16 May 2010

So Long, Old Friend

Last week marked the closing of Hoosier Beer Geek's original haunt, the bar/restaurant once known as Deano's Vino.

Our history with Deano's stretches way back to November of 2006 (KOTBR #6) - a time so far back that Deano's served as our formal introduction to IPAs. Far from just a wine bar, Deano's was on the city's forefront of bringing a good variety of craft beer to thirsty visitors. HBG founder Chris - never a stranger to enthusiasm - had this to say back then:
The atmosphere is fantastic, the staff are super-friendly and very knowledgeable, the beer list is out of this world, and the food is pretty damn good, too. If you haven't been there yet, I say this is THE essential new restaurant/bar in the 317 to check out. I can promise that many more reviews from the KOTBR will come to you from Deano's.
His "more reviews to come from Deano's" statement was certainly accurate - we eventually roundtabled at Deano's another seven times, making it the location we've visited most when reviewing a beer.

This isn't to say that Deano's was without flaws - the friendly, but more than casual attitude of the staff was sure to put off those who weren't regulars. The food, while tasty, may have been overpriced. The loss of ownership partner / wine guy / excitement magnet Deano Wilson certainly wasn't a good sign.

It was hard not to notice that the folks who had been regulars slowly trickled off - be it the newer competition in the neighborhood or just the loss of a vibe - but each consequent visit seemed a little sadder - like visiting a dying friend in a hospital. The bar tried a name change and a menu tweaking, but it was hard to ignore the wine bottles coming off the walls and the beer menu shrinking. Once the stench of failure set into the place it seemed like it was only a matter of time.

It was a sad finish for a place that always treated us well. Our first anniversary party at Deano's was our introduction to our audience, and it was at Deano's that we gave our only ever perfect beer score. Deano's was our default New Year's party location, and the first bar that I ever felt like a regular at. I wish more people would have seen it the way we did. The good times we shared won't soon be forgotten.

Our thoughts go out to the staff and ownership - it was a good run, and here's hoping greener pastures await you.


  1. only went there one time, but I loved it. A shame.

  2. Sad to see it go. I really enjoyed the atmosphere, people, and beer list. The food, however, always left a little to be desired. Fountain Square needed this place. I wonder what can fill the void?

  3. very sad indeed. i started going when i moved to fountain square 1 1/2 years ago, and the it was always a moderate yet friendly crowd. deano's leaving certainly was the biggest blow, but i can't help but wonder if the name change was the death blow. naptown juice? that just doesn't work.

  4. I don't think anyone was real fond of the name, but you don't lose your regulars with a name change. They were in pretty bad shape even before the rebranding.

  5. I really enjoy Imbibe and I think it's a reasonable substitute for Deano's. But it's still not the same as Deano's was in its prime.

    It will be interesting to see how some of the new places (e.g. the White Rabbit Cabaret and the Red Lion Grog House) hold up.

  6. I worry that Fountain Square is in the process of being oversaturated. I don't think there are enough people in the area to support this rate of growth. I love the area, and especially the diversity of establishments, but I'm curious to see what happens in the long-term.