Indy’s TOP Sports Bars for Football Season

People drinking in Broad Ripple Tavern

Photo courtesy of Alli Donovan

Welcome to Indianapolis—an up-and-coming city in the Midwest with ever-changing attractions for both tourists and locals. Indy is an opportunistic tech city, a strong logistics hub, and home to the Best Airport in North America. But one of the Indy region’s most important features is sports—with some of the best sports bars in the country (but more on that soon!)

Between amateur and professional sports, Indianapolis has endless offerings for sports. Football fans scream for the Indianapolis Colts. Hockey folks cheer on the Indy Fuel. Soccer fanatics root for Indy Eleven, while anxiously awaiting their new stadium. And this is Indiana, so basketball is a guarantee—whether it be the Indiana Pacers, the Fever, or any of the fan-favorite college teams across the state.

In addition to all those teams, Indianapolis also hosts a wide variety of intramural leagues, youth sports, and unique tournaments from out of state! You can watch NCAA tournaments at Gainbridge Fieldhouse or catch the Big Ten Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium. Grand Park Sports Campus offers 400 acres of sports fields and facilities, and nineteen Olympic Trials have been hosted in IUPUI’s iconic Natatorium.

And of course, who could forget the World’s Greatest Spectacle in Racing? Indianapolis is the home of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the iconic Indy 500!

Whatever sports you love, Indy covers it all. Sports are constantly happening in the city, and living here is truly a sports fanatics’ dream. Indianapolis not only has amazing venues for fans, but the city also has an extensive lineup of bars that’s the perfect fit for any group of people.

So—drumroll please!—introducing Indy’s TOP sports bars (based on extensive research over a few nights of bar-hopping.)

SPORTS BARS FOR FOOTBALL SEASON 

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1. Kilroy’s – Broad Ripple / Downtown Indianapolis

Whether you’re crying in loss or screaming in happiness over a victory, Kilroy’s Bar & Grill is the perfect place to experience the range of emotions while watching the game. With locations in both Downtown Indianapolis and Broad Ripple (and Bloomington for IU Hoosier fans), Kilroy’s has become an Indy staple for awesome drinks, fun times with friends, and legendary breadsticks.

On Sundays, Colts fans take over Kilroy’s for a taste of their $10 Mimosa pitchers. But no matter the sport, Kilroy’s has you covered. They offer unique specials every day of the week, so there’s always fun to be had at Kilroy’s in Indianapolis.

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2. Ale Emporium – Castleton

Ale Emporium is an epic spot to watch a football game! But the most important piece of advice any local will tell you is to GET THERE EARLY on game day. The place is always packed with people for the entirety of the game.

Ale Emporium has a huge selection of beers for you to choose from, including local Indianapolis beers, craft beers, domestic beers, and so on. If you don’t fancy beer, they also have a full bar ready to mix you up a cocktail. And we can’t talk about Ale Emporium without talking about chicken wings! Ale is known for their World Famous Hermanaki Wings, and what’s better than football, wings, and beer?

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3. Average Joe’s – Broad Ripple

Average Joe’s Sports Pub & Grub is located right on the Broad Ripple strip. With their dive-bar feel and charm, they’re a top contender for any fan who wants to stop and watch the game!

Average Joe’s has been locally owned and operated since 1994. This bar prides itself on its dedication to the “weekend warrior”—to all beer-lovers and hot-dog-eaters who missed out on becoming a pro-athlete.

And the local feel of Average Joe’s is one that cannot be beat. The walls are lined with Indianapolis memorabilia, which really allows patrons to feel like they are one with Indiana history. With a full bar, lines of pool tables, and awesome waitstaff, you’ll instantly feel at home while watching the game every weekend.

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4. Coaches Tavern – Downtown Indianapolis

Coaches Tavern offers the excitement of being in the heart of Downtown Indianapolis, across from Gainbridge Fieldhouse and only a mile or two from Lucas Oil Stadium. It’s a popular spot to grab a beer and some of their famous chicken tenders—called Tavern Sticks.

But because they’re so close to Indy’s main football and basketball hubs, Coaches is constantly busy. Keep this in mind if you decide to visit! I recommend getting there early, so you can enjoy some awesome games and even the occasional live music performance.

