DINING: Bar or restaurant, Drake's serves up fun menu choices

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Dining - A&E

New Clearwater Crossing venue Drake’s straddles the increasingly blurry line between restaurant and bar, beckoning patrons with the promise of fun. “Come play,” its tag line implores. Its ambitious menu, meanwhile, hints at more.

Drake’s (3740 E. 82nd St., 436-7531) opened last month, the first Indiana outpost for Kentucky-based Bluegrass Hospitality Group. Billed as a hybrid restaurant-bar-dance club, it features an impressive array of craft beers—available in 60-, 90- and 120-ounce “table taps”—darts, shuffleboard, a DJ booth and dozens of flat-screen TVs.

ae-drakes04-15col.jpg Mini cheeseburgers ($7.49, plus $1 for bacon) are among the more traditional options at Drake’s. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Sounds like a bar, but there’s nary a chicken wing in sight.

In addition to the expected nachos, burgers and salads, Drake’s offers up some surprises. Among the attention-getters: a grilled cheese sandwich with shrimp, fried bologna served club-sammy style, and sushi. Yep, as in seaweed and rice and fish.

Drake’s separate sushi menu is expansive, if heavy on sushi-for-the-masses options filled with cream cheese and smothered in sauce. We tried the Fantasy Roll ($8.95), which topped a tuna-and-avocado combo with shredded crab meat and spicy mayo, and the Soft Shell Crab Roll ($10.75), a fried concoction topped with a sweet teriyaki/chili sauce.

The Fantasy’s spicy mayo provided a blast of flavor that, although tasty, overwhelmed the more subtle tuna and crab meat. The battered soft-shell crab, meanwhile, tasted like it came from a kitchen that also produces French fries and tater tots. With good reason.

Our Grilled Cheese & Shrimp sandwich ($8.99 with fries or tots) was more successful. Drake’s doesn’t skimp on the shrimp, adding welcome texture—and flavor—to a childhood favorite. Tomato and bacon also dress up the white bread and smoky cheddar. And I’m pretty sure I could eat my shoe if I had enough of the delicious remoulade sauce served on the side.

We couldn’t resist the Fried B-O-L-O-G-N-A ($6.99 with fries or tots), a towering double-decker featuring thick-cut slices of the signature ingredient with lettuce, tomato, mayo and … Swiss cheese? Undoubtedly an effort to class up the otherwise-pedestrian sandwich, it nevertheless seemed like an odd choice. Call me old-fashioned, but I think bologna on white bread calls for good old processed American cheese food.

Despite its ambitions to be more, Drake’s felt very much like a bar—not that there’s anything wrong with that. The atmosphere was lively, the service friendly, the beer cold. That’s enough for me.•


Third in a month-long look at Clearwater-area restaurants.


  • We were misled
    We were excited to try Drakes. We even called to make sure it was "kid friendly." They assured us it was a resteraunt first and a bar.. Mind you, we love a good bar atmosphere and our kids can handle it. But when we arrived, we were informed there is no hostess and you just grab a table when one becomes available. Well with very limited areas for kids, it almost forced you to go hover over tables trying to get people to move. We waited for just a few minutes and left. We were excited to give it a try, but obviously you really can't take kids when it is busy.

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Aaron is my fav!

  2. Let's see... $25M construction cost, they get $7.5M back from federal taxpayers, they're exempt from business property tax and use tax so that's about $2.5M PER YEAR they don't have to pay, permitting fees are cut in half for such projects, IPL will give them $4K under an incentive program, and under IPL's VFIT they'll be selling the power to IPL at 20 cents / kwh, nearly triple what a gas plant gets, about $6M / year for the 150-acre combined farms, and all of which is passed on to IPL customers. No jobs will be created either other than an handful of installers for a few weeks. Now here's the fun part...the panels (from CHINA) only cost about $5M on Alibaba, so where's the rest of the $25M going? Are they marking up the price to drive up the federal rebate? Indy Airport Solar Partners II LLC is owned by local firms Johnson-Melloh Solutions and Telemon Corp. They'll gross $6M / year in triple-rate power revenue, get another $12M next year from taxpayers for this new farm, on top of the $12M they got from taxpayers this year for the first farm, and have only laid out about $10-12M in materials plus installation labor for both farms combined, and $500K / year in annual land lease for both farms (est.). Over 15 years, that's over $70M net profit on a $12M investment, all from our wallets. What a boondoggle. It's time to wise up and give Thorium Energy your serious consideration. See http://energyfromthorium.com to learn more.

  3. Markus, I don't think a $2 Billion dollar surplus qualifies as saying we are out of money. Privatization does work. The government should only do what private industry can't or won't. What is proven is that any time the government tries to do something it costs more, comes in late and usually is lower quality.

  4. Some of the licenses that were added during Daniels' administration, such as requiring waiter/waitresses to be licensed to serve alcohol, are simply a way to generate revenue. At $35/server every 3 years, the state is generating millions of dollars on the backs of people who really need/want to work.

  5. I always giggle when I read comments from people complaining that a market is "too saturated" with one thing or another. What does that even mean? If someone is able to open and sustain a new business, whether you think there is room enough for them or not, more power to them. Personally, I love visiting as many of the new local breweries as possible. You do realize that most of these establishments include a dining component and therefore are pretty similar to restaurants, right? When was the last time I heard someone say "You know, I think we have too many locally owned restaurants"? Um, never...