The party that’s captivated downtown Indianapolis for much of the past week kept going strong even after Super Bowl kickoff.
While the crowd may have been smaller than the turnout on Friday and Saturday evenings, it was still considerable during game time.
A few blocks north of Lucas Oil Stadium, where the Super Bowl Village drew tens of thousands of fans each night, several restaurants and bars had waiting lines stretching out their front doors.
For many who couldn’t go to the game, the next best thing was watching it from nearby.
“People want to be part of the action,” said Jason Stellema, owner of Tiki Bob’s on South Meridian Street. “This is like a three-day weekend. People hit it pretty hard.”
Stellema said business through the week leading up to Sunday Bowl Sunday was steady but not quite what he expected, due to the unseasonal weather that kept a lot of people outside on the streets.
But he expected traffic during and after the game to be heavy, since the bar is “three blocks away from 70,000 people.”
The Red Garter Gentleman’s Club & Cigar Lounge on South Illinois Street is even closer—just a mere block east of the stadium.
Business had “mellowed out” a bit at game time, said Jon Thompson, who works the door and provides security at the club. But lines had been out the door during the past week and should be again once the game ends, he said.
The Red Garter stays open until 5 a.m. and serves alcohol until 3 a.m.
At the city’s oldest and perhaps most famous watering hole, the Slippery Noodle Inn, a steady stream of patrons gladly paid a $10 cover charge to get into the bar during the game.
“Tonight is really good,” General Manager Marty Bacon said. “It was a happy surprise for us.”
That’s because the week leading up to the game started off slowly; business began to increase on Thursday.
Tami Maslyk did well, too. She operated the Neighborhood Pizza truck parked on Monument Circle along with several other food vendors Sunday. She was parked on the street from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., when she left to make way for another shift of food trucks. Only nine are allowed on the Circle at a time during Super Bowl festivities.
She ran out of black olives long before her departure time, but kept peddling plenty of pizza.
Maslyk credited the weather with helping to drive business above her expectations.
“It’s so easy to get a slice of pizza when it’s nice outside,” she said.
While parts of the downtown bar and restaurant sector seemed to be flourishing, the secondary market for game tickets evidently was not.
Two ticket scalpers walking the streets near the stadium complained that lower-than-expected prices were driving down profits.
One of them, who identified himself only as Julian, said he had been in Indianapolis since Thursday trying to unload eight tickets. About 30 minutes before game time, he had just one remaining.
But the problem, he said, was that they were selling for between $1,300 and $2,200, far below the $4,000 to $5,000 he’s gotten at other Super Bowl games.
"This is a real cheap Super Bowl," he lamented.