Mass Ave’s 400 Block

Mass Ave’s 400 Block is an excellent example of the possibilities for the future. The amount of stores located in such a small area is staggering, and yet there are still a few surface parking lots on the street, as well as a pocket park. Most of the businesses are Indianapolis-based (the only exception would be the Starbucks). Here’s a rundown for the uninitiated or visitors:

South Side
Old Point Tavern. One of Indy’s oldest bars, and a good place to get chili on a cold night.
Mass Ave Toy Store. Quality selection of toys (even some that are not plastic!).
Luna Music. Great character and selection in this small space. They know more about new music than anyone at Virgin or Tower.
Chatterbox. What can I say, I love this place. The best jazz bar in town.
The south side of the street also features 2 newcomers: Nurture baby clothes (which features some “green” items), and Sakura (which is a store for purses and such).
Also, a new martini bar with an Asian theme will open in January.

North Side
Elements. While technically on Alabama Street, the food is too good to go without mention.
The aforementioned Starbucks. Go to Hoaglin instead, or if you just want coffee, Henry’s on East Street just north of Mass Ave. The fact that there are no true independent coffee shops fronting Mass Ave still boggles my mind.
Silver in the City. Neat gift shop, mostly geared for young adults.
3 Dog Bakery. I don’t have a dog, but hey, many people do.
Global Gifts. My go-to store for gifts for my wife or mother. Well-made crafts that are fairly traded, and a staff that is exceedingly friendly and helpful.
Hoaglin. Excellent breakfasts, lunches, and coffee.

There are also many small offices in the upper floors of the buildings, as well as an apartment complex. All of this in a space smaller than a typical strip mall parking lot.

Comments 7

  • I believe the Abbey (coffee shop) used to be on Mass Ave before it moved to Pennsylvania near the library. But you’re right, totally weird that there are no independent coffee shops on Mass Ave!

  • Oh ya, in fact the first time I visited Mass Ave in 1999, I went to the Abbey. I ended up there quite often. Those big comfy chairs and huge cups of cappuccino are pretty irresistible.

  • I thought the Abbey used to be in the point where the Beilouny building is now, at College/St. Clair/Mass.

  • It was…we were referring to all of Mass Ave, not just the 400 block.

  • I don’t have a huge problem with Starbucks being there. Better a Starbucks than no coffee shop at all. I’d much rather walk over to The Abbey, though. Plus Three Dog Bakery is also a chain. A great place to take your dog, but if you’re going to commit chain-warfare let’s be fair.

    I would love it if more of Indy was like this. We were just in Silver in the City this past weekend and every time we’re in we wonder why there aren’t more little local shops like that in our city. The entire Mass Ave strip is a testament to how great our city could be.

  • You’re right Rodney, I don’t hate Starbucks, I just prefer other places. And I forgot about the 3 dog bakery being a chain, but it’s pretty inoffensive. I don’t really mean to commit chain warfare, but in this city where chains dominate more than almost any other city of its size, I feel I should boost the local shops.

    Also, Anon, can you link that again? I got google maps, but I’m not sure what I was looking at. Thanks.

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