Story By Karen Weik
LOCATION: MIDWEST & WEST PUB: BROTHERS BAR & GRILL WEBSITE: BROTHERSBAR.COM ABOUT: A STAPLE FOR GREAT BEER, SPIRITS, FOOD AND FUN.
Eric Fortney was fresh out of college, tending bar in his hometown of La Crosse, Wisconsin, when his dad asked him to look at a bar to purchase in the downtown area. The deal was made, after Eric scrolled an offer on a bar napkin. Later, when he and older brother Marc took the helm of the new business, in 1990, and after brain-storming a savvy name for it, their mom suggested “Brothers Bar—established 1967,” for the year Eric was born.
The name stuck and business boomed.
Nearly 30 years later, family- owned Brothers Bar & Grill can be found in 19 locations throughout the Midwest and West. Indiana locations include South Bend, Bloomington and Broad Ripple to name a few, with their most recent, self- proclaimed flagship business in downtown Indianapolis.
Renovating the long-time Robert’s Camera Shop, the downtown Indy bar features the largest tap beer selection in the state—some 30-40 beers to choose from—and over 8,000 square feet, with their signature patio space encompassing over 4,000 square feet.
The Fortney brothers credit their success to hard work. In the early days, both Marc and Eric worked every shift. They had, what they affectionately called in the beginning, “the world’s largest appetizer menu.”
“We used the drop and float method,” Marc Fortney says, tongue-in-cheek. “Drop it in the fryer, when it floats to the top it’s done.”
Today, their entrees are far from those early methods. With an in-house executive chef, all menu items are made from scratch and by hand. A Fortney favorite, growing up in Wisconsin, is fried cheese curds. Hand-made and hand-battered, it makes a mouth salivate just thinking about them.
A staple for great beer, spirits, food and fun, Brothers Bar & Grill is hard to beat. And don’t forget their real (fake ID) gift cards. They make it worth getting caught. www.brothersbar.com