Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tomlinson Tap Room - Okay, Where's the "Room?"

Tomorrow the Tomlinson Tap Room at the City Market is set to open to the public. I was excited when I heard about the concept. I expected the bar, which is to feature Indiana craft beers, would be the perfect place for an after work brew. Jolene Ketzenberger of the Indianapolis Star wrote a glowing preview.

Finally, I thought, City Market leaders were doing something different that just might bring people to the venue.

Last Friday, I stopped by the Tomlinson Tap Room to check it out. I couldn't believe it. First there is no "room." It's a bar sitting out in the open on the second floor of the center of the City Market. There are a few plastic chairs and tables scattered around for people to use...just like there was before the bar was installed.

I was told by a City Market business owner that the Tomlinson Tap "Room" would be closing at 8 pm on weekdays and 5 pm on Saturdays.

This has failure written all over it.


Blog Admin said...

At 4pm on Saturday, it'll be one of the most depressing bars in the city considering it'll be filled with empty store stands.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Not thst anyone cares what the law provides, but I don't believe there is a law that permits alcohol to be sold at City Market. As a rule, alcohol sales are not permitted on government property except at provided by statute. There is specific statutory authorization for places like the convention center, stadiums, arenas, etc. for alcohol sales. This was pointed out when Center Township allowed a bar in the township government office building.

Blog Admin said...

I don't know if this relates to the law, Gary, but when I was younger, I was able to sit in the city's suite during a few Pacers games. I remember alcohol wasn't provided unlike in many of the other suites due to some city regulation.

Paul K. Ogden said...

You're probably right Gary. It will be a moot point though as the TTR will be closed in six months.

IndyDem said...

I have tried and tried to get through to people. Its not what's inside city market that keeps it from succeeding. Now with the increased parking fees and increased times you must pay them, why would they be open later? They'll be lucky to have any business on Sat at all. Just like the rest of us.
We need an affordable alternative to those blasted meters in every quad of downtown.

Every five or six years, they try and reinvent city market and we pour millions into renovating it and bringing in new stores. The failures of the market, and indeed the entire north east quad, is no one invests outside the market. We have not gotten it through our heads if we want to create an attraction..an economic corridor, we've got to deal with the entire quad. What are we doing to make the area more consumer attractive? The only things I've seen actually make it less inviting..
Its not the market.. its the whole quad.

Paul K. Ogden said...


They basically do the same thing when they "reinvent." And the time table is shorter than that...it's like every three years.
I think they need to stop trying to make the City Market into something the area around it will not support.

Cato said...

Findlay Market is in a somewhat sketchy neighborhood of Cincy, but it's quite thriving. It has a free lot, and it has vibrant Cincy people, so it has a regular flow of customers.

I encourage everyone in Indy to visit Findlay Market. Find the Belgian waffle stand - highly tasty. Indy people are lucky to have a real city just 100 miles away. Cincy is such a beautiful and buzzing contrast to Indy.

Unfortunately, Indy people are really boring. If Indy people were more like city people, they'd have a more thriving city market.

How many areas of Indy have people with any pizazz to them? A few in the Near Northside, quite a few in Broad Ripple and the bulk of anyone with any taste is up in Carmel, with a few in Zionsville and Fishers. That's it. East, West and South are deadly dull people who run from anything with some spice to it. Watch how often someone from Greenwood reaches for the Tabasco. South Side restaurants will proudly tell you that a dish is "not that spicy," at which point I say, "Oh, that's a shame." I'm always met with puzzled looks at that.

Unfortunately, you can't get to Downtown from Carmel, Fishers, and most places on the North Side.

Until a North-South highway is built that connects the Northern areas to Downtown, people will stay up in their neighborhoods and skip the hassle of getting Downtown.

Indy has a few logistical and cultural problems it needs to solve before that City Market will see a steady trade.

M Theory said...

The Cincy area can also boast Jungle Jim's, the greatest international grocery emporium on the planet attracting foodies from the entire midwest.

Gov't needs to get completely out of the food and entertainment business, of which they fail miserably over and over again.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Indy Student, Alcohol can be served at Conseco Fieldhouse just like it was served at Market Square Arena. When that downtown police brawl happened years ago, those police officers involved had consumed alcohol at the Indians game while using the mayor's suite there, which is one of the reasons it bit Goldsmith so hard during his failed gubernatorial election. I believe the city allows alcohol to be consumed in the city suites at Conseco and LOS now, but I could be wrong.

varangianguard said...

Cato, "somewhat sketchy"? lol

Somehow, I think you've never been in that neighborhood at four in the morning.

Seriously, I'm not sure I completely agree with your assessment of Cincinnati. Like Indianapolis, it has vibrant neighborhoods, and some not so vibrant. And, while downtown is getting ready to celebrate the opening of a brand new high-rise office building across from the baseball stadium, I wonder if that isn't just shifting occupancies, rather than increasing them. I fear that the area surrounding Fountain Square will just begin another decline in the near future.

HFFT, Jungle Jim's! You're right, that is an amzing place. Still, my favorite resides on the Kentucky side of the river, Party Source. You need it? We probably got it for your party. I wish Indiana would allow stores like that to do business here.

Paul K. Ogden said...


That incident did produce a great joke.

"Why did the IPD officers leave he game early?"

"To beat the crowd."

Paul K. Ogden said...

While there are some good suggestions on here for businesses, the problem is when government is trying to pick a business model that works instead of the free market.

Hoosier in the Heartland said...

I've been to city markets around the world, including (just to cite two) Montreal and St. Louis.

All have far more life than Indy's.

Dunno what the difference is, except, maybe, Indy's white bread with mayonnaise mentality.

The markets in the Lafayette Square area are much more exciting (probably because of the vibrant ethnic mix of stores/restaurants in that neighborhood).

I used to shop at the City Market -- back when it had vendors -- and I do miss it. I just don't know the solution.

Southsider said...

I hope nobody gets impaired and falls over the railing.....

Cato said...

"Seriously, I'm not sure I completely agree with your assessment of Cincinnati."

You never do. You were adamant in your homerism on Jen Wagner's blog where you said some really puzzling things. Your loyalty to Indy is admirable. Your devotion to the truth, less so.

Indy has, what, three or four identifiable and functioning neighborhoods: Broad Ripple, Zionsville, Downtown Carmel and maybe Lockerbie? Cincy has 40-50, including some of the finest in the country. Give it up. As a city, Indy is a saltine, while Cincy is a smorgasbord of flavor.

Further, as I'm not shopping at Findlay Market at 4am, what's the relevance?

HFFT, right on. Jungle Jim's is incomparable.

guy77money said...

Cincinnati is different from Indy where many of the neighborhood areas are separate towns akin to Speedway and Beech Grove. Throw in the river and the vibrant KY area and it is a whole different metric. That being said they still have their urban blight areas like all large cities.

As for Jungle Jim's your all right not there is no other place in the midwest that compares to it! I shop there at least 4 to 5 times a year when visiting my brothers and sister.

Unknown said...

The Tomlinson Tap "Room" provides the people of Indianapolis a great place to consume beer produced in Indiana. It's a great way to support local business. It has two lots across the street, both with large capacities, that are free after 4 PM. The design will eventually include an enclosure, made of the roof material from the RCA Dome, on the sides. It incorporates a lot of Indiana history: the tables made from reclaimed Indiana wood, the bar from an old Hooks drugs store in Lafayette. The market is trying to base itself on local, Indiana produced goods. What more could you want? It's not Cincinnati, and for that I'm grateful. If I wanted to live in Cincinnati I would. I live in Indianapolis and I take pride in that.