An Old-Time Twist on Bowling

Duckpins, ball & biscuit and the Black Market all bring a bit of the past to present Indy hot spots.

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Fountain Square Theatre, a two-minute cab ride only a mile-and-a-half from downtown Indianapolis at the intersection of Virginia Avenue at Shelby and Prospect streets, was the first commercial historic district in Indiana. Its buildings span more than a century from 1871 to the present.

Extensively renovated starting in 1993, the building houses entertainment and events in the Fountain Square Theatre, art galleries and studios, two restaurants, seasonal rooftop dining, a cocktail bar, and duckpin bowling in either of two vintage alleys.

Duckpin bowling was born in Baltimore in 1900 and was a favorite of Babe Ruth. It uses smaller balls and pins and has different rules. The Action Duckpin Bowl has been restored with authentic 1930s vintage bowling equipment and eight lanes. A café area seats up to 120 guests, and surrounding windows give a great view of downtown.

The Atomic Bowl Duckpin, in the building’s basement, has seven lanes with authentic 1950s and 1960s bowling equipment, along with displays of mid-century bowling collectibles. A café seats up to 90 guests. Visit www.fountainsquareindy.com.

 

Bar and lounge

The ball & biscuit, two minutes from downtown at 331 Massachusetts Ave., is a bar and lounge set in the cultural corridor of the Mass Ave neighborhood. True to its eclectic surroundings, it has the laid-back atmosphere of a Prohibition-era speakeasy.

From the 150-year-old quarter-sawn wood floor, to the distressed leather chairs, the exposed brick walls and the tin ceiling, the place is a neighborhood bar at heart. The menu includes craft beers, boutique wines and unique cocktails that range from pre-Prohibition classics to modern concoctions. Unique bar foods are served in an atmosphere of background music conducive to good conversation. Visit www.ballandbiscuit.com.

 

Casual dining

Black Market is a new gastro pub at 922 Massachusetts Ave., four minutes from the Convention Center. It serves up “comfort food” with an Indiana flavor along with local beers and wines. Foods made with old-fashioned pickling and preservation methods often appear in the restaurant’s dishes. Entrees like ale steamed mussels, rainbow trout, mushroom dumplings and the Black Market burger are served in a casual atmosphere where diners in a suit or jeans are equally welcome. Entree prices range from $12 to $22. Visit www.blackmarketindy.net.

 

Historic site

Dominating the five-block picturesque setting of War Memorial Plaza in downtown Indianapolis, the Indiana World War Memorial sits 210 feet above street level. This mausoleum-style limestone and marble memorial honors Hoosiers killed during World Wars I and II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

The memorial, at 431 N. Meridian St., includes multiple standing figures that symbolize courage, memory, peace, victory, liberty and patriotism. The Shrine Room, with 24 stained glass windows, provides the setting for a 17- by 30-foot American flag suspended from the ceiling. A military museum in the basement follows the history of Indiana soldiers from the Battle of Tippecanoe through the most recent conflicts. Visit www.in.gov/iwm.

 

Shopping

Midland Arts & Antiques in downtown Indy can keep you occupied for hours with four floors full of art and antiques from more than 200 dealers from around the Midwest. Located at 907 E. Michigan St., four minutes from the Convention Center, the market has been a destination for more than 15 years. Merchandise includes decorative items, works by local artists, furniture, pottery, vintage jewelry, 1950s collectibles, china and a great deal more. Visit www.midlandathome.com.



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