The Sinking Ship

Bar, Eatery

4923 N College Ave
Indianapolis, Indiana, 46205-1131
United States

(317) 920-7999 | map

View: Place Reviews
Reviews: 6 | Ratings: 16 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of cratez
cratez from Canada (ON)

3.01/5  rDev -28.3%
vibe: 2.75 | quality: 3 | service: 2.75 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2.75

Visited with my wife on a recent trip to Indianapolis.

Had the following beers on tap:
Boulevard Pop-Up Session IPA (draft)
Scarlet Lane Dorian Espresso Stout (draft)

While the beers were very tasty, the food and service left a lot to be desired (waitress disappeared on us towards the end), and the divey sports bar vibe wasn’t our thing. Music was also louder than we prefer for conversation.

Our overall experience was below average, and we left this place for a second round at HopCat.

Feb 12, 2020
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NCSapiens from Indiana

4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.75

Great place to find craft beer. A bit overpriced. Hipster-punk vibe is fun. It’s a dingy, fun place to drink beer. Food is decent for a bar. Servers can be a bit aloof, but they’ll get your order out. Overall I recommend.

Oct 06, 2018
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mynie from Maryland

4.03/5  rDev -4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

This is a nice joint, located right across the street from Upland's Broad Ripple taproom and next door to a "Hot Sauce Tiki Bar," which is just as weird and stupid as you'd think it would be. They do comedy shows here (saw Kyle Kinane for free!) and it's one of a small handful of legit hockey bars in the state of Indiana.

I never thought to review the Sinking Ship, however, because it never occurred to me that it was a beer bar. Which doesn't make all that much sense, since they usually have about a dozen quality beers on tap and sometimes get in really good limited release stuff. But the vibe is primarily that of a nice neighborhood bar, not a beer bar.

Personally, I think that's a good thing. Not that I dislike the beer geek vibe you get at, say, Twenty Tap, but sometimes it's nice to hang out with people who talk about stuff other than beer.

The crowd is the kind of people who go to comedy shows at midnight on a Monday. This is not where you go if you think beer is just a sometimes food. Again, I like that quite a bit, but I don't know how broadly appealing that is, or how much of a destination this should be for people who are traveling specifically for craft beer.

So, to summarize: nice place. Not the area's premier beer destination, but a very good vibe with affordable drinks.

May 19, 2014
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tsauce2 from Indiana

4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

This place rules!!!! Great punk rock/alternative atmosphere, staff, beer selection, food, full service bar. Jukebox is awesome and this is one of the only places I know to watch hockey. Steak Frites are a great menu item, and beer is constantly rotating on tap. Fantastic bottle selection. Diverse clientel, from suits to punks. Employees are cool as $h!t.

Feb 10, 2013
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elalber from Indiana

4.73/5  rDev +12.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I love this place. It has tons of character in a punk rock sort of way. They only have eight taps but always have something unique and interesting on. (like a heavy English or a Belgian strong, even had the coney island blockhead on for awhile) Had the nachos with chili and quesadilla, both were awesome. Only reason for not giving an A+ is that I'm not a huge fan of the F-bomb and I feel the employees are pretty free with it, but if you don't care about that then you are golden. I also hear they have a pretty cool vintage movie night but I haven't checked it out yet.

Oct 04, 2012
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denimdemon from Indiana

3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

The Sinking Ship has become a staple of the Indianapolis "upscale dive" scene, a solid bar to drop in for a beer or burger after work or to spend a night out with friends. The atmosphere leans toward the 20/30-something "rock 'n' roll" set with tattoo-chic art, a decent jukebox (albeit touch-screen - but the "warning" sign telling patrons that the bartenders reserve the right to skip selections that suck is kind of great), and punk rock stickers behind the bar. Smoky but not so much as to feel like you've gotten black lung when you wake up the next morning, and maybe someday Indy will go the way of other cities with a smoking ban. Plenty of tables, relatively spacious room compared to how it would appear on the outside, and plenty of bar stools if you're not with a big party. Some evenings are busier than others, but when we stopped by last Saturday night (10ish) our party of 9 was able to grab a table immediately. You'll see a wide variety of folks here depending on when you stop by, ranging from neighborhood residents to hipsters. The bar is a nice addition to the area, being caddy corner to the Upland Tasting Room and next door to the upscale Recess restaurant.

I've visited the bar a couple times, the last being after an Indiana Ice game last weekend. The bar has 8 tap handles and a fridge full of bottles, the draft list focuses on locals and micro with Falls City being the lone "retro cheap beer" on tap (and always on tap at that). They also serve liquor if that's your thing. The couple times I've been the tap list has leaned a little heavy on hoppy beers, with choices like Alpha King and Flat12's Nunmoere Black IPA, but they've begun getting nice kegs from Cavalier (like Founders Imperial Stout) from time to time as well as doing tap takeover parties. I hear for their 1-year anniversary celebration there will be a special commemorative brew from Flat12 tapped...pretty cool. One thing I'm not fond of is the beers are served in Mason jars - but for "bigger" stuff (like the aforementioned FIS), proper glassware is used. The average pint price seemed to be in the $4-5 neighborhood with Falls City being cheaper, I think around $3.

The food menu is also solid and garners good reviews locally. I've only had appetizers when there (so far, at least). Had the Cajun corn fritters and thought they were pretty fantastic, really spicy and I could have probably torn through a lot more than they gave us. Our table mates had had one of the burgers before and said it was great. Definitely planning to go back sometime when I'm hungrier. The prices are reasonable, around $8-10 for a sandwich, apps weighing in from $4-8 or so. For "bar food," I'd say it's a little better than usual, and they often have an off-menu special here and there, and specials throughout the week (like half-off burgers on Mondays, $4 40 oz. on Tuesdays, etc.).

Service was fine for us though our waiter could have been a little more attentive/faster here and there. He was cool about splitting up checks and my glass was never empty for too long. He had an OK knowledge of beer and what was on, but I can't really hold bar staff to a world-class level of beer knowledge when the intention of the bar isn't to be a world-class beer bar. I'd be curious about table service on a busier night.

Definitely worth a stop if you're looking for an unpretentious bar that is equally likely to be blasting Slayer as it is Billy Joel. It will become a more frequent stop for us if and when Indy passes a smoking ban, though I'll not be a stranger either way. Will return sooner than later.

Jan 11, 2012
The Sinking Ship in Indianapolis, IN
Place rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 16 ratings