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Tailgating tips for Colts fans on game day

San Diego Chargers v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Football season is nearly upon us, and with it, the thrill of being able to gather together with other Colts fans and cheer on the team. All across the state, Colts fans will come together on game day and fire up their grills, crack open some cold ones, and shout at their televisions about missed pass interference calls and how Quenton Nelson definitely didn’t hold that defensive lineman.

But what about those who make that trek to see the game at one of the best stadiums in the league? For those coming to Lucas Oil Stadium, a completely different experience awaits. Pre-gaming for a Colts kickoff from home allows one kind of invite-only community. When you join the tailgating experience outside of Lucas Oil Stadium, you’re taking part in something a lot bigger.

Tailgating is a unique experience and one that brings together Colts fans both new and old. Hoosier hospitality is a real thing, and if you’ve got a case of beer in hand and a blue and white jersey, there’s a strong possibility that you’d find yourself welcomed among any of the many tailgaters enjoying themselves in the lots along McCarty Street south of the stadium as well as on Georgia Street between Capitol and Meridian. It is worth it to have $40-50 in fives and ones on hand in order to be able to offer some to the grillmaster who feeds you. Chances are that they won’t take it, but the offer goes a long way.

Whether it is throwing some corn, listening to live music, tossing back a cold beer, or putting down a burger or a hot dog (or two), doing it in the shadow of the stadium with a rowdy group of hopelessly optimistic Colts fans is perhaps the best and most fulfilling way to give yourself the fully realized game day experience.

If meeting new people isn’t quite your thing, you and your friends can always head to one of the many pubs in the area to get your drinks and food as you warm up for the game. The Slippery Noodle, Whistle Stop Inn, and Kilroy’s are fan favorites and all are within walking distance to the stadium. The Slippery Noodle opens early on game days and every television in the house will have the game, so even if you can’t afford to go to the game, but still want to be among your fellow Colts fans to watch it, you can do it there. Kilroy’s has killer stuffed breadsticks, a great atmosphere, and will be packed with Colts fans on game day. The Whistle Stop Inn is a neat little dive bar and the staff there are great.

If you’re from out of town, you may want to make a pit stop at the famed St. Elmo’s Steak House to sample their world class shrimp cocktail. St. Elmo’s is an institution in Indianapolis, and well worth a stop if you haven’t been. Just about every media figure and many in football rave about it any time they are in town. In fact, it was so well liked by Peyton Manning, that he had his own private space there. Make sure if you do plan to go that you make a reservation, as it can fill up quickly!

There are tons of other great restaurants and bars in walking distance of the stadium, so if you’re looking for just a place to eat, you can almost certainly find it, either before or after games. While many fans will pour out of the stadium and do their best to get out of the downtown area quickly after the game is over, there are certainly reasons to stick around. You might even catch a Colts player hitting their favorite spot for a meal after a big game, like this guy did.

There are a ton of ways you can pre-game for the Colts football. However you choose to do it, there is no doubt that it will be just a little bit sweeter this season, after an entire season away. Real football is almost here, and there is a lot to be excited about. Go Colts!