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5. The Dugout – Fountain Square

The Dugout Bar has really put themselves on the map for sports bars in Indianapolis! Originally opened in 1954, the Dugout has kept its traditional dive-bar roots on one side of the building while constantly expanding and renovating the rest of the bar. In the last five years, the Dugout has developed three distinct areas for patrons to watch sporting events, mingle with their friends, host private events, or listen to live music. The experience is what you make it!

With walls full of old beer ads, a robust food and drink menu, and friendly servers, the Dugout makes it their mission to ensure you have an excellent time on game day—or any day ending in “y.”

6. Taylor’s Pub – Nora / 86th Street

When you walk into Taylor’s Pub, you’re immediately greeted with their famous ranch-seasoned pretzels before you can even check out the menu! Taylor’s is a great place to stop in, have a beer, and watch the Colts if you are not looking for the busy Downtown or Broad Ripple vibe.

Both locations of this neighborhood pub are within a local plaza—one in Nora and one off of 86th St. and Ditch Rd. With TVs lining the bar, Taylor’s Pub is one of the best sports bars for watching football on a Sunday afternoon. Insider tip: order an extra side of their ranch pretzels. You won’t be disappointed!

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7. Broad Ripple Tavern – Broad Ripple

Broad Ripple Tavern—aka BRT—is another classic sports bar located on the Broad Ripple strip. BRT is the best of both worlds, featuring a traditional restaurant/bar feel in the front and a large open area in the back. This area contains three pool tables, some arcade games, and several large TVs that are perfect for game night.

Whether you’re watching a game or just relaxing on a Friday night, Broad Ripple Tavern is a fun bar that offers a hometown feel in the middle of a busy, action-packed street. With many drink specials and a simple (yet amazing) lineup of food, sports fans can’t go wrong at Broad Ripple Tavern!

HONORABLE MENTIONS

These honorable mentions are a nod to other local sports bars with lots of TVs, an amazing environment, and an open invitation to sports fans. But at these bars, football’s not the focus! So, if football isn’t necessarily your game, here are some bars that are worth visiting for a game.

Union Jack Pub – Broad Ripple / Westfield

Union Jack is THE go-to place for soccer games in Indianapolis. Opening in the late morning, Union Jack gives their patrons an opportunity to watch soccer games that are broadcasted internationally!

Another thing that separates Union Jack from other bars is their extensive brunch menu. Pizza is always a fan-favorite, but their brunch menu pairs perfectly with a morning soccer game.

Birdies Grillhouse & Sports Bar – Westfield

If you’re on the north side of the Indy region, Birdies is the perfect spot for a fun night with friends, your family, or your significant other. Unlike the other bars on this list, Birdies’ main focus isn’t just being a sports bar. They also focus on mini golf!

Established in 2019, Birdies is a new-ish restaurant and bar in Westfield with their own miniature golf course. The mini golf is reasonably priced, and once you’re done golfing, you can find yourself a seat on the restaurant side of the building and watch some sporting events.

Parks Place Pub – Fishers

Just off of 116th Street in Fishers, you’ll find Parks Place Pub. This bar is a “rebirth” of the first-ever saloon in Fishers, once known as the Parks Place Saloon. Now, their restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner with over 20 draft beers and all the bourbon you can dream of.

Parks Place Pub boasts that they have 46 TVs in their establishment with sports playing all day—every day. So, this is the place to go if you’re on the northeast side and in the mood for some sports.

Rush on Main – Zionsville

Last but not least is Rush on Main in Zionsville! Located in the heart of the city, Rush on Main takes everything you love about Chicago and puts it right here in Indy. This bar is the perfect location for any of you Cubs fans in the area!

Their Chicago style is displayed all over the walls in the restaurant, but visitors come to Rush on Main for a taste of their famous Chicago dogs! As far as sports, Rush on Main has sports channels on constantly, and you can hear folks cheering along to baseball and soccer games while eating their chips and hotdogs.

Find your new favorite sports bar here in Indy.

When it comes to sports, you win some, and you lose some. However, the bar you choose to celebrate those games should always be a winner! Here in the Indy region, there’s somewhere for the sports fan in all of us. 

Indianapolis never ceases to amaze me in its amenities for both tourists and the locals. No matter the area you’re in, the sport you watch, or the food you want, Indy has a spot for you. Because that’s life in Indy!