The Knickerbocker Saloon: An Old School Bar in a New Town

The Knickerbocker Bar West Lafayette

As I sat at a heavy walnut bar surrounded by mirrors that illuminated the impressive liquor display, it was hard for me not to feel like a character out of a Fitzgerald novel. The Knickerbocker Saloon, located at 113 N. Fifth St. in downtown Lafayette, is Indiana’s oldest bar, with an equally impressive legacy. Though the Knickerbocker Saloon has hundreds of tiny details that are worth exploring, listed below are the five most notable.

A prohibition liquor plaque displayed at the Knickerbocker Saloon in Lafayette, Indiana

Calling my History Buffs

Receiving its liquor license in 1835, the Knickerbocker Saloon is the oldest bar in Indiana! Throughout the bar’s history, it has been visited by such notables as Neil Armstrong, Ulysses S. Grant and John Purdue. Featured on the walls by the bathroom are two plaques; one commemorating the Knickerbocker’s 175th anniversary in 2010, and the other displays a certificate for the prohibition of liquor in 1922!

A Zombie Dust beer at the Knickerbocker Saloon in Lafayette, Indiana.

99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

Though they don’t serve 99 different types of beers, the general manager, Deborah Walstra, informed me that they carry 80 to 84 brands of beer at a given time, rotating with the seasons. Sorry to disappoint tap lovers, but they only carry bottled beers, which was a quirky surprise. I tried a Zombie Dust beer, which is a powerfully hopped pale ale that had a great, refreshing flavor and a unique package design. Walstra also mentioned that the Knickerbocker hosts a free beer school on the first and third Monday of every month, in which different breweries offer information and samplings of their products (no sign-up necessary). To support local businesses, the Knickerbocker also carries beer from local breweries in Lafayette, making sure everyone can sample the best that Indiana has to offer.

A caramel apple martini at the Knickerbocker Saloon in Lafayette, Indiana.

Martinis Galore

My interview at the Knickerbocker took place on a Wednesday, which just so happens to be martini night (coincidence- I think not). From the classic martini to an equally impressive “flirtini,” the Knickerbocker offers any type of martini you can dream of (and even some that would never cross your mind). I sampled a caramel apple martini, which was made with a smooth caramel vodka base and tasted like I was biting into an taffy apple: needless to say, I was in love. Walstra said that she encourages her staff to experiment with different martini flavors, creating a new concoction almost every night (truly an impressive feat).

Entertainment room at the Knickerbocker Saloon in Lafayette, Indiana.

Not the Taj Mahal, but….

With a history dating from 1835, the Knickerbocker was bound to have some awesome architectural features. What struck me first was the beautiful bar. Constructed from walnut with a cherry veneer, it exudes a 1920s feel. I also loved the high, tin ceilings, which added to the “old money” ambiance. Because of the stunning architectural features, the Knickerbocker hosts many business and wedding receptions.

Live entertainment offered at the Knickerbocker Saloon.

Live Entertainment

Perhaps the most attractive feature of the Knickerbocker Saloon is the live entertainment. On Monday the bar features karaoke. Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, live piano music entertains. Every Friday a unique artist is featured from People’s Live (a local brewery that supports regional musicians), and on Saturday live music is offered! In the extended green room, a stage is set up to make accommodating artists and large groups a breeze.

Open every day from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m., the Knickerbocker is sure to dazzle you with its impressive history and diverse drink menu. For more information about the bar visit its Facebook or call (765) 423-2234. For more information about local bars in Lafayette/West Lafayette be sure to check out the Home of Purdue Blog.

Sarah Staatz, Purdue University Student, shares this blog.

Weekend Update: Winter Wolves & Cinderella

Lafayette-West Lafayette Weekend Update! Looking for a fun Indiana weekend getaway? Or do you live in this area and are looking for entertainment close by? Check out the endless possibilities for fun events happening this upcoming weekend in or near Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana.

Winter Wolves is back at Wolf Park this January 12, 2019! Join everyone for a day of fun as the wolves explore and are in their glorious full winter coats! Hot drinks are available indoors so that visitors can warm up in between activities, which often include talks on how animals survive the winter, outdoor games and sometimes a demonstration of how Wolf Park cuts up road kill deer to feed to the wolves. Winter is a great time to see the wolves, since they love the cold and tend to be active and howling all day long, unlike those long hot summer afternoons which they spend napping. When the pond is frozen over, the wolves skate and play on the ice. Winter Wolves is a great time for families to come visit — there is something for everyone.

