Good dive bars are invaluable. Sticky, grimy and dark, they are incomparably disarming. Whether you’ve been frequenting the same one since before you were legally allowed to be there, or if it’s your first time in a new haunt, you will instantly feel at home in a dive bar. There’s just something comforting about an old-timey jukebox and the obligatory kitsch you’ll inevitably find no matter where you are in the world. The Alley Cat Lounge is a long standing Indianapolis and Broad Ripple tradition, voted one of the nation’s top dive bars.
A few years ago, a friend insisted that I join them at this dive bar in Broad Ripple. I will be honest, I was somewhat reluctant to plan an evening around an establishment that began with the word dive.
To this day I look back and remember the fun we had, drinking beer at a table and playing songs on the jukebox.
The Alley cat has regulars, sassy bartenders and fantastic drinks. While the soul of a dive bar is intangible, certain tangible qualities — like year-round Christmas lights — are important indications of a solid establishment. No one in Broad Ripple thought that this place could be any better. But Lori and Russ took the Cat one step further and bring you the Alley Cat Front Room.
My personal tastes have grown over the years as have many others and the drinks on today’s cocktail menus owe a debt to history. Old Fashion, Manhattan, The Moscow Mule and good bourbon are beginning to take the front seat for social Indy and the Alley Cat Lounge Front Room is a power-player in this new trend.
The same familiar faces are there behind the bar taking the time and care to not only contend in the new craft cocktail craze but easily win. Mike, Maurie, Gail and a few new faces are there behind the bar muddling, mixing and serving the best that Indy has to offer in the new relaxed and modern atmosphere. My interview with Lori quickly turned into a conversation over drinks, enjoying the wealth of bourbon and liquor knowledge of the staff.
The shiny Alley Cat Lounge Front Room has a patio, soft music and great people. They didn’t try to change the original, you can still walk down the Alley and order an oil can, Jameson and pickle-back chaser. The jukebox still has everyone’s favorite songs. The Alley Cat Lounge is still a Broad Ripple staple. But the Alley Cat Lounge Front Room is there for a different kitty experience with the same great people.
If you missed the segment on IN the Loop about The Alley Cat Lounge Front Room check out the video below. And don’t forget. Watch me, Jon, every Sunday night at 11:30 on WISH-TV 8. Keeping you IN the Loop of everything that is Indianapolis.