District Tap gets needed approval to open downtown site

The District Tap is proceeding with plans to open a location at 141 S. Meridian St. in downtown Indianapolis after receiving approval to add a patio door on Georgia Street.

IBJ first reported the District Tap’s plans last month. At that time, the project was on hold while the bar and restaurant sought approval to add a door linking the interior with a patio along Georgia Street. 

Owners now hope to open the new location by the end of June.

The city granted approval Wednesday in the form of a certificate of appropriateness, according to public records. With the approval in hand, the project is moving forward, said Michael Cranfill, a real estate broker who owns the District Tap with partner Bob Kort. 

Cranfill, who also owns the recently opened Cholita Taqueria and TikiTiki Lounge in Broad Ripple, anticipates investing $2 million to renovate the South Meridian space.

“We look forward to being part of the Georgia Street corridor and all of the events that come from that,” Cranfill told IBJ.

Without the new door, the only way to access the patio is from outside the restaurant space. That would have required servers and patrons to use the Meridian Street entrance to get to the patio.

In addition to the door, the District Tap’s plan is to remove the existing windows along Georgia Street and replace them with floor-to-ceiling accordion-style window panels that open to create access between the restaurant and the patio. 

In removing the windows, workers will also have to remove portions of an architectural detail— the band of limestone that runs underneath the windows of the brick building. As a condition of approval, the city is requiring the business to save the limestone panels and store them on site, Cranfill said.

Workers are now stripping the interior, which until December was home to Broken English Taco Pub. 

“We’re taking it down to the studs and replacing everything that’s in there,” Cranfill said.

The 7,500-square-foot space will include seating for about 240 to 250 patrons, a private party room with space for 38 to 40, an island bar and a game room featuring darts and shuffleboard. 

The Meridian Street location will be a smaller version of the District Tap’s existing site at 3720 E. 82nd St., which opened in 2014 and serves a variety of local and regional craft beers along with a full menu of entrees, burgers, sandwiches, salads, sides and desserts.

Prior to Broken English, the downtown space housed Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery; and before that, a Jillian’s. 

The six-story building, which also houses logistics company Spot Freight, piano bar Howl at the Moon and condos, was built in 1911-1912. It was designed by architects Bernard Vonnegut and Arthur Bohn and originally housed Hibben, Hollweg & Co., which at the time was the city’s largest wholesale dry-goods firm.

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