Everyone already knows that Indy is a pretty cool place to live. But then, there are some folks who want to make it even cooler and bring in Big City vibes with small rooms, metal straws, and old-school vinyl. David Hoover (son of Indy legend Martha Hoover) has decided we need more of the above with the opening of Bar One Fourteen, a luxe microbar and listening space (bringing your own records is welcomed) in Meridian Kessler next to Napolese. With limited hours and limited seats, this spot is quickly becoming the whispered-about destination for all the cool kids.
So, of course, I had to go.
My first surprise was opening the door on a bright, sunny day and instantly finding myself enclosed in darkness. I was expecting some stairs or hallway or really anything to prepare me for the mood lighting, but it was a very quick transition. My second surprise was the short menu. There are about six things total offered here, including just one option for dessert. If they have daily specials, I wasn’t told about them. Drinks are really the highlight and I was expecting a visit from my “personal bartender” or whatever it was I read about in another write-up, but was disappointed when our server just asked for our drink order without explaining any of the flavors, content, or specials. I went with the Mai Tai for the sole reason that it arrived in a gold pineapple glass. That was definitely the best part.
I split the chips and dip with a friend, since no table snacks were provided, and ordered the “Fancy AF” burger for my entree. No side came with the burger, so I was really happy for those chips! The burger arrived wrapped in foil and was wonderfully delicious.
But overall? When I think of “luxe,” I think of an amuse bouche or heavy knives that balance perfectly or a dedicated server who describes each item on the menu or a cleansing towelette or really anything to signal “You are in a nice place.” Not the case here. Our server walked over about twice, once to say “What do you want to drink?” and another to ask “What do you want to order?” As a foodie, I wanted to hear the explanations and inspiration behind the dishes to help make a decision, but received none of that until I specifically asked about the burger and received no additional information about any of the rest of the menu. My Mai Tai was delicious, but the menu just said the base was “rum,” not spiced rum or dark rum or any specifier, which doesn’t feel quite as stylish.
I really like what they’re going for here and I really, really want to love it. I think there’s definitely promise and with a few modifications and some more attention to detail, this place will be as packed as 16 seats can be and I’ll have to wait weeks for a reservation.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5