My Best of Indy: Abdul-Hakim Shabazz

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Photo by Stephen Simonetto

Where there’s smoke, Abdul Hakim-Shabazz usually isn’t far behind. The cigar-wielding political commentator doesn’t shy away from controversy on his WIBC radio show (Abdul at Large). Here, how he enjoys the city when he’s not outraging it.

 

I love that downtown Indy is so compact and contiguous. It’s all within walking distance. Try that in any other city. Nicky Blaine’s was my first love when I came here in 2004. I call it “Conference Room C.” Sometimes I’ll go there and do show prep. I’m a spirits guy—the basics. Pretty much a 60-year-old white man in a 40-something-year-old black man’s body. If I could only have one more drink here on Earth, I’d call my friends at Nicky Blaine’s and say, “Gentlemen, I need a gin martini with two olives—Bombay or Tanqueray—and either a Kristoff or Davidoff cigar.”

When I’m not smoking and drinking, I go to Downtown Comics. I’m there so often that I have probably put somebody’s kid through college—or at least community college. As a collector, I’ve been buying about 30 books a month since 1984.

If I want to get away from downtown, I’ll do what I call “Keystone at the Crossing for Man Day.” I go to 4:59 barberlounge and get a scalp massage and a manicure. Then I’ll head across the street to Sullivan’s Steakhouse for lunch—I get the steak sandwich and calamari. Finally, I’ll go to Blend Bar Cigar for a cocktail and a smoke. That’s often my Saturday—far enough away that I’ve left my stomping grounds, but not as far as the epic trek to Noblesville. It’s really kind of a staycation.

 

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