One of Fountain Square's newest bars, Imbibe (1105 Shelby Street, 317.685.1959), fits these criteria perfectly. Nestled in the lobby of the Fountain Square Theatre Building, Imbibe is an intimate place, seating 25 to 30 patrons at most. The decor is a mix of art deco and modern, with a smattering of high tables, a few easy chairs, and the bar itself. Possessing a food menu focused on tapas-style snacks, Imbibe is the sort of place where you might kick off a night on the town with a date. This is exactly what Annie and I did on New Years Eve, and we didn't regret it. Far from it.
I haven't even mentioned Imbibe's drink menu yet. This menu and Imbibe's barkeep, Brian Jones, are the bar's strongest ingredients. So to the drink menu first. Imbibe is among the Indy establishments that does cocktails well. To say that the cocktails are artisanal wouldn't be too far off. Though I haven't had all the cocktails on the menu, I can tell you that Imbibe's vodka martini and cosmopolitan are well worth having.
In addition, the beer menu has a number of high-quality selections. Two of Imbibe's three taps were pouring Bell's Hopslam and Stone Arrogant Bastard when we visited. There is also a bottle menu that includes craft beer offerings, including Left Hand and Bell's. And then there's Brian, who the KOTBR have known since our first anniversary party. Hospitable, knowledgeable, and funny, Brian is one of those bartenders who makes it difficult to go home.
For our latest roundtable, we visited by Imbibe to review Stone Arrogant Bastard (American Strong Ale, 7.2% ABV, IBUs "classified" according to Stone). Though we did nine-word reviews not too long ago, they seem appropriate once again for Roundtable #99.
Jim: Burnt amber color. Smokey pineapple nose. Dry, lively finish. 4.25 Mugs
Rod: Strong Ale Lite or Hoppy Scottish Ale? Perhaps both. 3.80 Mugs
Jess: Your name delights us. Hoppy Scottish ale - I like! 4.00 Mugs
Gina: Presumptuous, haughty, imperious, brazen. You probably won't like it. 3.45 Mugs
Mike: I can name at least eight more arrogant bastards. 3.25 Mugs
Stone Arrogant Bastard
Jim: 4.25 Mugs | Rod: 3.80 Mugs | Jess: 4.00 Mugs | Gina: 3.45 Mugs | Mike: 3.25 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.75 Mugs