INDIANAPOLIS– When the Bottleworks Hotel officially opened its doors in December of 2020, it was just the beginning of what has become a major business and entertainment boom on the north end of Mass Ave.
Since then, the hotel itself has seen several new businesses and restaurants move in on the first floor. One of the newest additions is Sundry & Vice, which opened in late October.
The apothecary-style bar got its start in Cincinnati, Ohio, about seven years ago before opening the new location in the Bottleworks District. Since then, it’s quickly become a popular hangout for Indy locals and visitors alike.
We’re kicking back with a cocktail on this trip In Your Neighborhood.
When it comes to crafting cocktails, Sundry & Vice takes a nod to the apothecary vibe of the pre-Prohibition era, when liquor infused concoctions were a remedy of choice.
“We really wanted to pay homage to kind of the bitters and tinctures and all the kind of medicinal and medical side of cocktails and where cocktailing really came from,” said Dean McHone, Director of Operations for Circle City Hospitality.
The ledge just above the bar is lined with apothecary bottles, books, and oddities to carry on the theme.
But the atmosphere is contemporary yet alluring, featuring cozy couches, hidden nooks, and private corners.
“We are going to keep the lights very low. We are going to keep everything kind of a warm sexy hue and we are going to turn the music up, especially as the night wears on,” McHone noted.
Attention to detail carries over to the drink menu. Everything from juices to syrups and infusions are made in-house.
“We just want to have control over every element that goes into the cocktail. This enables us to have basically the highest quality,” he said. “If we start with really high quality ingredients and we personally use them, we can ensure that the end product is of the highest quality.”
Drink favorites include the Drops of Life, which is their light and approachable take to a traditional martini, the classic Old Fashioned (which they keep on draft), and the Honeyed Words.
“That is [made with] fresh cantaloupe juice, lemon, Campari,” McHone explained. “We take a blended Scotch whiskey and infuse it with Turkish figs. So, you get some of those raisin/honey notes from that. Fresh mint, a little bit of sea salt.”
But one of the all-time favorites has actually been a staple on the menu since the opening of the original Sundry & Vice location seven years ago– called The Night Cure.
“It’s basically a gold rush. It’s fresh lemon juice, honey, a really nice bourbon… Four roses Bourbon actually. We use a grapefruit peel in a cocktail,” he said. “So, it’s bright, juicy and refreshing but it is still very bourbon forward.”
“If you are a season bourbon drinker then it is a great choice for you because it’s still has bourbon but it kind of shows you some of the more delicate nature of bourbon,” he added.
When it comes to holiday drinks, McHone suggests the Magical Mystery (made with Rye Whiskey, Amaro Montenegro, lemon, berries and egg white) or La Vega.
“La Vega is a stirred cocktail with a little bit of spice, cocoa and banana and aged Jamaican rum. So, it’s got a touch of a funk,” she shared. “It’s basically like a rum old-fashioned, and it is super weather appropriate.”
Four Things You Need to Know about Sundry & Vice:
- Sundry & Vice is a cocktail bar serving up craft cocktails, draft beers and signature wines in an apothecary-themed atmosphere. Their first location opened in Cincinnati, Ohio, about seven years ago. The new Indy location (located at 850 Massachusetts Avenue) opened up in late October 2021 on the first floor of the Bottleworks Hotel.
- In 2018, Sundry & Vice was listed as one of the World’s Best Bars alongside luxury drinkeries across the globe.
- If you stay at the hotel for a date night or weekend staycation, they say– at this point– they are unable to charge drinks to rooms. Also, they do not serve food. However, there’s plenty of restaurants within walking distance.
- In addition to their classic and contemporary craft cocktails, the bar offers eight draft cocktails, plus beer and wine.
For more information on Sundry & Vice, check out the website by clicking here. For more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out their Yelp profile. You can also connect on social media via Facebook and Instagram.
Looking for more to explore more in the Bottleworks District? Check out these local hot spots nearby: