Historic Fountain Square Theatre transitioning to sports bar during pandemic


INDIANAPOLIS— The weather may be warm this weekend, but winter always comes, and Indiana bars and restaurants are bracing for it. The owners of the Rooftop Bar in Fountain Square are getting creative with how to make revenue in a COVID world.

“We kind of fear that, so we are trying to plan according.” responded Eric Young, Vice President of Action Enterprises, when asked about any further restrictions on Marion County bars and restaurants if cases spike again during the colder months.

Action Enterprises owns the Rooftop Bar along with Imbibe Bar, the historic Fountain Square theatre, and the two bowling alleys in the Fountain Square building. The Rooftop Bar has kept them afloat during the pandemic but will close in the next few weeks. Generally, the company makes up for it by renting out the theatre for holiday parties, weddings, and more.

“We do swing dance events, salsa dance events, those have all been canceled for the rest of the year,” detailed Young, “We’ve had sixteen weddings either cancel or postpone.”

In response, they are turning the theatre into a temporary sports bar that will be complete with an on stage TV projector and screens on the bottom floor and mezzanine. The mezzanine area has space for more high top tables along with an additional bar, and potentially cornhole.

“Our main goal is to really allow people the chance to socially distance as much as possible,” added Young.

The concept will allow them to move staff from the Rooftop Bar to the new sports bar.

“One of the hardest parts of the job is when the shutdown happens, business takes a downturn, is to lay people off or furlough them, or let them go, because they depend on this job for their livelihood,” said Young.

The theatre will still be open for small weddings and parties, so it must be able to swap between bar and venue at any time.

“We are not transitioning the business, we are just pivoting during COVID,” explained Young, “Down here, if we book a small wedding that wants to happen than the sports bar gets cancelled, and we clean it up and flip it.”

The sports bar should be open in a few weeks once the Rooftop closes. Action Enterprises suggests checking their website to see if the bar is open, or booked for a small gathering or wedding.

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