Guess what Disney classic is taking place at Purdue Convocations this Saturday, January 12? CINDERELLA is the Tony Award®- winning Broadway musical from the creators of The Sound of Music and South Pacific that’s delighting audiences with its contemporary take on the classic tale. Bring the family to enjoy this wonderful production and enjoy an evening of merriment!

For more information about these events and other events happening this weekend in Lafayette-West Lafayette, check out our website at HomeOfPurdue.com.

Hunter’s Pub Celebrates 20 Years

Chicken quesadilla platter.

20 years of amazing food, excellent service, and fabulous fun; Hunter’s Pub in West Lafayette is celebrating its 20th birthday this year! Looking for a great place to hang out with friends and watch our Purdue Boilermaker sports teams take on their competitors? Hunter’s Pub has TV’s galore that are playing the best games and are placed all around the restaurant offering great views for all.

Hunter’s Pub offers true pub classics. Nachos, potato skins, jalapeno poppers, wings, mozzarella sticks and more are the perfect munchie while watching your favorite sports teams. We can attest the mozzarella sticks are filled with stringy mozzarella cheese and a fresh marinara sauce. They have a combo plate that includes the ultimate mix of cheese curds, hand-breaded zucchini, breaded mushrooms, cream cheese poppers, and onion rings. YUMMY! Perfect for sharing for a group of friends.

Their menu is diverse with burgers, steaks, ribs, wraps, salads, pasta, seafood, etc. One of my favorite meals is their chicken quesadilla platter. It is a tortilla filled with cheddar, fresh pico de gallo and chicken and is served with rice and refried beans, sour cream and fire roasted salsa. The chicken is juicy, the tortilla is perfectly crisp, and their fire roasted salsa is spicy, which I love! I also love their refried beans that are seasoned with Mexican spices and loaded with cheese.

One of my co-workers, Ashley, is a huge fan of their taco salad and enjoyed the atmosphere.  She shares, “The taco salad had an excellent crispy yet flaky shell with a good portion of meat and vegetables in the shell. The salsa was a bit spicy for my liking but had a great flavor. I opted for ranch dressing instead of using the salsa though. I loved the setting, seemed like a friendly neighborhood bar.”

Taco Salad

Recently, we went to lunch here in the middle of the week and it was packed by noon.  We recommend getting there early, as it definitely is a neighborhood favorite!  Also, please note this bar is 21 and older.

Visit Hunter’s Pub and join in the 20-year celebration!  For more information about this restaurant and others in Lafayette-West Lafayette, visit HomeOfPurdue.com.

Nami’s Bar & Grill Exemplifies Great Flavors

Happening Now!  Planning a stay in Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana, area? Whether you are looking for delicious dining, interesting attractions and shops, enticing events or home away from home lodging—a getaway to Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana, is sure to satisfy. Right now the talk around town is about one fabulous, new restaurant, Nami’s Bar & Grill, that just opened in the heart of our downtown. Serving American fare and also “pop up” sushi during lunch hours, this new dining experience is sure to satisfy! Nami’s also offers handcrafted classic and original cocktails and select craft beers!

Our staff loves to try out new restaurants and we were so excited to explore the flavors and enjoy the ambiance of Nami’s. When we arrived, we were greeted by a friendly hostess who led us to our table that overlooked our lovely courthouse. We had the perfect seats in the house to enjoy the outdoor beauty as well as the beautiful bar in the center of the restaurant. The tall ceilings and artwork along the walls create a comfortable and warm place to visit.

Now onto the food, (the best part!). I ordered the chicken sandwich with French fries and their special soup of the day, loaded potato soup. The soup was amazing! It had cut up red potatoes perfectly cooked within it as well as tons of bacon and cheese. It was one of the best potato soups I have ever eaten. My chicken sandwich was also amazing! Truthfully, I get nervous ordering chicken as so many times it is dry. This sandwich was the opposite of dry as the chicken was so juicy and flavorful. I added sharp cheddar cheese which added fabulous flavor as well. I can be picky with my bun, and it was fresh and light. The fries were large hand-cut potatoes sprinkled with salt and very tasty as well. I don’t think I have had a fry quite like it and it was great. I recommend their homemade ranch dressing to dip the fries or really anything in.  FABULOUS!!!

Lisa, our Vice-President shares, “I love a good burger and was not disappointed by the Reserve Burger at Nami’s.  This beef burger was yummy and cooked perfectly to my taste. I chose the house made fries over the house chips. The fries were thick potatoes wedges with a mild seasoning and were amazing. I love a good martini and am looking forward to going back to try a martini when off the office clock! They are doing $6 martini nights on Thursdays.”

