What’s that you say? You are undertaking the mythic journey of following your team to an away game against the Ball State Cardinals? Then you, my friend, are in for a treat. Do we have the pageantry of the Auburns and Alabamas? No. Do we have the coeds of the USCs and Arizona States? Unfortunately, no. Do we have the cultural explosion of a road game at Miami? Definitely not. You also don’t have excellent odds of ending up in a bathtub full of ice in a seedy motel missing a kidney. Life is all about trade offs.
So you’re venturing to Muncie and like any fan visiting a place for the first time, you head to the interwebs in search of a place to stay, some places to eat, what to expect, and what to do. And that, ladies and gents, is where your faithful team here at OTP comes into play. We’ve done the research and Lord knows drank and ate our way through Muncie so you don’t have to. Consider it a thank you gift in advance for the W your team gave us.
On today’s edition of the Visiting Fan’s Guide? The nightlife and entertainment of Muncie, Indiana.
Muncie, Indiana: A Drinking Town With a Football Problem
While I would love to sit here and regale you with tales of the cultural explosion in Muncie, Indiana while tossing out tons of cool little things to do around town that doesn’t involve a frosty beverage that simply isn’t the case. Perhaps it’s just my love for hops brewed deliciousness, but if you’re looking for Shakespeare in the Park or some sort of murder mystery dinner theater, you have come to the wrong place. What follows is OTP’s recommendations of some things to do and places to check out while you’re spending your time waiting for the game or after the game is over.
The Non-Drinking Options
I am clearly not the guy to ask about non-alcohol fueled fun or family entertainment. Seeing as I don’t have kids this clearly isn’t my repertoire. So, for the family options, let’s ask OTP’s family man… Edge. What say you, sir?
“If you’re into music, check out Doc’s, located downtown. They typically have bands on the weekends, and hey, you might see Edge. Got the kiddies? We have a Chuck E. Cheese. Beat my high score in Skeeball of 450,000 and win a prize!”
Skeeball and self promotion… that’s what Edge does. Truthfully, if you’re making this trip to Muncie with the kiddies, then you’ll want to check out things like Minnetrista, a great area for nature, gardens, and getting outdoors. Also to note for the kiddies, aside from Edge’s challenge at Chuck E Cheese, is the Muncie Children’s Museum. Granted, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum is one of the best in the country and only an hour or so away, but this will do in a pickle. There’s also movie theaters and the like for you to partake in, as well as the things in the basement of the student center like bowling, billiards, etc.
Honestly, and this isn’t me being cynical about a social life when you bring kiddies to a football game, but I would imagine that going to the game, walking around campus, then grabbing some dinner is the extent of the wild and crazy times when you’re with your family. However, maybe… just maybe… you’re making this trip solo or with a group of your friends. Nothing against skeeball and gardens, but you’re looking for more highballs and Hoegardens. Then read on… if you dare.
The Drinking Options
In the words of Uncle Jemimah, “Do you like drinkin’? Of course you do! Who the hell don’t?!” And you’re in luck with your stay in Funcie. There’s a little something for everyone to experience, whether you’re gunning for upscale classy to the lowest of the dive bars, and not surprisingly, Edge and I have tried just about all of them.
- Aforementioned by Edge as one of the finest Music locales in Muncie. Enjoy a frosty beverage and listen to some great tunes. And if you see a Dale Earnhardt Jr. look a like rocking some Pink Floyd or Phish, thank him for his Edge-riffic stat work here at OTP. Doc’s is located at 215 S. Walnut St.
- The Heorot
- Like domestic macro brews like Coors or Miller? Then do not even contemplate going in here. If you are a bit of a beer snob, then the Heorot is right up your alley. Says Edge, “Hundreds of micros and imports, and if you ask for Bud, you’re likely to get the sticky kind that comes in a baggie. You didn’t hear that from me though.” You can find the Heorot at 219 S. Walnut St.
- The Fickle Peach
- A good selection of beers, laid back atmosphere, live music often, and pool tables to boot make for an enjoyable experience. Be warned, the Fickle Peach doesn’t have a food menu, so don’t expect to satisfy your munchies. You can find them at 117 E. Charles St.
- The Village
- Scotty’s Brewhouse
- We already gave Scotty’s the OTP Seal of Approval in terms of the food, and the beer and wine selection and atmosphere at Scotty’s is just as good. Lots of televisions, occasional live music, friendly service and a relative douchebag free environment make Scotty’s seem like it isn’t located a hop skip and a jump off campus. Be warned that Scotty’s is beer and wine only. Located at 1700 W. University Ave.
- The Locker Room
- Previously mentioned in the food section as well, the Locker Room is sort of a one stop shop for decent food, beer, and liquor. It is considerably noticeable that this is indeed a college bar, so be prepared to feel like the old people as the youths stream in. Try a Cardinal Punch and thank us later. Find the Locker Room at 1813 W. University Ave.
- The Chug
- The Chug was closed when Edge and I were in school, but has since reopened. Looking for a uniquely college experience? Then hit this place up. Cheap drinks, not the cleanest place around, but they have beer pong tables, and really, what more could you ask for? The Chug is located at 409 N. Martin Ave.
- Dill Street Bar and Grill
- The cheap/dirty/”college” place that was open for Edge and I was always Dill Street Bar and Grill, and don’t let the last adjective mislead you. Dill Street may serve food, but I wouldn’t know. Dill Street was the place where most undergrads would end their weekend night and it was certainly the place to potentially find some companionship for the evening, you know, if drunk college kids are in your wheelhouse. Dill Street is located (appropriately) at 421 N. Dill St.
