Downtown Indy bars and restaurants prepare for NCAA tournament

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INDIANAPOLIS — Downtown Indianapolis is becoming a playground for all things related to the NCAA tournament with just two weeks to go.

After the city loosened restrictions on Monday many bars and restaurants started making plans and preparing for the crowds coming to the Circle City.

“We’re super excited about what’s about to happen,” said District Tap, operating Partner, Mike Summerfield.

Excitement is in the air as many rush to normalize things after being locked down since last March.

“It means absolutely everything to us to have the march madness tournament here,” said Stadium Tavern Manager Rob Strong.

With loosened restrictions in Marion County, these places are doing everything they can to capitalize from this big event after being derailed by COVID.

“The challenges have been we didn’t have the sales we thought that we would have and making sure that we take care of our staff, take care of our guests, and follow the guidelines,” said Summerfield.

Summerfield adds their downtown location has been hit hardest of its’ two locations due to the lack of events downtown. So, they want to do everything possible to go full steam ahead, by hosting a few events and also utilizing their outdoor seating.

“Make sure that the staff knows all of a sudden we’re going to do double the sales that we have been doing in the past and we’re just very excited about that,” said Summerfield.

And it’s the same for Strong over at Stadium Tavern which is just about 500 feet from Lucas Oil Stadium where the NCAA tournament will end. Strong is planning to add seating in the parking lot and host an event with COORS LIGHT.

“We have ordered more food. I’ve actually been trying to get this certain sausage into town I actually just got 50 pounds of it in the last week so it’s good. We’re starting to order up more beer, more alcohol behind the bar, more liquor,” said Strong.

Both of these establishments are bringing in additional employees. For the last few months Strong has allowed employees from the Slippery Noddle Inn to work periodically to make money.

“We’re really really excited about having people back in and being able to get our employees back working,” said Strong.

While the bars and restaurants are excited so is the city of Indianapolis is also eager to show off all of its glory to visitors

“We’re going to add a little luster in a little shine to it and we’re ready to present downtown the way that it deserves to be presented,” said Downtown Indy Inc., Senior VP Bob Schultz.

The Marion County Health Department says they are continuously educating establishments along with serving as a resource.

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