The long-time owner of one of downtown’s most well-known establishments, the Slippery Noodle Inn, has died, the bar announced Thursday morning.
Hal Yeagy Jr. had owned the bar and blues venue since 1985. He was 63.
The Slippery Noodle announced Yeagy’s passing in a Facebook post. Referring to him both by name and by nickname, the bar wrote, in part, “The Head Noodle will be missed by all and we hope you join us in celebrating the legacy he leaves behind. On behalf of the blues community, decades of patrons and staff, his friends and his family we thank Hal for the music and countless memories.”
The announcement does not say when or how Yeagy died.
Located at the corner of Meridian and South streets near Lucas Oil Stadium, The Slippery Noodle has operated under various names since its opening as the Tremont House in 1850. The business is widely known as the state’s oldest continuously operating bar.
According to the Slippery Noodle’s web site, the establishment served as a station for the Underground Railroad which helped slaves make their way to freedom in the 19th century. During Prohibition, the bank robber John Dillinger and his gang used a building at the rear of the property for target practice, leaving bullets that are still embedded in the wall.
Many well-known musicians have played at the establishment over the years, including Albert Collins, Buddy Miles, Edgar Winter, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and many others. The bar has also seen a long list of celebrity visitors including Dan Aykroyd, Harrison Ford, Danica Patrick, The Blues Brothers Band, Billy Joel, Joe Montana, Neil Diamond, Robert DeNiro, Liza Minnelli, Ernest Borgnine and others.
Yeagy’s parents, Harold and Lorean Yeagy, bought the business in 1963, changing its name to the Slippery Noodle Inn. Hal Yeagy Jr. took over after his father’s death and built its reputation as a renowned spot for blues music.
Yeagy reflected on his family’s nearly 50-year tenure running the blues bastion as part of IBJ’s Inside Dish series. The video interview can be viewed here.
The establishment, which was forced to close during the COVID-19 shutdowns this spring, reopened Aug. 20 for lunch, dinner and live music.
On the Facebook post, The Slippery Noodle said that in Yeagy’s honor, patrons should “drink a cold Budweiser and consider a donation to any of his favorite charities, the American Cancer Society or the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. We’ll keep the music playing for him.”