Dive Bar Digest

3 minute read

This story starts a few months back. It was the day before a holiday weekend, as we were winding things down at the office, when the MH team got on the subject of dive bars.


There’s something about a good dive bar.

Dusty, little gems that sparkle in their own, charming way. Menus and menu items from a bygone era. Food that’s unapologetically hand-breaded, deep-fried and gluten-laden. Waitresses who don’t take any guff from anyone (and use words like guff). Walls adorned with neon Hamm’s signage and decades-old calendars that are evidence that the place is, indeed, frozen in time—in the very best possible way.

Back to our story. As we were downing a few IPAs, we scribbled down a few notable local dives and decided that we should resolve to regularly visit, enjoy and review these unsuspecting, culinary treasures. Introducing: the MilesHerndon Dive Bar Digest.

Dive Bar Digest John's Famous Stew Indianapolis Indiana Dive Bar Digest Steer-In Indianapolis Indiana

The way this DBD is going to work. Until we decide to change it.

We want to make this an entertaining, useful blog. And, to be completely candid, it’s mostly for our own entertainment. But feel free to follow along.

Keep it positive. This isn’t Yelp. Our goal is to try places we haven’t tried before, support local, independently owned businesses and encourage others to do the same. We’re hoping to build awareness and encourage you to try the place so you can make your own decision. Reminder: ice cold beer tastes pretty good no matter where you go.

Review the food. Many places are famous for something. Stew. Burgers. Tenderloin. Soup. We may not review all the food items on the menu, but we will try to offer up a photo (and a few descriptive words) of their signature food.

(Attempt to) describe the atmosphere. This is where the rubber meets the road, or the beef meets the Manhattan, as it were. We’ll do our best to paint a picture with words and, of course, a few pictures. But the reason for the visit is to experience the atmosphere. We encourage you to do the same.

Offer up a few pro tips. We’ll try to do our best to learn the lay of the local land and provide a few things that might help you out—cash only, closed on Mondays, etc. We encourage our readers to add any other comments that might prove useful to future dive goers.

Tell your friends. As mentioned before, we want to raise awareness of the places that aren’t likely to make it on Indy Monthly’s top restaurants, but certainly deserve a special place in our hearts (not to mention our gastrointestinal tracts).

What do we consider a “dive bar”?

Good question. Simply put, we consider a “dive” an independent restaurant that has been around for a few years and serves beer and booze. A “diner” usually slings breakfast, all-day breakfast if they are especially awesome. And not to steal Guy Fieri’s golden-haired thunder, but we will likely be checking out local diners and drive-ins. 

So, that’s what we’re up to. Of course, we welcome any dive/diner/drive-in suggestions in and around the Indianapolis area. Happy diving.

Up first in MilesHerndon’s Dive Bar Digest: Ralph’s Great Divide