I moved to Indianapolis in 2013. It only took a few months for me to find and fall in love with Fountain Square—seeing a show or two, nights out until the wee hours of the morning, and spending too much money. Now, the Square is where I make my money, and has gone from my weekend party destination to my nine to five.
Being here sometimes six days out of the week allows me to experience the neighborhood and all it has to offer, and it’s much more than nightlife fueled by PBR.
The part of the Square I always loved, but rarely made the effort to see, is the community itself. The people and characters that inhabit it and the landmarks that give it so much beauty. In fact, my new favorite part of Fountain Square doesn’t revolve around the nightlife at all, but the opposite. Early mornings, especially Mondays, when hardly anyone is out, the strip is barren, and the sun is just starting to peak over the duckpin bowling sign. It’s almost magic. Okay, there is still trash in the street, cigarette butts from the weekend lining the sidewalks, and the faint smell of stale beer, but there’s also a calmness. It’s like the buildings and the avenues themselves are still asleep. Maybe that sounds nauseatingly poetic, but take an early a.m. walk here before you roll your eyes.
The dewy mornings turn into sun-spotted afternoons, which turn into pastel evenings. Two years ago, I wouldn’t have even been in Fountain Square before 10 p.m. to see the transition. But now, beyond working here, the openings of places like Milktooth, Bluebeard, Wildwood Market and Thunderbird (yes, I know the first two are Fletcher Place, but if I can walk there, I’m counting it), give me a delicious reason to venture southeast for brunches, lunches, dinners, and, of course, craft cocktails – any time – and I’m not the only one who realizes it.
Enter the age-old problem with popular places: will the growth of Fountain Square, the addition of incredible eateries, delectable bars, and trendy music venues change this community? Will the crowds overrun the lifers? Will long lines and raised prices force those of us who fell in love with the quirkiness that is Fountain Square to wander elsewhere?
I don’t know. But, I like this new Fountain Square, the new talent peeking through the cracks of the historic buildings and quaint streets. I like the eccentricity. I like that the aura of the neighborhood has grown because I’ve grown with it. All I can do is hope it doesn’t come with a cost.
Cheers to you, Fountain Square! May you stay infinitely weird. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to grab a PBR.