Memorial Day weekend started early for me when I met my friend Julie on Thursday evening at Bourbon Street Distillery, a well-kept secret, a real downtown gem. Far from the usual haunts like Mass Ave or Fountain Square, Bourbon St. is just west of Capital Ave and splits Indiana Ave and Senate. A traditional flat-iron building in the Indiana Ave. Jazz district, it serves a mix of traditional and Cajun fare including a wide selection of Po’boys and awesome oysters on the half shell. My favorite? The chicken strips: fresh breast meat chicken hand-dipped in their homemade breading then deep-fried to a golden brown, crispy and crunchy -served with honey mustard dipping sauce. Phenomenal!
Every third Thursday during the summer months, Serenade Jazz Orchestra takes over the corner of the sidewalk out front of Bourbon St. between 6pm and 9pm. People who live in the area have caught wind of the band’s regular schedule and turn out for dinner to the sound of big band tunes played by a host of trumpets, trombones and saxophones. Listen to Serenade Jazz Orchestra teaser here.
Serenade jazz band was formed by Rick Oldham, owner of Musicians Repair Shop, a music shop and instrument rental and repair, formerly owned by his father. Located at 400 N. Capital, the music store has been doing business since 1948 and has hung on to its customers despite many other downtown store fronts folding up around them.
So the secret’s out. Head over to Bourbon Street, 3rd Thursday of the month, or any time for that matter. For fabulous food and a fun-filled atmosphere in the middle of downtown Indy. Whether you’re sitting streetside or on the balcony where summer breezes blow, the sound of big band music floating on the summer air is a jump back in time kind of experience, so check it out. Jazz still rules on the Avenue.