- Scotty’s Brewhouse
- Other Assorted Muncie Awesomeness
- Buffalo Wild Wings
- A chain, but an awesome one. Sports bar, wings, cold beer, and trivia. Really can’t be beat. Also located by the Muncie Mall should you need any last-minute pick ups or want to do some amazing people watching. You can get your wing on at 838 E. McGalliard Rd.
- Part bowling alley, part bar, all awesome. Clancy’s is another Muncie tradition and go late enough and you’ll hear live music in the lounge and cosmic bowling out on the lanes. Clancy’s is at 4805 N. Wheeling Ave.
- Big Shots
- Formerly Breakers pool room, apparently the new digs are a little classier, a little brighter, but hopefully all the same character as the last locale. It’s a pool hall. Do not expect fancy. Do not expect a ton of college kids. Expect Muncie townies in full force, and embrace it. Big Shots is located at 2130 N. White River Blvd.
- The End Zone
- Good priced cocktails, some students, mostly townies, great wings. Pool tables, televisions, and the like make this a good place to start the evening or stop in for a beer, but it isn’t a place I would recommend camping out at as Muncie has far better options to offer. The End Zone is located at 2430 W. Kilgore Ave.
- Mark III Tap Room
- Let it not be said that OTP is not accommodating to all of our readers no matter what their orientation. If you’re a member of the LGBT community and are looking for an accommodating place in Muncie, Mark III is your only option. No personal experience there, but the reviews online are fairly positive. Mark III is located at 107 E. Main St.
- Buffalo Wild Wings
The PostDrinking Rituals
Granted we did a post on food and restaurants in Muncie, but the grub enjoyed after a night out with your friends isn’t necessarily the high brow dining experience that a sit down type place provides. Occasionally, you reach that point where anything sounds good, and thankfully, the “anything” that you can get your hands on is pretty damn tasty. Make sure you take these culinary treasures out for a spin….
- Hot Dog Man
- “Hot Dog Man” or Carter as he is known around Ball State’s campus is one of the best loved and most revered Muncie traditions. I would say it would be harder to find a student who hadn’t cut class than a student who hasn’t had Carter’s hot dogs. He locates himself in The Village, conveniently serving those patrons of the campus bars that need themselves some foil wrapped deliciousness from his push cart. OTP’s recommendation: Chicago dogs or a Chili Cheese with mustard and onion. Can’t go wrong.
- Greek’s Pizzeria
- Greek’s was referenced in our Where to Eat section, and the pizza is just as good now. However, the nice thing is the walk up stand on the corner of University and Dill. Walk on up, get you a slice, and let that grease and pepperoni soak into your veins. OTP’s recommendation: Pepperoni. Only way to go.
- In hindsight, LaBamba’s more than the beer was responsible for the next day feeling of yuck coming out of my nether regions. However, and it is a gigantic Stephen A. Smith however, it tastes so damn good going down that it’s worth any explosive shits you may incur because of it. This is not high dollar mexican food. These are burritos or nachos that are loaded with tasty deliciousness that soak up whatever amount of firewater you have poured down your gullet. Their tag line is “Burritos as big as your head”, and it’s legit. Bamba’s used to be located in the Village but has since relocated out by the budget hotels. That may be a significant advantage for those of you staying out that way. OTP’s recommendation: Super Nachos with Steak. Cannot be beat. Ever.
The Morning After
There’s nothing better than some breakfast food or at bare minimum a good cup of coffee to get you through the morning after and ready yourself for some NFL goodness on Sunday or a drive back to wherever you may call home. Here’s OTP’s choices on where to hit up on the Sabbath for some fuel to get you moving again…
- The Sunshine Cafe
- A BSU tradition, Sunshine will rock your face off no matter when you go. Late at night, early in the morning, whenever. Personally, I think it’s the best option for a little hangover remedy. Some eggs, some bacon, a cup of joe and you’re on your feet again. You can find Sunshine at 3113 N. Oakwood, a short drive from really anywhere you may be staying.
- Eva’s Pancake House
- Located a short jaunt from the campus of Ball State, Eva’s serves up…well… pancakes and other breakfast awesomeness. You can find them at 1617 N. Wheeling, and should Sunshine be too packed for your tastes, this is a good breakfast alternative before you get on the road.
- The Blue Bottle Coffee Shop
- Formerly located in Ball State’s Village, Blue Bottle has since relocated to downtown Muncie. If you haven’t been able to check out the actual locale of Muncie proper, it may be nice to grab a coffee here and say you at least saw some of the downtown area. You can find Blue Bottle at 206 S. Walnut St.
So What to Do?
If I could plan some sort of dream Muncie weekend in terms of entertainment for someone unfamiliar with the area or venturing there for the first time, I would say the night could begin somewhere downtown. Stop into the Heorot for a beer just to experience it. Venture over to The Fickle Peach for a beverage. See who’s playing at Doc’s. From there, I might try to hit one of the local spots, either Clancy’s or Buffalo Wild Wings if my town didn’t have one. From there, cab it to the Village and enjoy your stay. Hit up the Locker Room and then to Scotty’s where you’ll need some snacks to compliment your vast amount of beer to this point. Hit up The Chug and Dill Street, but grab a Hot Dog Man hot dog on the way. On the way out of Dill as you figure out how to either get back to where you’re staying or to whomever’s place you may be staying at after Dill Street, grab a slice of Greek’s. If anyone is sober enough to drive and/or you’re heading back to your hotel stop by Bamba’s for a Super Nacho. Follow that plan and you’ll be laying in bed thanking OTP for one of the most fun nights of your life. Of course, the next morning you may be cursing us, but that’s not really our concern. Eat some Sunshine Cafe and thank us again.
So we’ve covered where to stay, where to eat, and where to drink. Coming up tomorrow on OTP, things to check out on campus of Ball State University and what to expect from your gameday experience. Buckle up.