INDIANAPOLIS – The pandemic has shown us that we don’t have to travel far to indulge in good food, and entertainment. Staycations are more popular than ever before and there’s one destination in downtown Indianapolis that’s perfect for your next weekend getaway.
Business is booming once again at 850 Massachusetts Avenue and the streets are coming alive. An historic landmark for Indianapolis, has been now redesigned to welcome and entertain visitors, while staying true to its roots.
“This whole district is been curated to give you an experience,” said Amy Isbell Williams, the General Manager of the Bottleworks Hotel, “We felt really strongly to really keep as local as we can and really give Indianapolis something they haven’t seen before either.”
The history can be found right in the name. Bottleworks. It dates back to the 1920s. Williams walked us through the history and says you can see the evolution of the times here in the hotel.
“This building was a Coca-Cola distribution center and bottling plant,” she explained, “We really wanted to try to bring the history of Coca-Cola in the building without overly doing it.”
Years later in 1950, an expansion made it the largest Coca-Cola bottling plant in the world; and when you walk through the main doors it’s like you’re transported back in time, with a modern twist.
“All of the tile that you see on the floor is all original terrazzo tile, all of the ceramic tiles on the walls, these are all original,” said Williams, “From the floors to the railings, brass railings, to the tile, to the light fixtures.”
In 1969 the plant was sold to Indianapolis Public Schools and since 1971, the building has housed the IPS Service Center, according to Bottleworks District website.
You’ll notice the doors of each room a red, glossy finish to pay homage to the classic brand. Williams says spots like the picture wall on the second floor of the hotel and the library make the hotel, unique.
The self-portraits in the hallways will also catch your eye.
“A showcase of different walks of life where anyone that could be a guest here,” explained Williams, “I think what’s really special is that we showcase some of the construction workers and some of the artisans that worked on this building in the photos. And they love coming back and taking a photo next to their picture and they’re here forever.”
From the detailed design, to the entertainment. A quick walk across the brick road you’ll find The Garage Food Hall. Named after what it once was, a garage for Coca-Cola trucks.
“I think you’ll be blown away by not only what we offer,” said Nicole Ulrich, the General Manager of The Garage Food Hall, “Everybody that comes in says wow!”
You’ve got lobster, tacos, ice cream and more food and drink options for the entire family. But for Ulrich, it’s more than a place to eat.
“When we say destination, we love the fact that you can bring your family down here on a Saturday afternoon,” said Ulrich, “We have DJ, you can feed the kiddos, you can shop, you can go outside we’ve got perimeter seating we’ve got this beautiful patio that people are really enjoying. We’re also a destination for a Saturday night where you can start here with your girlfriends and then head on down Mass Ave.”
She added, “To me, it’s to walk around and see how many people enjoy this place from all demographics. My favorite is to see older couples sit here and talk about the history of the district. Did they work in this building? Did they work across the street?””
New businesses are opening quickly in the Bottleworks District. From retail, a spa, movie theater, and gaming – and just like the classic soda, this sweet addition to the city is hoping to be just as iconic.
“It’s definitely a different story that you can tell when you come to this city,” said Williams, “You want something that’s uniquely Indianapolis.”
The Bottleworks Hotel is already filling up quickly on the weekends, and there’s so much more planned for the district, including office and residential options.
Click here to see more of the plan for the district or if you’d like to visit.