$$
  • Atmosphere – ****
  • Other -Huge portions, Excellent for the family

6. The Claddagh

3835 E 96th St
(317) 569-3663
Get directions

  • Food – ****
  • Beer – ****
  • Price – $$$
  • Atmosphere – ***
  • Other – Pretty good Irish Pub, sometimes the seating can suck

7. The Arsenal Game Room & Cafe

874 Virginia Ave
(317) 822-4263
Get directions

  • Food – **
  • Beer – 🙁
  • Price – $
  • Atmosphere – ****
  • Other – Hey, its a game store with a cafe!  No beer, but really good for snacks, open late (1am)

8. Buca di Beppo’s

35 N Illinois St
(317) 632-2822
Get directions
  • Food – ***
  • Beer – *
  • Price – $$
  • Atmosphere – ***
  • Other -If you have a large group, these guys do family portions for cheap!

9. New Bethel Ordinary

8838 Southeastern Ave
Wanamaker, IN 46239
(317) 862-5020
Get directions

  • Food – ****
  • Beer – *
  • Price – $$$
  • Atmosphere – ****
  • Other – The best pizza I have ate in a while, its a little out of the way, but worth it if you have some time to burn.

10. Acapulco Joe’s
365 N Illinois St
(317) 637-5160
Get directions

  • Food – ***
  • Beer – ?
  • Price – $$$
  • Atmosphere – **
  • Other – Probably the best Mexican food downtown, small, cramped, and packed

11. Slippery Noodle Inn

372 S. Meridian St.
(317) 631-6974
Get Directions

  • Food – **
  • Beer – ***
  • Price – $$$
  • Atmosphere – *****
  • Other – Excellent live music and most recently recognized for their blues offerings.

It should be noted that I am a fan of hip-hop, (c)rap, or country. My interests lie in face melting guitar riffs and double kick drums.  That being said, the following bars/clubs I have actually had a good time in.

12. Howl at the Moon

20 E Georgia St
(317) 955-0300
Get directions

Dualing pianos… nuff said.

13. The Pub

30 E Georgia St # A
(317) 822-9730
Get directions

The next bar over from HatM!

Other GenCon Articles:

Listening to: Tesla- Mechanical Resonance – Little Susie
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11 thoughts on “GenCon Restaurant & Pub Guide

  1. My experience with Jillian’s has always been mediocre. I’ve heard good things so far about the Dave & Busters that just opened in Castleton, but it’s a ways north for out-of-towners attending the Con.

    Likewise the Claddagh is probably inconvenient, especially considering how likely it is that you’ll have a significant wait.

    Champs across the street from the convention center (I forget which hotel is which) is convenient if you want a sit-down meal and nothing fancy in the beer department. But its proximity also means it is busy.
    .-= Oz´s last blog ..Commander Oz =-.

  2. @Oz: Everything good enough (and not so good) to go to is busy downtown on the weekends. Dave & Busters rocks, but it isn’t convenient for GenCon attendees. Personally, I pack my lunch/dinner every morning and eat out maybe once (Sunday afternoons usually) during GenCon. Bring coolers we keep in the trunk, and I tend to get a very good parking spot (right off the skywalk from the Sagamore), so it’s even closer than going to a restaurant.

  3. Jillian’s has really improved over the past year. I’ve been there for a couple of meetings and was pleasantly surprised. Also, the new manager is eager to bring in GenCon business, so I expect they will be working harder to cater to us gamers.

  4. @Oz: Glad to hear Jillian’s is motivated to capture some GenCon business. I never had a great time there before, but I might have to check it out this year.

  5. Definite props to Scotties, Alcatraz and Slippery Noodle. I try and get there whenever I’m in town. The upside of being in downtown Indy is that you can mostly stumble in any direction and hit a good (If not pricey) restaurant.

    I’ll have to check out the others the next time I’m in on business~

  6. My experience at Jillian’s was terrible. They sponsored an event called “Bowling Night of the Living Dead” which promised:

    Join downtown’s scariest bunch of individuals for a night of spooky gaming fun! Jillian’s Restaurant & Entertainment Mega-plex is hosting a Halloween themed cosmic bowling and video games night. We will turn the 45,000 sqft of space into a graveyard full of attitude with Vampires, Witches and Zombies. DJ, Door Prizes, Giveaways, Light Apps, (1) Drink Ticket and over the top fun will be provided

    Very little of what was promised was provided. The was no DJ, none of the staff were dressed up, the area wasn’t themed at all, no door prizes, no giveaways, the apps consisted of bbq wings and stale chips with dip. And the bowling lane my group was in constantly malfunctioned. In short: we got scammed.

    Here’s my full review: http://www.virtualsink.com/2010/08/bowling-night-of-living-dead.html

  7. @TommyMac: SUCK! Well, it seems that Jillian’s is definitely NOT a place to go during GenCon. Thanks for dropping by and giving the head’s up, I’ll be sure to run this again next year.

    However, the crew at Scotty’s Brewhouse really did a bang up job this year. The 501st was there in force and the atmosphere was very gamer-friendly. So when 2011 rolls around, Scotty’s will definitely be my go-to spot.

  8. FYI – both Alcatraz and Jillian’s have closed. Having been to both multiple times (I live in Indy), neither is really a big loss. Also, if you are looking for a fantastic cup of coffee, espresso drink, or smoothies – my wife owns Cafe 120 on Market St. (I’m a little biased, but plenty of people say we are better and cheaper than the ‘other’ coffee place lol. Only open mon thru fri though.

  9. Damn, I just drove through there not long ago and swore I saw the still tower hanging out down there (though that doesn’t mean it’s open).

    I live near Indy and work off College Ave (thought about adding some of the places I go to for lunch off Mass Ave, but figure it’s a bit far for con goers).

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