September 26th, 2013

Food, Culture and Community – The Thirsty Scholar

by Bryan Enas

thirsty scholar exterior

This past July, The Thirsty Scholar opened on the corner of 16th and Pennsylvania Street in the historic Old Northside. While the name evokes intelligence, the mood within the building is not one of arrogance. Co-owners Chris Piazza and Kevin Schmidlin chose the name to reflect the selection of products offered rather than describe a desired clientele or atmosphere. Coffee, tea, local beer, and fine wines from around the world make up most of the menu in addition to some small plate food offerings.

When asked about the choice of building for The Thirsty Scholar, Chris said that the previously vacant space possessed an “inspiring” atmosphere and a great deal of potential. For Chris, one of the main driving forces behind opening The Thirsty Scholar was the need for a late night coffee/tea and bar option for people in the downtown Indianapolis area. Inside you may find someone drinking coffee and working on a laptop while at a table across the way, you might find  a few friends enjoying a glass of beer or wine. Nevertheless, Chris and Kevin focus their energy on providing a positive experience for their patrons and their goal for all who visit The Thirsty Scholar is for people to enjoy the moment.

thirsty scholar interior

Chris also voiced his hope for the developing area around the bar to become a desirable destination for locals. His vision for businesses along 16th Street to create a well-rounded experience for patrons makes it clear that Chris and Kevin are very community-minded when it comes to their own business. They want anyone to feel welcome, both young and old, whether you are stopping in to grab a coffee and study or work or to relax and enjoy a drink. This kind of diverse atmosphere can be hard to find, but The Thirsty Scholar fully embraces it.

So far, the reception to The Thirsty Scholar has been positive, said Chris. Since opening, the owners have been busy smoothing out the operation and flow of service. However, they are looking into hosting live music along with the possibility of poetry readings and spoken word events. The Thirsty Scholar gives the people of Indianapolis yet another great reason to visit the growing 16th Street area downtown.