Bloomington is home to many places to stop and eat or grab some drinks. There are dozens of options for anyone looking for breakfast, dinner, or even a quick pastry. Below, you can find a list of some popular and beloved places to try out.
Grab a bite
Bloomington has a fair number of coffee shops, and many of these coffee shops also sell baked goods. Some coffee shops that are close by are:
- Soma Coffeehouse & Juice Bar has three locations in town, but the closest ones are on Kirkwood (near the Graduate Hotel) and on Third St (near the Lilly Library). Soma offers a wide selection of coffees, teas, juices, and smoothies as well as grab-and-go foods like muffins, cookies, scones, bagels, and more.
- Parlor Doughnuts is located above Soma on Kirkwood and has available outdoor seating.
- The Inkwell Bakery and Café is a good spot to grab breakfast or lunch. There are two Inkwell locations: one on N College Ave (close to the Graduate) and one on S Woodlawn Ave (less than half a mile from the Indiana Memorial Union).
- Poindexter is located inside the Graduate Hotel and is open to those who are not hotel guests. Coffee, breakfast, lunch, and grab-and-go snacks are available all day.
- Cup & Kettle does serve coffee and espresso drinks, but their main focus is tea. They also sell light pastries.
- There is a Starbucks located inside the Indiana Memorial Union.
- Sugar & Spice Bakery, also found in the IMU, serves coffee and desserts, as well as Chocolate Moose ice cream.
Bloomington’s Fourth Street is home to a wide array of international cuisine, and it is only about half a mile out from the Indiana Memorial Union. Here are some popular places:
Anyetsang’s Little Tibet Restaurant (lunch & dinner) is Bloomington’s only Tibetan restaurant, but it also serves Indian and Thai cuisine.
Korea Restaurant (lunch & dinner) has a variety of Korean dishes to choose from and a charming outdoor patio where you can eat them.
Taste of India (lunch & dinner) is a family-owned restaurant serving Northern Indian cuisine as well as Bloomington’s only Southern Indian cuisine. All meats are always certified Zibah Halal, and a lunch buffet is available from 11-3.
Turkuaz Café (lunch & dinner) is not technically on Fourth Street but is close. Turkuaz serves Turkish cuisine, including a wide variety of pides, many with vegetarian options.
My Thai (lunch & dinner) is an authentic Thai restaurant that serves a variety of delicious dishes. There is also outdoor seating available on a cozy patio.
The Square is located at the center of downtown and is only a two-block walk from the Graduate Hotel. Surrounding the courthouse in the square's center are dozens of locally owned shops and restaurants. Popular restaurants include:
- Amrit India Restaurant (lunch & dinner) has a large menu serving Indian and Indo-Chinese cuisine.
- The Orbit Room (lunch Fri-Sat only, dinner Tue-Sat) is a small pub specializing in gourmet hotdogs and classic bar snacks. A room near the front of the bar has a rotating selection of pinball machines. Live events happen multiple nights of the week including live music, comedy, karaoke, and trivia.
- The Owlery (lunch & dinner) is Bloomington’s only full vegetarian and vegan restaurant specializing in vegetarian comfort food, craft beer from Indiana and around the country, and vegan baked goods.
- Samira Restaurant (lunch & dinner) is an upmarket eatery serving Afghan cuisine, with vegetarian options and wine available.
The Graduate Hotel is situated close to Kirkwood Avenue, which connects the IU campus to the central square of Bloomington. The Indiana Memorial Union (IMU) is also only a block away from Kirkwood. There are several restaurants along Kirkwood, including:
- BuffaLouie’s (lunch & dinner) is a burger & wing spot located just around the corner from Kirkwood Avenue on South Indiana Avenue.
- Farm (dinner, brunch on weekends) is a country-style, farm-to-table option with an menu that changes with the availability of local ingredients. Located below it is the Root Cellar bar.
- Lennie’s (lunch & dinner) is the closest local restaurant to the IMU. Its menu features gourmet pizza, locally sourced ingredients, and craft beer from its own Bloomington Brewing Co.
- Nick’s English Hut (lunch & dinner) has been open since 1927 and is a popular IU sports bar, with lots of memorabilia on the walls and traditional pub food.
- Osteria Rago (lunch & dinner) is an Italian, grandmother-style restaurant served in a rustic environment. House-made pasta, pizza, and bread are made fresh daily using locally sourced, organic ingredients.
- Runcible Spoon (breakfast, lunch & dinner) is a Bloomington staple for breakfast foods, especially its corned beef hash.
- Uptown Café (lunch & dinner) is a Bloomington favorite, offering a menu full of Indiana and New Orleans-inspired dishes.
- Yatagarasu (lunch & dinner) is a Japanese ramen restaurant with a cozy atmosphere. To get there, go to the Dunnkirk Square building on Kirkwood, enter the courtyard area, and take the stairs down to the lower level.
Bloomington offers a variety of bars and pubs to explore. These places are often hosts to live music, comedy, trivia, karaoke, and many other events. Here are some notable places around town:
- The Atlas Ballroom is a quieter bar that serves as a good place to chat with friends or colleagues. Taps rotate frequently.
- The Back Door is Bloomington's only LGBTQ+ bar, located in the alley behind the Atlas. It hosts events most nights that range from trivia, to drag performances, to film screenings, to DJs.
- The Irish Lion is a cozy Irish pub with a big bar and many whiskey options. This building has been a tavern since 1882.
- The Root Cellar is a more lounge-style bar with dancing, located in the basement of FARM Bloomington. It has several small rooms for conversation and will often host DJs, dance nights, and karaoke.
- Small Favors has a selection of wine and wine-based cocktails. The menu features locally sourced ingredience with rotating options of small plates. The bar is open seating, but reservations are recommended for dining.