South Bend is the type of Midwestern city that has something for everyone. Whether you’re all dressed up or aiming for something more casual, this northern Indiana city’s growing nightlife has it all. You might not think it, but it’s definitely one that’s been thriving in recent years.
In addition to being a growing metropolitan city rich in history and a firm foodie scene, one of South Bend’s finest assets is its bar scene, thriving with some of the best pubs and dive bars in and around the city. From places that excel in serving their drinks straight up, to novel spots that throw in dancing or fantastic bar eats, we share some of the best bars in South Bend.
Address: 112 W. Jefferson Blvd., South Bend, IN
Experience some of the best spirits in the Midwest at this charming whiskey bar that could house Don Draper himself. Playing the hits of Frank Sinatra on its speakers, The Exchange Whiskey Bar is a classy, upscale joint that caters to the whiskey connoisseur with an original menu of single malts, bourbons, rye and whiskey blends. Boasting an atmosphere that is incredibly engaging and oh-so cozy, it’s also got the charm and glamour reminiscent of that prohibition era speakeasy from the 30s. Not to mention, its inviting feel is perfect for those first date cocktails or just a spot to wind down after work. Moreover, if you get super hungry like yours truly while sipping on delicious, unique drinks, check out their limited menu of snacks like shrimp cocktail, cheese boards and charcuterie that promise to complement every drink.
Address: 441 E. Lasalle Ave., South Bend, IN
Cold beers and fun — what more could we ask for? well known hot spot for Notre Dame students and tourists alike, Corby’s Irish Pub is your prototypical all-American college bar. With decently-priced drinks, pool tables, and an incredibly kind and friendly staff, Corby’s also hosts live music events and just a good, all-around atmosphere that welcomes everyone. Decorated with Notre Dame memorabilia and everything Fighting Irish, the pub is also known as one of the many shooting locations for the film, Rudy. Though they have a limited food menu, they do it really well and offer foods that truly complement their hearty variety of craft beer, like nachos, bread sticks, pizza and sandwiches.
Address: 280 S. Michigan St., South Bend, IN
Situated in the heart of downtown and down the street from the State Theater, this friendly neighborhood pub has been a South Bend favorite since 1984. Filled with sports memorabilia and plasma TVs to watch the big game, C.J.’s Pub is notable for their Super Pub Burger — a signature 10 oz. burger served on a kaiser bun with your choice of lettuce, tomatoes and onions, and a side of potato chips. Featuring a daily lunch and dinner menu, alongside a mouthwatering list of pub munchies — Saloon Chips, anyone? — they also serve a delicious, diverse collection of chicken sandwiches, like the “Rio Grande” served with cheddar cheese and jalapenos. Not only are these mouthwatering sandwiches cooked to perfection, but they’re unique in flavor with the meat remaining juicy and tender.
Address: 216 S. Michigan St., South Bend, IN
This gastropub is unlike any other in South Bend. While it’s the only brew pub in the city with about 10 taps that rotate frequently, it’s also a partner in the Beer4Good program that helps pay it forward to three community partners. As an esteemed establishment very plugged into its community with events like gaming on Mondays and trivia on Tuesdays, South Bend Brew Werks recently opened its doors for a more family-friendly crowd and now offers a special kids menu. While their food menu is super innovative and varies from tasty grilled cheese sandwiches to flatbread pizzas (must mention, we are in love with their Roasted Jalapeño Mac!), their beers are phenomenal and every one of them is worth trying. Featuring seasonal and staple brews, tea lovers alike will enjoy the Rooibos Red, a red ale with 2 lbs of Rooibos tea. Delicious, unique and malty with a bread-y flavor, its got a slightly sweet and bitter finish.
Happy #nationalgrilledcheeseday! Join us for this BEST GRILLED CHEESE EVER and our other world famed cheesy delights. Today only score a free side item or dessert with any sandwich purchase plus a #beer4good token to pay the cheesiness forward #foodporn #localfood #nofilter #eatlocal #grilledcheese #beer #craftbeer #southbend #indianabeer
Address: 103 W. Colfax, South Bend, IN
Serving exquisite cold and hot plates, this Mediterranean tapas and wine bar is truly a gem in the heart of South Bend. Built with Spanish-inspired designs and decor, Tapastrie is an elegant and polished spot that evokes tranquility and class. For those who love to pair their wines or cocktails with culinary specialties, guests can sample and share a variety of dishes and expand on their choice options to best cultivate their palates. The drinks are first class too, and incredibly innovative in flavor and style. Take their Gin and Tonic No. 2 — made with Creme de Violette, fresh lime, lemon, cardomom pods, hibiscus and assorted flowers. It’s a drink that’s super refreshing and perfect for that afternoon off. Moreover, create your own wine flights or indulge with the wine machines that let you try samples of high end wines. It’s like being in a candy store!
Address: 127 N. Main St., South Bend, IN
Cozy and intimate with a feeling reminiscent of home, one visit and you can see why Fiddler’s Hearth is a favorite among South Bend residents. While the heart of their food and drink menu reflects the traditions of the seven Celtic nations, they also offer a wide selection of American favorites from draught beer to specialty drafts, and house wines. Of course though, when in an authentic Celtic pub, you got to be a bit more adventurous! Their Irish Single Malt Whiskey is a must-try, along with their Shamrock Coffee, a fair trade coffee blended with Bailey’s Irish Cream and topped with whipped cream. Fiddler’s Hearth is a fun place with an atmosphere most familial and relaxed. The fish and chips are delicious, not greasy and overly fried too — best of all, they are served in newspaper, specifically the South Bend Tribune.
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Do you live in South Bend or visit often? What are some of your favorite bars in and around the city? Let us know in the comments below.