STREET SAVVY: Washington Street

Blighted for decades, downtown’s historic commercial district emerges once more.

[1] Cultural Trail Art

Washington Street owes some of its renewal to the Cultural Trail, now running from Alabama Street to Capitol Avenue. Art installations—an Abraham Lincoln sculpture and a creative bus stop canopy covered with poetry—sit near the corner of Washington Street and Capitol Avenue.

[2] Sidewalk Sports Bar

You’d expect to find dozens of TVs at the Indianapolis Colts Grille. It’s still a surprise to come across sidewalk seating with a good view of a flat screen. 110 W. Washington ST., 631-2007.

[3] Then and Now

Historical photos by the east windows of the Artsgarden let you compare the current vista down Washington to the same perspective in 1925, when the thoroughfare was filled with streetcars, horses, and ladies in hats. 100 W. Washington St.

[4] Bike Valets >>

The Conrad rolled out two new programs this spring: valet bicycle parking for locals heading to the spa or the restaurants, and branded cruiser bikes for guests. (Inside, it opened the $3,000-per-night Gallery Suite, decorated with original Warhols and Picassos.) 50 W. Washington St., 713-5000.

<< [5] 9-to-5 Necessities

A national menswear store, Jos. A. Bank employs an in-house tailor who can fix wardrobe malfunctions. It’s also the best place to buy an umbrella in a pinch. 10 E. Washington St., 632-1065.

[6] Finery for Fellas

The black-and-white tile floors, the shoe-shiners, the wood fixtures—Red’s Classic Barber Shop Co.  is all throwback, down to the Colonel Conk’s moustache wax for sale and the cool selection of hats. 22 E. Washington St., 636-7337.

[7] Beauty Secret

Kenra Professional makes top-of-the-line haircare products, including Callista Gingrich’s hairspray of choice. There’s a test salon at the corporate office where staffers get free ‘dos and dyes. 22 E. Washington St., 428-8073.

[8] Neapolitan-style Pies

Coal Pizza Company, reviewed here. 36 E. Washington St., 685-2625.

[9] Scene-Stealing Drinks >>

With daring (and delicious) cocktails and small plates, The Libertine Liquor Bar has single-handedly shaken up the steakhouse-and-sports-bar vibe prevalent near Bankers Life Fieldhouse. 38 E. Washington St., 631-3333.

>> Coming Soon
  McOuat Place (pronounced “mc-coo-it”) expects to welcome its first residents in September. The one-bedroom apartments at 14 E. Washington St. will start at $1,155 per month and add 20 cosmopolitan rentals to the area to go along with the little-known 26 West apartments next to the Conrad.

<< Best Bets  Inventive cocktails at The Libertine, workday wear at Jos. A. Bank, Conrad bikes, and a Stormy Kromer cap ($34.99) from Red’s Barber Shop Co.







Photos by Tony Valainis and Brandon Bowen

This article appeared in the June 2012 issue.