There is life after dark on the brick streets and beyond
Nightlife in Zionsville? Does it even exist? Inquiring minds want to know and so do local Zionsville residents who could benefit from a night out close to home.
Ron Hopwood, owner of Hopwood Cellars Winery, responded to that inquiry with a smile, “Zionsville wants a nightlife. We’re starting to get one. I don’t think it’s here but we’re on the right path.”
Hopwood would know. His new winery appears to be on that path, especially on Friday nights. Some would say his place is “hoppin” and happening with energetic crowds, live music, free wine tastings, and his unique wine shake. But, Hopwood is thinking ahead.
“We need more of a variety of things to do,” He said. “I’m thinking about doing a grape stomp this summer, comedy acts, or a magician. I want to think of alternatives and keep things fresh.”
Jazzin’ it up at Plum’s
Keeping things fresh in a small town is a challenge, especially when restaurants and bars appear to be doing similar things – drink specials, live music, dinner specials. However, Plum’s Upper Room has brought something unique to town – jazz on Wednesday nights. Chris Murray and Josh Weirich, both Zionsville Middle School band directors have formed the Murray-Weirich Jazz Quintet, which plays at Plum’s every other Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. They encourage their middle and high school students to participate, and on Dec. 12 the house was packed.
“It’s a great way to promote live music and give our kids a chance to see live jazz and participate,” Weirich said.
They both are passionate about kids and jazz and feel they have found a winning combination as Murray enthusiastically exclaims, “It’s a win-win-win-win-win! It’s good for the restaurant, links the school to the community, provides a safe environment for kids to hear and play jazz, creates more venues for Indy’s jazz musicians, and helps propel the genre forward.”
Live music is played at several locations, mostly on weekends during the winter but expanding to weeknights when outside patios open. Along with Plum’s, The Loft at Trader’s Point Creamery, Cobblestone Grill, and Hopwood’s windery provide live music each week.
Taps all over town
A night on the town usually involves a drink at the bar or with dinner, and there are many options in town. Cobblestone Grill, with its slogan “Home of the Honest Pour,” has a wide range of drink specials and an extensive wine list. But, their excitement is around new taps arriving soon.
“We’re going to have 28 taps featuring microbrews and local Indy brews,” co-owner Liz Esra said. “Something new we will be starting is the Cobblestone BierMeister who will be chosen monthly from our beer-loving guests who will have the honor of chosing two featured beers.”
Taps also are the specialty across the street at Patrick’s Kitchen and Drinks. With 10 craft beers that are constantly changing with varieties not found elsewhere, the restaurant, which refers to itself as “comfort food with a twist,” also has some “twists” at the bar. Full time bartender, Karen Irwin whips up creative concoctions like the lavendar martini or Nutcracker Sweet, rimmed with toasted almond and brown sugar using Indiana vodka and local ingredients.
Taps can also be found outside of downtown in the Stonegate development at the Carolina Grill’s Tap Room. The bar hosts free pool and kareoke on Friday nights from 9:30 until close.
“You can be in your own little nook of Zionsville down here. There are no windows so time just slips away,” bar manager Tyler Reimer said.
Closes early, a few closed on Mondays
Despite the many options of libations and live music, the Village shuts down early, with most establishments closed by 10 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on weekends. Another issue is the varying hours and days restaurants are open, with some closed on Sundays and even on Mondays. Irwin, of Patrick’s, would like to change that.
“I think Zionsville needs to build business between 9 and midnight. I personally have been staying late,” Irwin said. “If you come in, I’m not going to kick you out. I live across the street so I’m here.”
Events throughout the Year
Events sponsored by businesses throughout the year also provide a fun night on the town. The Friendly Tavern is known for its St. Patrick’s Day party with a tent in the parking lot, complete with a live Irish band and bagpipers. Other events include Art after Five First Fridays sponsored by village art galleries each month from 5 to 8 p.m. as well as Ladies Night Out organized by merchants periodically. A special Men’s Shopping Night Out, complete with beer tasting, will be held Thursday night from 6 to 10 p.m. at Lesley Jane Boutique and Cobblestone Grill.