DINING: Rebar Indy rehabs downtown dive near City-County Building

September 17, 2016
A $4 upgrade at Rebar adds coleslaw and a heavy basket of unique fries to the $10 Signature Burger. (IBJ photo/Eric Learned)

With a reputation for cheap beer and a population drawn largely from the City-County Building, The Legal Beagle was a downtown semi-staple—although not one often talked about as a dining destination.

Don’t let the past get in the way of stopping into the location’s latest incarnation, though. Rebar Indy (20 N. Delaware St., 685-5100) isn’t adventurous—and it’s not good for claustrophobics—but for those looking for a respectable place for a beer and a burger for lunch or an indulgence before or after a game (or a court hearing), it’s a viable option. Misjudge your bus time at the nearby Transit Center? Here’s a good spot to wait out the hour.

The Signature Burger ($10) doesn’t mess around. It’s a half-pound of Angus beef, blended in-house, with whipped chevre cheese, bacon jam, pickled yellow tomato and grilled red onion. Unlike some other places where it seems toppings are added just to stretch the menu with whatever is in the kitchen, the combination here actually works.

You can get a double for $14, but I wouldn’t dare conquer such a culinary beast without a cash prize. A single was plenty, especially since we’d already added a basket of fries and coleslaw (a $4 upgrade). These aren’t your ordinary bar fries but, instead, are what curly fries might be if they got too close to a radiation leak. These mutant—and very good—creations made us regret appetizing first with the Wisconsin Cheese Curds ($7), with beer-battered white cheddar, a house dill ranch dip and a bit too much salt.

A satisfying Caribbean Sloppy Joe ($8) had the remarkable ability to hold its filling within its bun—or perhaps I’m used to eating with sloppier dining partners. The house-made chips, on our visit, were lightly seasoned, golden brown and crunchy without seeming overcooked.

We opted to put our “we still have half a day of work to do” defenses down and try a pair of Rebar’s adult shakes. The Bourbon ($8) came with just enough bourbon flavor to earn its “adult” label without impairing work productivity the remainder of the day. And the quantity struck a good middle ground between stingy and overly generous. The Drunk Ape ($8), however, didn’t have the kick that its rum/caramel/banana combo would imply, although making these treats with Graeter’s ice cream certainly upgrades them.

Want something a little more typical of the atmosphere here? A self-pour tap system offers a rotating selection of 20 craft beers—think of it as an adult, multi-tap version of the Coke machines that make you wait too long while others decide if they want lime flavor in their vanilla Dr. Pepper. You can pour as much or as little as you like, which encourages sampling.

Of course, there’s also a full bar, including a large selection of bourbons and a real, live bartender for those who prefer their drink delivered the traditional way.•


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