Some may think that the best nightlife in the Lafayette area takes place on Purdue University’s campus; however, the bar and pub scene across the bridge in Lafayette provides an exciting environment that can fit anyone’s niche.
Eclectic pubs, sports bars and historic saloons are just a few of the different scenes you can experience on your next visit to downtown Lafayette.
Below are just a few suggestions for a good night on the town.
The Black Sparrow
After celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2018, The Black Sparrow continues to offer a new experience every time you visit its location on Main Street. Known for its craft beer menu that continuously changes, the Sparrow’s specialty pizzas are a favorite part of an expanding list of food items that contains old favorites and unique daily specials. Open 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Monday through Friday and 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, the bohemian vibe hits you the moment you walk through the door. But don’t let the calmness during the day fool you. In the evenings, especially Friday and Saturday nights, the music turns up and the number of people grows.
“You will always find a mix of different people here,” says John Olakowski, general manager at The Black Sparrow. “One moment we are playing classic rock, and the next you’ll hear hardcore rap.”
If you want to experience a bar with diversity and originality, The Black Sparrow is the place to go.
One fact about the Knickerbocker Saloon stands above the rest: it is the oldest bar in Indiana, having been open since 1835. Knickerbocker is located directly underneath what used to be the Lahr Hotel, where the Amtrak Station would drop off and pick up travelers coming through the town. Even today, the outdoor seating provides a prime place to enjoy a classic cocktail while people watch along 5th Street; however, it is the inside scenery that will leave you staring. The dim lighting and table to ceiling mirrors enhance the antique feel you get the moment you walk through the door.
Although the rich history and cigar menu sets the Knickerbocker Saloon apart from many bars in Lafayette, Dan Scott — a bartender at the saloon — said the Knickerbocker prides itself on old-fashioned service as well.
“Professionalism is what sets us apart,” said Scott. “We are expected to come dressed well and provide the best service we can, every day.”
To check out a saloon that has history built into every inch while enjoying your favorite drink, stop by any day between 4 p.m.–3 a.m.
Chumley’s on 3rd Street in downtown Lafayette describes itself as an “upscale sports bar,” which is exactly what you will find on your visit. The view into this pub from the street is enough to draw you in to see what’s going on inside. A variety of seating ranges from booths to bar stools, along with high and low top tables, that provide plenty of space for standing and cheering on your favorite team during any sporting event. If the open and friendly atmosphere isn’t enough to make you want to stop by, the food and alcohol options will be sure to draw you in.
“We just recently changed our menu to offering a majority of Mexican food,” explained Rebekah McCormick, manager at Chumley’s. “However, what we are probably most known for is our 50 beers on tap.”
Along with its impressive list of beer on tap, Chumley’s has great deals throughout the week if you are looking for a cheaper option for your nightlife and bar scene experience downtown.
Come to Chumley’s any day of the week between 11 a.m. to 3:30 a.m..
Digby’s Pub and Patio is a great place to try if you’re looking for something informal with a modern space. One feature that separates Digby’s from the rest is its outdoor patio. This is a great space to get together with friends or to enjoy a nice breeze while drinking a handcrafted cocktail.
If you are looking for somewhere that focuses heavily on the local aspect, Digby’s is known for serving locally sourced beef, pork and seasonal produce from the Lafayette Farmers Market. Their local purchasing does not limit their menu options; they have many choices of salads, burgers, sandwiches, and even mac & cheese.
Open daily on 4th Street downtown Lafayette from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m., be sure to visit Digby’s website to stay up to date with the multiple events that are hosted weekly.
If you are still unsure of where to visit for your nightlife experience while in Lafayette, check out the Home of Purdue Blog to see a list of all the pubs and bars the area has to offer.
This blog was written by Emily Marsh, Purdue University Student.