“The Asian Salad was presented so beautifully! It was a very large salad, I couldn’t eat it all,” shares Ashley, VLWL Director of Sales. “Good mix of flavors and textures from crispy cabbage, creamy avocado, sweet mandarin oranges, crispy noodles, sesame seeds and grilled shrimp. The soy ginger dressing was excellent, with a bit of a kick. It was a bit spicy for me with my mouth burning for a bit when done, but I still really enjoyed it. I’d recommend getting the dressing on the side though, so you can use as much or as little as you like.”

We are all excited to head back to Nami’s and take our spouses out to dinner. Their dinner menu includes filet, crab cakes, lobster tail, pastas and more. If their dinner is even half as good as their lunch, it will be a wonderful dining experience!

Make sure to add Nami’s Bar & Grill to your next dining out adventure. You will be delighted!!

Oh and did we mention they have fabulous desserts?! Caramel salted cheesecake!

For more information about this restaurant and others in Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana, check out our website at HomeOfPurdue.com.

Fabulously Fun Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Call me crazy, but I love the cold weather. The chilly weather means the holidays are coming, and one of my favorite parts of the holidays is shopping for little stocking stuffers.

Thankfully, Lafayette-West Lafayette is home to several local shops full of unique stocking stuffers for every type of person.

For the Fashionista

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Just a few of the bold socks you can pick up from Juniper.

Juniper is a great place to shop for those who’d love a little fashion in their stocking. Located in the Wabash Landing Shopping Center, the boutique offers trendy pieces for an affordable price. I recommend checking out their patterned scrunchies. Scrunchies are super popular this year, and Juniper’s are covered in pretty patterns and colors. I also really love their fun socks. They have a ton of options to choose from, so you are sure to find a pair that matches everyone’s personality. What’s the best part? Both of these items will fit perfectly into your budget and a trendsetter’s stocking.

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Scrunchies at Juniper.
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Von’s has a wide selection of comic books!

For the Bookworm

Von’s Book Shop is so much more than a book shop. Their shelves are full of small gifts like beaded necklaces, mix-and-match stick incense, fun-shaped sunglasses, and tie dye headbands.  They also have a huge comic book section. You could check out the first edition of “Stranger Things” or something more classic like “Wonder Woman.” Comic books are great stocking stuffers for those who love superheroes (and villains), action-packed graphics, and adventure.

Main Street Books is another local shop that offers a wide selection of titles, both new and used, to choose from. Their selection is mainly made up of fiction, but they do have a small selection of non-fiction as well. The staff is friendly and always willing to help pick out that perfect book.

For the Sweet Tooth

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Assortment of chocolate at Kathy’s Kandies.

Kathy’s Kandies is locally owned and full of fresh, homemade sweets located right on Main Street. Chocolate-covered pretzels, chocolate-covered cherries, truffles, peanut butter cups, and Oreo bark are just a few of the chocolate confections available at Kathy’s Kandies. Kathy’s Kandies also offers gummies, licorice, and gourmet popcorn that comes in a variety of different flavors. I recommend buying a different kind of popcorn for each stocking. This gives you the perfect excuse to snag a little popcorn from everyone on Christmas morning.

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Just a few popcorn options at Kathy’s Kandies.

McCord Candies is another candy store located on Main Street. Each year, McCord Candies produces handmade candy canes to sell during the holiday season (they also offer candy cane tours for visitors to see the candy cane making process). Since the candy canes don’t contain any preservatives, their texture is unique and completely different than the candy canes you would buy at a grocery store.

For the Purdue Fanatic

These decals can be used on several surfaces.

Follett’s Purdue Bookstore is generally regarded as a textbook store, but it is also great place to shop for Purdue apparel and accessories. They have a number of small gifts ranging from coasters to Purdue golf balls. Follett’s also carries decals for moms, dads, alumni, and current students. They are both movable and reusable, so you won’t have to worry about sticking it on straight in one try.

The Purdue Team Store has several categories to choose from like tailgate accessories, car accessories, and kitchenware. You can find bottle opener keychains, wine glasses, and license plate frames with the Purdue logo. There are also two shopping locations, Purdue Memorial Union and Ross-Ade Stadium, to choose from.

The Purdue Team Store in the Union.

No matter who you are shopping for, the local shops have you covered. For more information on these local shops or other shops in the Lafayette-West Lafayette area, visit HomeofPurdue.com

This blog was written by Kirsten Rhine, Purdue University Student.

Holiday Weekend Update Dec. 14-16, 2018

Holiday Weekend Update! Looking for a fun Indiana weekend getaway? Or do you live in this area and are looking for entertainment close by? Check out the plethora of fun, holiday events happening this upcoming weekend in or near Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana.

