If Sensu (225 S. Meridian St., 317-536-0036), and The Libertine Liquor Bar (38 E. Washington St., 317-631-3333) taught us anything about downtown’s eating-and-drinking habits, it was that we are nowhere near our saturation point for attractive spots to comfortably sip cocktails and people-watch. Brothers Binh and Steven Phan, co-owners of Mass Ave’s teeny lucky-red Bu Da Lounge (429 Massachusetts Ave., 317-602-3643) are tapping into the game. By Nov. 11, they hope to be in their new 5,000-square-foot space on East Market Street.
The new location at 148 E. Market Street was still deeply under construction last week when Binh gave a quick tour. But some of the features already stand out amid the plaster dust: an 11-foot humidor and soaring wine rack just inside the entrance, for starters. And then, there are the ceilings. The main room opens up like a cathedral, with black-laquered tin ceiling tiles more than two stories up. A historic back bar—which the brothers can’t touch, per the lease agreement—runs nearly the length of the room. The rest of the lounge, all painted in decadent shades of red and black, is a honeycomb of rooms furnished with deep sofas and raised booths. Upstairs, the Phans have set aside a private VIP lounge for bottle service and guests with reserved wine lockers. The second level has its own bar, of course, a dumb waiter for delivering food, and a balcony that overlooks the scene below. “It’s going to have more of that club scene that we always wanted to have,” says Binh.