The 2022 NFL regular season is nearly here, which means Colts fans will soon take over downtown Indianapolis. For those who will be watching from home, it will be time to fire up grills, crack open cold ones, and prepare to scream at their televisions as Matt Ryan ushers in a new era for the fifth time in five years.
For those visiting Lucas Oil Stadium, pre-gaming takes on a whole different personality. While “the Luke” is over 10 years old, it regularly earns honors as one of the top NFL stadiums in the country, despite the fact that newer stadiums have been constructed and opened since its construction.
Tailgating 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’ll get a warm welcome as you walk through parking lots along McCarty Street south of the stadium, or as you travel down Georgia Street between Capitol and Meridian. It is probably a good idea to keep a small wad of cash on hand to donate to one of many grillmasters you’ll find along the way. Chances are that they won’t take it, but it’s always nice to offer.
You’ll see plenty of cornhole boards, get the chance to catch live music, and will often get to keep an eye on pregame commentary or fantasy football advice as you pass by the occasional television screen. Doing all of this in the shadow of the stadium with the rowdiest of Colts fanatics is arguably the most fulfilling way to experience the game.
If meeting new people isn’t your thing, there are plenty of pubs to hit up with your family or friends. The Slippery Noodle, Whistle Stop Inn, and Kilroy’s are fan favorites, all within walking distance of 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, you can be surrounded by Colts fans as you watch. Kilroy’s has killer stuffed breadsticks, a great atmosphere, and is always packed when fans are downtown for any sporting event. The Whistle Stop Inn is a nice little dive bar, and the staff there is 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 within 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.
There are many ways you can pre-game for the Colts football; however, you choose to do it. Real football is almost here, and there is much to be excited about. Go Colts!