On a recent visit to the patio of Castleton’s Brewstone Beer Company, we could barely hear the accent of a man wearing an expensive sport coat—who rolled up in a black Mercedes and chatted up women 20 years younger—over the roar of Harleys cruising the front parking lot. We craned our necks to catch a glimpse of a former Pacer downing shots with friends. Tried not to stare at that fashion model, or the former Colts quarterback we recognized even with his ball cap pulled low. Seemed like everyone was at Brewstone. And we expect they’ll still be there when the party moves indoors this month. >> 3720 E. 82nd St., 577-7800,
Taking a racecar ride at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will set you back $499. But for just $30, you can strap on a helmet, slide into one of the Dallara IndyCar Factory’s machines, and jackrabbit away from the curb on a chauffeured spin through the streets of Speedway. True, on Dallara’s street-legal IndyCar two-seater rides, the driver has to obey the speed limit, but sitting just two inches off the ground gives the sensation of going much faster. Minimum age, 16; height limit, 6'2"; weight limit, 230 pounds. >> 1201 Main St., Speedway, 385-1525, indycarfactory.com.
The Burlesque Bingo Bango Show at White Rabbit Cabaret might not be good and clean, but it is fun. The club’s sensual, scantily clad sirens dance in the spotlight between each round of the game. The crude emcees (a clown and a mime) have a penchant for dick jokes. And let’s face it—bingo is a fairly erogenous pursuit in its own right. What other contest can you win with O-69? >> Tues.–Sat., 7 p.m. non-show nights, 8 p.m. show nights; 1116 E. Prospect St., 686-9550, whiterabbit
Holiday Family Fun
Longing to reclaim the old-fashioned spirit of the holidays? You’ll find it at Conner Prairie by Candlelight, when workaday 1836 Prairietown is beautifully transformed by starlight and the glimmer of 130 lanterns. Costumed interpreters in each home tell stories of historic holiday traditions as a fire crackles. After the tour, visitors can sip hot chocolate and nibble gingersnaps at the town doctor’s holiday party, or sing carols around the bonfire. >> Dec. 7–8, 14–15, 21–22; 13400 Allisonville Rd., Fishers, 776-6006, connerprairie.org.
Local Beer Selection
Don’t let the name fool you: SoBro’s Twenty Tap beer bar actually boasts 38 taps, more than half of which are typically local or Indiana-crafted. And as quantity is no true measure of greatness, most of the handles pour hard-to-find deep cuts—limited-edition brews and firkins of small-batch, cask-conditioned ales. (A recent Three Floyds 10-tap takeover included the renowned Northwest Indiana brewery’s Arctic Panzer Wolf IPA and Topless Wytch Baltic porter—good luck finding those anywhere else.) >> 5408 N. College Ave., 602-8840, www.twentytap.com.
Happy Hour Twist
When Tamra Scott founded Wine and Canvas in 2010, the painting class met in quiet restaurant corners. Now, Scott has a studio in the Clearwater area and franchises in 15 other cities, including Los Angeles and Chicago. The secret to her success: combining a girls-night-out atmosphere with easy-to-follow painting instructions—absolutely no artistic talent required. The real trick is not accidentally rinsing your paintbrush in your pinot grigio. >> 3969 E. 82nd St., 345-1567, wineandcanvas.com.
From stuffed monster pillows to doll clothes, the projects at Crimson Tate’s Camp Sew & Sew are designed with young stitchers in mind. After a pair of one-on-one lessons in the funky Mass Ave fabric store, owner Heather Givans directs kids ages 6 to 17 to small groups that are focused but fun. The goal: boosting skills and creativity so students can eventually whip up sewing projects of their own design. >> 845 Massachusetts Ave., 426-3300, crimsontate.com.
Get buzzed—not busted—by sampling local beer and keeping your driving record clean with Indy Brew Bus. For $30 a passenger, a friendly (and sober) driver picks you up anywhere downtown and delivers you to three or four local breweries. Drinking freshly filled growlers aboard is encouraged; cups are even provided. Tours are available Thursday through Sunday, and you can book seats for up to 14. >> Reserve tickets at indybrewbus.com.
