In the 1920s and 1930s, Indianapolis played stomping grounds for a number of notorious gangsters -- most famously John Dillinger -- and the city is now home to numerous speakeasy-inspired establishments.
If you've been around for any length of time, you know I've never met a Prohibition-Era spot I don't love. However, one Indy speakeasy still operates in a more authentic fashion than all the rest.
Most locals have heard of Bootleggers but finding it is another task altogether.
The address of the speakeasy isn't advertised online, and there's certainly no website or Google Business listing for the bar. In fact, just like in the Roaring Twenties, the only way to get into Bootleggers is to know someone in the know.
When we finally learned exactly where Bootleggers is (and what the entry password is) I couldn't wait to visit. The experience was just as authentic as I expected it to be. You're in for a treat when you get the chance to go.
Upon finding the right door to the basement -- a job in and of itself -- you'll turn an antique brass key to reveal the speakeasy's gatekeeper. Say the secret password and you're in!
Once you've gone down the stairway, you'll be met with an incredibly authentic speakeasy experience. While some of the seating areas have contemporary furnishings, the bones of Bootleggers are anything but. You won't find sleek paneling and ornate artwork here.
Instead, imbibers are surrounded by the building's original stone foundation, with brick walls scattered throughout.
In a restaurant culture where speakeasies have become glamorized, there's no glitz and glamour at Bootleggers -- and, frankly, that makes it all the more fun.
Real Prohibition speakeasies made do with what they had in basements or back rooms. This is as close as you'll come to the real thing 100 years later.
And, while the bartenders aren't slinging actual bathtub gin, you can order from a selection of era-appropriate cocktails, including Old Fashioneds, Negronis, Gin Rickeys, Manhattans, and Sidecars.
As you can see [below], Bootleggers has a full bar, so if you're in the mood for a 21st-century drink, you can order that as well.
I highly recommend chatting with the bar staff if you get the chance. Everyone I spoke to was well-versed in the history of the establishment above Bootleggers. You'll have the opportunity to hear some incredible tales.
If you're sold on spending your next night out pretending you're with Lucky Luciano or Al Capone's outfit, Bootleggers is the place for you.
P.S. With Valentine's Day approaching, it's also a surprisingly good spot for a date night.
For a hint about the location and the password, follow me on Instagram (@_rebekahbarton) and send me a DM. Can't wait to hear from you soon!
Comments / 0