New Orleans-inspired cocktail bar opening in Broad Ripple

A New Orleans-inspired cocktail bar called Thieves opens Friday at 915 Broad Ripple Ave.

The establishment occupies a 1,200-square-foot space that had housed Triton Tap since 2013. Triton, whose main operation is at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Lawrence, vacated the Broad Ripple site last fall.

Thieves’ owners are the husband-and-wife team of Kristen and Steve Abernathy, who live in Fishers.

Thieves will feature a variety of champagne cocktails and mules—lime juice and ginger beer with vodka or another liquor, served in a copper mug. It will also offer cocktails associated with the Big Easy, including Sazeracs, hurricanes and French 75s.

“Both my husband and I are huge New Orleans fans,” Kristen Abernathy said.

Kristen Abernathy has a background in information technology leadership. Steve Abernathy has a career in hospitality that includes both P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and time as a corporate trainer for the Texas Roadhouse restaurant chain.

The couple had long dreamed of opening a beachside bar in their retirement, Kristen Abernathy said, but after both were furloughed from their jobs because of the pandemic they decided to jump into bar ownership now.

“Things just kind of fell into place for us,” she said.

The pandemic and the restrictions on public gatherings that have arisen from it have hit bars especially hard. But Kristen Abernathy said she and her husband are taking the optimistic view of things.

“Our thought is, the way that the world is right now won’t last forever,” she said. “There’s just great opportunity, so we chose to look at it that way.”

The couple is also taking a financially conservative approach to the project. “We’re not hiring too many people, not spending too much money,” Kristen Abernathy said.

If the Broad Ripple operation succeeds, the Abernathys plan to expand to other sites.

“We want to take our concept downtown as well,” Kristen Abernathy said. “We feel it would fit very well along Mass Ave.”

Thieves isn’t the only start-up that sees opportunity even amidst the pandemic.

The owners of Square Cat Vinyl in Fountain Square, along with some additional business partners, plan to open a combination garden shop/herbalist center called Snakeroot Botanicals at 1052 Virginia Ave. The 2,000-square-foot shop is expected to open next month, right next door to Square Cat. The space was formerly occupied by copywriting firm Metonymy Media.

Snakeroot will open with a selection of indoor plants, medicinal herbs and teas and a selection of cannabidiol, or CBD, products from Indianapolis-based Heartland Hemp & Supply Co. Heartland Hemp & Supply, owned by Trevor Miller, has an ownership stake in Snakeroot as do Square Cat owners Patrick Burtch and Mike Angel; and Burtch’s wife, Laura Johns.

Burtch said Snakeroot will start out with limited operations, focusing on online sales and initially opening the store one or two days a week for drop-in customers. The hope, he said, is that by the time the spring gardening season arrives, the store will be able to safely increase its hours of operation.

At that time, the store will add outdoor plants along with gardening supplies such as wheelbarrows, rakes, shovels, soils and mulches.

“Our goal is really to sort of be a small-scale option for folks who live in the area who maybe don’t want to drive to one of the big-box stores,” Burtch said. Burtch said he and his wife had been tossing around the idea of someday opening a garden shop. The couple are avid gardeners who have given over most of their home’s yard to a garden with vegetables and native plants.

Opening a new store during a pandemic isn’t ideal, Burtch said, but the partners decided to move forward once the former Metonymy Media space became available. “It felt like too good of an opportunity that wasn’t going to present itself again, to get the space right next door,” Burtch said.

Also this week:

The Jazz Kitchen, 5377 N. College Ave., which closed temporarily this spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reopened on Monday. The venue has resumed its calendar of live shows and will operate at 50% capacity, with a floor plan that it has adjusted to allow for proper social distancing.

Rise’n Roll Bakery has leased retail space downtown in the Ardmore at 231 N. Pennsylvania St. The bakery, which has stores in Broad Ripple, Fishers, Avon and Greenwood, is one of two tenants announced for the apartment and retail building on New York Street between Delaware and Pennsylvania streets. The restaurant Shake Shack previously announced it intends to open in the Ardmore.

— A cigar lounge called The Smoke Pit has opened at 221 W. Main St., just east of Madison Avenue in downtown Greenwood. Opened in late September, it sells cigars, cigar accessories and humidors and expects to begin selling bourbons, whiskey and other alcoholic beverages once it secures its liquor license. The owner is Reid Storvick, a Marine Corps veteran and a firefighter with the Indianapolis Fire Department.

Round Table Recording Co. had its grand opening Saturday at 6345 Carrollton Ave. in Broad Ripple. The 5,000-square-foot facility has three recording studios. The business was cofounded by Travis “Kold Kut” Moore and Tim Walker, who teamed up with engineer/producer Corey Miller to launch the studio. IBJ first reported on Round Table’s plans in January.

Aroma Cafe, 5402 N. College Ave., had its grand opening on Oct. 25. The establishment sells coffee; chai; cannabidiol, or CBD, tea; smoothies; ice cream; milkshakes and desserts.

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10 thoughts on “New Orleans-inspired cocktail bar opening in Broad Ripple

  1. Thieves is going to be tough to make it in the age of COVID. I was there somewhat frequently when it was Triton and it is a tight, intimate space with no outdoor seating.

    1. You were there frequently and somehow missed the extremely large outside deck area with tons of seating?

    2. Yes Josh, I’m sure a lot of people will want to sit outside on that deck for the next 6 months.

    3. Josh are you really that dense or are you not from Indiana? November through April can be quite chilly here in Indianapolis. Stop being a drama queen.

    4. Yeah, I live here and i’ve sat on that very deck many, many, many times during that very time period and there were always other ppl sitting there, as well. I fully plan to do the same in the future, during that time period, for this new venture.

      You’re the one being dramatic by acting like the entire state goes into hibernation for 6 months every year.

    1. That’s how legends are made. Reminds me of a couple who started their restaurant after being laid off and went on be one of baddest that ever did it. Helped change a whole neighborhood…