Day in the Park
Held each September by the Indiana DNR, the weekend-long Hoosier Outdoor Experience in Fort Harrison State Park offers a recreational buffet (mountain biking, stone carving, rock-wall climbing, disc golf, making duck whistles, it’s all there). Shooting stuff (skeet, archery) is most popular, so if you want to avoid lines, tie fly-fishing lures instead. >> 5735 Glenn Rd., 233-3853, in.gov/dnr.
To the uninitiated, it may look like just a boneyard of rusty old cars and vans. But the vintage Volkswagens—including Beetles, Things, and Microbuses—parked at Buggy Works Inc. near Brownsburg are sought-after nationwide. The auto shop made a name for itself in Martinsville manufacturing dune buggies and moved north in January as its classic-VW restoration business accelerated. A running Beetle from the ’60s can go for as little as $3,000, but some of the hippie buses have been overhauled to the tune of $20,000. >> 10635 E. U.S. 136, 388-1740, buggyworks
At the new Homespun workshop, located down the street from the popular Irvington boutique for all things modern and handmade, courses channel summer-camp craft hour—but with a lot more pizzazz. Quirky projects such as making from-scratch lip balm and hula hoops coexist with traditional offerings like metalworking and drawing. And the modest fees—classes start at $30, and most are under $100—are well worth the feeling of accomplishment when, say, a pile of fabric turns into wearable art (or at least something wearable). >> 206 S. Audubon Rd., 351-0280, homespunindy.com.
Come 5 o’clock, when most office parking lots are clearing out for the weekend, cars cram the pavement at Sun King Brewing Co. for Growler Fill Fridays. Downtown’s working class crowds the cavernous city-center tasting room to replenish 64-ounce jugs with house brews at $5 per pour. But that’s just half the attraction: It’s also a happy hour of sorts, thanks to the brewery’s generous spread of cocktail tables and free sampling of four to six on-tap selections. >> 10 a.m.–7 p.m. (tasting begins at noon); 135 N. College Ave., 602-3702, sunkingbrewing.com.
Suffice it to say, Endless Summer Band knows how to party. The quintet—which swells to 16 members when joined by a horn section and the leggy ESB Dancers—is anchored by lead singers Brian Marshall Goodwin, Nick Lemmo, and Faith Marie, who brings a commanding stage presence. The group gamely dons black tie, disco, or whatever style suits your shindig, and they’re just as comfy delivering a Sinatra classic as belting out Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” >> esbband.com.
Place to Play Your Records
You’re used to taking home things from Goose the Market. Now bring something with you—namely, your favorite records. At Vinyl Vibrations and Libations (held on the third Thursday of each month), patrons take over the turntable in the cozy cellar bar, Enoteca. The DIY-deejaying night usually coincides with free tastings of wine, beer, and/or artisanal food, and if the sample sizes prove inadequate, you can buy a full glass and a snack plate and settle in. Forgot your albums? Not to worry: The bartender takes requests. >> 2503 N. Delaware St., 924-4944, goosethe
Hosting a soiree is a little less demanding when chef-owner Jon Oliver of The Personal Palate is in the house. First, he commandeers your kitchen, filling it with his cookware, china, and co-chefs as needed. Then Oliver (formerly executive chef at the University Place hotel) allows guests to watch meal prep and ask questions as he braises, bastes, and blowtorches a personalized, multi-course menu. Whether he’s preparing dinner for six or tapas for 60, dishes never see the inside of a warming box, going straight from pan to beautifully presented plate. Oliver and his crew pack up the culinary spectacle when the party’s over, leaving you to enjoy a glass of wine in a clean kitchen. Pricing starts at $100 per guest, but can vary. >> 733-0429, thepersonalpalate.com.
Photos by Tony Valainis. Burlesque Show photo courtesy White Rabbit Cabaret.
This article appeared in the December 2012 issue.