  • Holiday Tours at the Haan Mansion Museum of Indiana Art is a special treat that you won’t soon forget. (December 12-16) A Christmas train traveling through several rooms, decorated with Dickens Villages is a favorite feature for both kids and adults.  A gingerbread-style playhouse and multiple animated figures invite kids to participate. Decorated trees, Santas, angels, nativities, Lafayette houses and Dickens villages fill the Museum and spread the Christmas spirit.

    Haan Mansion Museum of Indiana Art

  • Enjoy a candy cane tour at McCord Candies!  Make your very own candy cane on December 14, 15 & 16.
  • 14 life-size outdoor scenes involving a cast of hundreds bring to life the significance of the baby in the manger at Faith Church.  The “Living Nativity” will take place on December 14, 15 & 16. You can either walk or drive through the nativity.
  • The Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette brings you “A Christmas Carol” on December 14, 15 & 16. This version of John Jakes’ nationally successful stage adaptation not only tells the Dickens story faithfully but also allows young audiences to enjoy the real magic of theater; watching the actors create the scene and costume change as the show moves along. Charles Dickens is introduced at the beginning, starts to tell the story of Scrooge’s redemption, then brings it alive with the help of the others in the cast!
  • Grab some popcorn and snuggle in the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra presents a special movie edition of Holiday Pops with seasonal classics and songs from your favorite holiday films on December 15.
  • Every year, Santa stops by Wolf Park to deliver treats to all the good little canines at the Park. Join the fun on December 15 and help decorate a tree with edible ornaments for the wolves. Then, join everyone in the conference center to enjoy drinks and crafts, and to tell Santa what you want for Christmas.

    Timber at Wolf Park

  • Donuts with Santa is taking place at the McAllister Recreation Center on December 15. Join Santa and his helpers for breakfast, holiday crafts and games. Write a letter to Santa and grab a picture with him before he heads back to the North Pole!
  • The Lafayette Master Chorale presents its Holidays Concerts on December 16. Lessons & Carols concert at 4pm: Experience the beauty of word and song with the time-honored traditional service of Nine Lessons and Carols in the beautiful, candlelit First Baptist Church. Join all of our choruses for favorite carols with organ, brass quintet and timpani as our community celebrates all the joy the holiday season has to offer. Holiday Fanfares concert at 7:30pm: From the introductory notes of familiar Christmas carols to the vibrant fanfares in John Rutter’s Gloria, you will be energized by the brass octet and Master Chorale in an evening filled with both exuberance and beauty. New and familiar holiday selections will leave you full of joy and wonder.

Selfie at McCord Candies!

For more information about these events and other special “happenings” in Lafayette-West Lafayette, check out our website at www.HomeOfPurdue.com.

The Bryant Food & Drink: Iconic Destination

Just about everything at The Bryant is locally designed and built– from the building itself to the items on the menu. Located on the site of the old Morris Bryant on Sagamore Parkway just past Morehouse Road, the name is an homage to that iconic restaurant which was a destination for families and office parties from 1951-1994.

The restaurant is flat-out beautiful, inside and out. The decor is appealing and contemporary with lots of interesting textures. It’s comfortable, roomy, and not too loud. John Christodoulakis, one of the owners, said KJG was the lead architect and John is responsible for the interior decor. He hired six finish carpenters for six weeks to make hundreds of wooden cubes (see photos) which are held together with 5-6000 screws and arranged in geometric shapes hung from the ceiling– strong enough “to swing across them like monkey bars,” he says, but he’s hoping his guests choose to behave. The outdoor area with a big fireplace, not yet open, looks inviting. It’s attractively screened to cut out surrounding distractions and let you focus on your own experience. The friendly and knowledgeable servers sport non-matching plaid shirts which lends a homey feel.

The owners are John Christodoulakis and his three siblings and their four spouses, and everyone is involved in the new venture. Other restaurants in the family are Christos, Cafe Literato, and Red Seven. The family is devoted to this community and has a mission to use local craftsmen, local beers and liquors, and local foods as much as possible. “It’s all about being local and supporting other small businesses,” John said.

Dining Divas Bev, Jo, and Kay were joined by Dining Divo John Collier who kept confusing his role with the band, Devo. When he wasn’t singing, “Whip it!”, he was enjoying the Warm Pretzel ($6), which was huge and served on a hanger accompanied by Bavarian sweet mustard and beer cheese. John and Kay agreed that it was better than any other baked pretzel they had tasted—light and chewy with a nice crispy crust and a great way to kick off our lunch.

