Pacers vs. Golden State Warriors
Indiana Pacers Basketball Tickets?
Opened: November 6, 1999
Capacity: 18,345 seats
Mascot: Boomer (Panther)
Dance Team: Pacemates
Draft Beer: $7.25
Hot Dog: $11.00 (footlong)
Bankers Life Fieldhouse
125 South Pennsylvania Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Arena Parking: $10.00
NBA Basketball Arena Review - Bankers Life Fieldhouse
The State of Indiana is a basketball mecca for fans of NCAA and pro basketball. Before the arrival of Peyton Manning, back when the Indianapolis Colts were a perennial laughing stock, basketball was king in Indianapolis and today it remains the dominant sport for the residents of this Midwestern roundball hub. In this area of the country, basketball is a religion. These fans are incredibly passionate about the sport, and that passion manifests itself on gameday as they come in droves to fill Bankers Life Stadium to support their hometown Indiana Pacers.
The downtown area of the city is extremely well suited to accommodate the needs of the typical sports fan. With ample parking and a large variety of restaurants, sports bars and night clubs, game nights are abuzz with activity for pre and post game celebrations all around Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The city is well lit and safe to walk through at night, so basketball fans can easily spend the evening pub crawling from place to place visiting a variety of high quality establishments as they prepare for gametime. These days, with the arrival of budding superstar Paul George, and a talented supporting cast that includes Roy Hibbert, David West, and Lance Stephenson, the Indiana Pacers have built a franchise that can be a significant factor come playoff time, and pro basketball fans in Indianapolis finally have a team they can rally behind.
Choosing the right mixture of local restaurants and sports bars to create the ultimate Indiana Pacers hometown experience is a unique challenge because there are so many top notch selections to pick from, so I would suggest planning to spend the weekend in the downtown area so you have enough time to hit several of these local hotspots.
I would start my weekend the night before the game with an evening out at the Rathskeller, an authentic German restaurant right in downtown Indianapolis. Billed as being reminiscent of both a quaint Bavarian Inn situated in the foothills of the Alps and a lively beer hall in Munich, the Rathskeller has all the atmosphere of Bavaria packed under a single roof. Built at the turn of the 20th century, the building is extremely spacious with oak lined dining halls and ornate old world German woodwork throughout the restaurant. Their menu features authentic German favorites from Jäegerschnitzel to Sauerbraten, as well as steak, seafood, chicken, pork and vegetarian entrees. The food is excellent and with plenty of imported draft beer on tap, I strongly suggest heading over to the Kellerbar after dinner for a few more pints. In the summer months, the Rathskeller opens their outdoor Biergarten featuring live entertainment. You can easily spend a full evening at the Rathskeller soaking in some true German culture and intermingling with locals.
Game day is another situation all together. I typically prefer to hop from bar to bar near the arena as I prepare myself for an evening of NBA action. The area around the arena is filled with all types of sports bars, so there’s definitely something for everyone. I also like to make sure I hit Harry and Izzy’s when I’m in town. St. Elmo Steak House, by reputation, is the best steak house in the area, but the locals will tell you that Harry and Izzy’s was opened by the same owner and serves the same quality of food at a better price. Be sure to try their shrimp cocktail, it’s their signature appetizer, and the cocktail sauce has a phenomenal kick to it.
After lunch at Harry and Izzy’s, I like to make the rounds around Georgia Street, making sure I hit the Wild Beaver Saloon (rustic, but comfortable, Tilted Kilt (a sort of Irish Pub-style Hooters), Claddagh Irish Pub (authentic Irish Pub), and finally settling in at Kilroy’s Bar and Grill for a pregame bite to eat. In addition to some very aggressively sized mixed drinks (it's like a liquor medley that you have to drink your way out of), the signature dish at Kilroy’s is their breadsticks. They’re packed with cheese and pepperoni, and make for a great starter before chowing down on a solid offering of pub-style food.
Gametime always comes quickly and these rabid fans know pack the building to support their hometown Indiana Pacers. The atmosphere inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse is electric with the Area 55 and G2 Zone sections (situated in the corners of the lower bowl) setting the tone for Pacers fans inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Fans seated in Area 55 are hand selected by Pacers Center, #55 Roy Hibbert, himself. These fans are expected to attend every home game and submit a new application each year to audition for one of these 55 seats. The G2 Zone is sponsored by Paul George and George Hill, who have teamed up with Gatorade to offer 36 pairs of fans with free tickets for the season. Fans sitting in these sections dress in costume, they're vocal, and they lead the charge when called upon to help inspire the hometown team. Tonight’s contest against the Golden State Warriors was a tough challenge for the hometown Pacers and their fans. After trailing for the entire game, a late fourth quarter charge put the Pacers right back into the thick of things, but in the end the game was lost as Paul George missed a 29-foot buzzer beater from outside the arc that would have won the game in dramatic fashion. The final score, Pacers 96, Warriors 98.
Post-game, or any night in Indianapolis for that matter, you’re gonna want to head over to the Slippery Noodle Inn for live blues and beer. The Slippery Noodle Inn is Indiana's oldest continually operated bar, dating back to 1850 when it was founded as the Tremont House. It served as a station on the Underground Railroad and was frequented by John Dillinger during the prohibition era. These days, the Slippery Noodle is home to live local, regional, and national Blues bands seven days a week. It's a great place to have a few beers, listen to live music, and cap off an incredible night in Indianapolis.
If listening to the blues is not your thing, I like Nicky Blaine’s for a post-game night cap as well. Nicky Blaine’s is a martini and cigar bar located right off of Monument Circle that’s setup like an old 1920’s era speakeasy. Aimed at attracting a more seasoned crowd, Nicky Blaine’s is well known for its selection of specialty martinis, a fully stocked scotch bar, and an extensive array of cigars. Head down the stairs of this basement bar for a respite from those cold winter nights to enjoy an evening of conversation and wine and cheese. Table lamps are dimmed as lounge chairs and couches form some great private areas to gather with friends and catch up. Patrons can puff on a selection of stogies and choose from a wide variety of specialty martini’s, as a great way to cap off a night in Indianapolis.