Checkered Flag Tavern

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Service: Warm, fast and friendly. The owner even left his kitchen to chat with us for a minute.

Booze: Impressive shit for a low-key westside Indy biker bar. They don’t have PBR, but they serve up Bulleit, Harrison, Basil Hayden, Tap 357?! When more than a few people around town consider Jim Beam to be high quality stuff, a halfway decent bourbon/rye selection like this gains major props in my eyes.

Food:

Catfish Bites | blackened catfish with cajun tarter sauce $ 7.00

Frog Legs | fried crisp with new orleans remoulade sauce $ 6.50

The Big Pig | bacon, pulled pork and ham on a toasted bun, served with french fries $ 8

Chicken Wings | ten slow smoked jumbo wings tossed in your choice of homemade sauce $ 7.50

Not long after placing our order the aroma of blackening catfish began to fill the entire bar, torturing our hungry bellies from the kitchen. Seasoned and cooked beautifully, these little morsels tasted as good as they smelled and looked. We could’ve stuffed ourselves on multiple orders of this dish alone, but there were frog legs! And the big pig—with juicy ham, tender smoked pork and thick slices of crisp bacon—was right up my alley. I appreciated the attention to detail: served on a toasted bun and “dry” with BBQ on the side so the actual flavor of each meat could shine. Even the fries were good!

Tossed in a delicious homemade ranchy-garlic sauce, the large, meaty, smoked wings were some of the best around. Typically I prefer drums over flats, but every bite of these bad boys was enjoyable. The ranch dressing, however, was atrocious. On a scale of flavorless liquid plastic to sweet creamy nectar of the buttermilk gods, this was a 1. Worse than bottled Hidden Valley. Unfortunate circumstance for my surprisingly attractive simple side salad, but luckily the wings didn’t need any.

Kudos: Nice, secluded outdoor patio. They have pool and darts, too.

Overall: This inconspicuous little bar serves up a serious variety of southern flavors with near perfect execution. A true hidden gem. Spicy catfish, smoked wings, tender pork, toasted buns, crispy fries, cheap, cheap, cheap. I hear there’s walleye on fridays and a uniquely delicious special every week? What else do I need to say?

5725 W. Morris
Indianapolis, IN 46241

Checkered Flag Tavern on Urbanspoon

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