Pretzel

Bev ordered the Brisket and Short Rib Burger topped with crispy onions, house pickles, dijonnaise, lettuce, tomato, and sharp cheddar on a potato bun ($11) with a side salad. (All sandwiches come with a choice of sides: fries, side salad, or soup for $2 more). Bev said her burger was tender and juicy and she loved the cucumber wasabi dressing on her salad. “The wasabi adds a kick to the creamy base,” she said. And she highly recommended the lamb burger and herbed cheese ravioli with candied walnuts, roasted corn, shallots, in a white truffle cream from her experiences on an earlier visit.

Brisket and Short Rib Burger

John tried the Wild Mushroom Burger ($13) which also featured the brisket and short rib mix that is a signature of The Bryant, and was topped with roasted shiitake, crimini, and portobello mushrooms, Swiss cheese, lettuce, and garlic aioli on a potato bun. John said his burger was cooked perfectly to his specification, not overdone. “The mushroom and aioli add a nice blend of flavor,” he said as he worked on the huge side of fries, that he declared delicious. The man loves his carbs.

Jo ordered the Impossible Burger, which is a meatless patty with dijonnaise, sharp cheddar, lettuce, and pickles, usually on a potato bun but she ordered it bunless. ($14). “I’m thrilled that it’s a veggie burger that doesn’t have a high carb count, like so many have,” she said. “It has a much better flavor than most veggie burgers and the dijonnaise was perfect on it.”

Kay, the seafood eater, opted for the Crispy Fish Sandwich ($10) and took the leftovers home to her husband, who, in spite of being instructed in the first rule of being a Dining Diva, that he could not use the word ‘good’, declared it good! (Our goal is to be more descriptive!)

A table near us ordered Birthday Cake milkshakes ($9), one of several signature shakes The Bryant offers. The others are The Fat Elvis (including peanut butter cups and bananas of course) and The Salty Cookie (cookies, candy, pretzels). The Birthday Cake is Instagram-worthy and the couple who ordered them licked the glasses clean.

Can you imagine taking down this massive shake??

We decided to end the meal with Donut Holes ($7), which are piping hot, shaken in a bag with cinnamon sugar, and served by Claire, our delightful server, with a caramel sauce. They were crunchy outside, warm and comforting on the inside, and so satisfying.

Donut Holes

Ours was a work-day lunch for two of our merry band of munchers so we did not imbibe, but patrons will enjoy the broad list of Indiana beers from eight different breweries plus Indiana bourbons and whiskeys. Cheers to this welcome new addition to our local dining scene!

Kay Conner, author and photographer, seafood superstar
Margy Deverall, author of Lafayette articles, dedicated vegetarian
Beverly Shaw, author of West Lafayette articles, bring on the beef (or chicken or pork)
Jo Wade, founder of this food blog, very veggie

4 Unique Places for Holiday Shopping: Wabash Riverfront

All Fired Up

One great place to get unique gifts for your friends and family this year would definitely be at All Fired Up. At All Fired Up, they make the experience really simple so that even little kids or novice artists are able to create their own masterpieces. When you first walk in, you are greeted and the process is clearly explained to you. You then pick out the pre-made pottery piece that you want to paint. The great thing about All Fired Up is that they have so many options of pottery pieces to choose from. You have the opportunity to chose from mugs, bowls, plates, and so much more. Your special someone will love seeing the time you put into making something that is meant just for them.

Dawson and Daisy

If you know someone trendy and stylish, you’ll want to pop into Dawson & Daisy for the perfect holiday gift! They have candles, clothes, accessories, adorable home wares, and much more! Among the racks, they even have some of the cutest children’s clothes in their “Little Buds” section!

Chances are, when you are shopping for holiday gifts here, you will be tempted to purchase all kinds of things for yourself! The shop itself is located at the Wabash Landing, and one of my favorite parts about it is the great smell inside! It makes for a very positive shopping experience. Your stylish friends will absolutely love a present from Dawson & Daisy!

 

Design Nook Interiors

Design Nook can help create your space into a masterpiece of beauty! This shop is full of  home good items that will make your space lovely and one of a kind. Shop for a perfect gift for your loved one this holiday season from a plethora of holiday decorations and/or accessories.  Or if you are looking to remodel your home, Design Nook has interior and exterior decorators, that have years of experience to assist. Help make your loved one’s house a home with beautiful home decor that will match their style!

Juniper

Did you know that you can shop local and still get high-fashion looks? Treat yourself or those you care about to a new outfit, accessories, and more that you’re sure to love! Juniper is a boutique with a large selection of junior, contemporary and women’s fashions. The shop sells everything from clothing, to jewelry, accessories, and shoes. Juniper has all the newest in-demand styles right now! Grab the perfect holiday outfit for your favorite fashionista here!

 

Sam, Purdue University Student and VLWL Intern, shares this blog.