Cheers-Oct 2016

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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Page 27 of 35 28 • October 2016 SCENE By Jack Robertiello It's often pointed out to trend observers that what catch- es fire in the largest cities may not play so well in the less-Gotham-sized burgs. Don't tell that to the folks behind the beverages at S;poke & Steele in Indianapolis, where craft, draft and barreled cocktails have made a splash since 2014. Located downtown in the Le Meridian hotel, Spoke & Steele is considered one of Indianapolis' leaders in the craft cocktail movement. It was recently named by Men's Journal magazine one of the 20 best hotel bars. Spoke & Steele is a big American whiskey operation, no surprise given its proximity to Kentucky. It's also locat- ed about 90 miles down the road from MGP, one of the country's largest distillers and where many of the hottest American whiskeys—notably Bulleit rye—are made. "We are very close to Kentucky and the bourbon trail, and since we are located in a hotel, people from all over the country come here," says bartender Justin Schroeder. And often, he notes, "they pull out their phones to show me their whiskey collection." One reason that Spoke & Steele we has such a strong whiskey focus "is that the majority of our team are into bourbon, rye and things like that," Schroeder says. "And a lot of our customers tend to be going in that direction as well, because there's such an eclectic number of them out there with their own different flavor profiles. It's such an interesting spirit." Whiskey flights include an all-Heaven Hill style selec- tion that Schroder likes as a showcase of various American whiskey styles: Larceny bourbon, Bernheim wheated bourbon, Rittenhouse rye and Mellow Corn whiskey. The bar also offers a High West flight including Double Rye, Bourye, Son of Bourye and Campfire, as well as a Del Maguey mezcal flight. NEW AMERICAN DECOR AND CUISINE Spoke & Steele's open and elegant dining space combines a rustic, mid-century aesthetic. There's also a sophisticated private room inspired by Indiana native Steve McQueen. (The Steele in Spoke & Steele refers to Indiana-born artist T.C. Steele.) The food menu includes a charcuterie board of the chef 's rotating house-made salami and sausage with spe- cialty cheeses, accoutrements and a baguette. The price ranges from $18 to $48 depending on the board. Small plates include "nugs," specialty meatloaf balls (three for $10) and house-made pickles ($12) served with smoked salmon mouse and local rye. For entrees, Spoke & Steele offers fare such as smoked Amish boneless half chicken ($25) with asparagus and fennel salad and bar- SPOKE & STEELE HONES ITS CRAFT INDIANAPOLIS HOTEL BAR SPECIALIZES IN AMERICAN WHISKEY INTERIOR SHOTS PHOTO CREDIT: STARWOOD HOTELS

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