By Todd Daniel Lancaster
WASHINGTON — I thought the first Pub Crawl column should be in Bloomington. Many area fans are finding their way back to Bloomington and with the way Cody Zeller and the Hoosiers have been playing, you might want to have a long list of places to eat and drink in when in B-town over the next four seasons.
Bloomington may be Indiana’s most diverse city and boasts foods from Tibet and Vietnam to burritos as big as your head. However, I will limit the choices to a few of my favorites.
Recently, Times Herald sports correspondent Mike DeCoursey and I (whom I would like to think of as a team like Holmes and Dr. Watson or Kerouc and Cassidy, but others may consider more like Ren and Stimpy) had some fantastic pulled pork and baked beans from the Bar-B-Que Train (available for takeout at the Short Stop Market).
Fantastic flavor and the pitmaster was even kind enough to share a couple of secrets. The baked beans were loaded with pork and had Granny Smith apples diced in as well. After the game we stopped off at Yogi’s where I had a Boddington’s Pub Ale for the first time. They have 47 beers on tap and hundreds on the beer menu. If you are looking for a great selection with a ton of TVs for watching whatever game you want, this is the place. It might look a little like a strip mall sports bar when you walk in, but it is far from Applebee’s on steroids.
Another great pregame hangout is the Irish Lion on the opposite side of Kirkwood (moving away from campus).
They have great chicken wings, with a thick, spicy sauce. Not a traditional wing, maybe what you might consider more of an Asian sauce, but still excellent. There is a full menu filled with Irish dishes including Irish Stew and Coddle (a casserole made with ham, sausage, onions and potatoes). I had the Irish stew on a very cold night before a Lady Hatchet soccer regional at Karst Farm Park several years ago, kept me warm for hours. I have also had a great prime rib sandwich there as well.
For Guinness fans, the Lion is a great place to drink a yard (a three-foot glass) of Guinness or a Black and Tan. For micro-brewery fans check out Lenny’s, fresh craft beers and an upscale pub menu.
Last but not least are Nick’s English Hut and Mother Bears.
Both have that dark “lived in” feel about them. Bears is on Third Street and I believe has the best pizza in Bloomington. I went there for the first time in 1981 and have never been disappointed. Nick’s is a great place for a stromboli and a beer. It is a bar, but there are places for the under 21 crowd as well.
Hopefully this will give you some great places to start in Bloomington.