Indy Like a Local: Ben "Action" Jackson

Who is Ben?

Genre-bending DJ and founder of Rad Summer, a promotion/booking company.

Q. Where are your favorite places in Indy to hear music?

A. The Hi-Fi in Fountain Square has risen to the top of best concert venues in Indianapolis. The space designed by local artist Brian Presnell, is gorgeous, and composed of a variety of reclaimed materials such as wood from an old countryside barn and sound absorption panels from the Defunct RCA headquarters on the north side of town. Their booking is also top notch as the space is run by My Old Kentucky Blog who've been bringing hundreds of artist to Indianapolis throughout the last decade.  

Hi-Fi

Q. What’s your favorite place to kick back with a drink? What would the drink be?

A. Without a doubt, the White Rabbit Cabaret in Fountain Square. It has a very cool vibe, and the owners really pay attention to the programming there. They feature a lot of great packed concerts and sweaty dance nights like Real Talk, but also laid back events like Frankie's Flicks cult movie screenings. Also, their Burlesque Bingo Bango shows hosted by a pair of vaudeville clowns are really popular and a lot of fun. And I'm not too picky when it comes to alcohol, but the drink would probably be a bullit whiskey and ginger. 

White Rabbit

Q. What’s your favorite Indy hangout?

A. Since I work in nightlife, I'm often grabbing food well after most restaurants close. Here are some late night non-fast food dining options.

  • Downtown Ollys never closes and has a huge menu! The staff is friendly, and there's always a lot of characters there so they don't judge if you're pretty faded when you arrive.
  • The Alley Cat is the diveiest of dive bars, it's literally located in the alley off of the main strip in Broad Ripple. But, their food is fantastic and served till 3am. They have one of the best cheeseburgers in town and every Thursday is steak night where you can get a steak, salad, and baked potato for just over $10.
  • Peppy Grill is exactly what you expect for an all-hours diner: inexpensive greasy food, loud drunk patrons, and a great jukebox. It's very small and can get a little crowded on weekends after shows and bars let out, but it's worth the wait.

Q. What’s your favorite summer activity in Indianapolis?

A. Patio parties! Three of my favorites: 

  • Metro, a gay-friendly bar on Mass Ave, is really laid back and features DJs playing house music on Sundays.  
  • The Tiki Bar at La Revolucion in Fountain Square is huge, has a really cool decor, and is a great place to hang out and drink Margaritas.
  • Flatwater's patio in Broad Ripple is tucked in right next to the canal and stays packed all summer, especially on Sundays, and has small live acts and DJs playing every weekend. The food and staff there are top notch as well.

Q. Where do you take friends when they’re visiting?

A. I'd say almost every visiting DJ I have in town always wants to go to Yats. The food is hearty, fast, very affordable, and, most importantly, delicious. They're located all over town, so odds are there's always one close by, but my favorite is the OG location in Broad Ripple. The owner is often there and is the chillest dude.  For example, they're cash only but I've seen them accept IOUs several times from people who only had plastic on them. That pretty much sums up the friendly, fun approach he takes to his restaurants!

Yats

Q. Where do you take family members?

A. I'm not much of a sports fan, but even I have fun at Indians games. The fairly new stadium has been named the best in minor league baseball and is located right downtown. They even have a full bar that serves craft beer and great food. The low ticket prices make for a very affordable night as well. 

Q. What’s Indy’s best-kept secret? 

A. Mama's House Korean is an easy-to-miss little gem on the Eastside, tucked away in a strip mall in an area that's known for strip clubs. They bring out a ton of small dishes, short ribs, squid, pickled vegetables, etc... that you cook over a grill on your table. It's a great place to go if you have a large group!

Q. What should visitors to Indy absolutely not miss?

A. Our children's museum has been called one of the best in the world. You can't miss it as it's a huge building with a pair of life-size dinosaur sculptures outside, and you can easily spend the majority of a day wandering around the museum. Two of my favorites there are the planetarium and the tallest water clock in North America which greets museum visitors in the atrium.  And it's definitely a place you can enjoy as an adult, I've even been on a date there before.

 


Get an insider view and experience Indy Like a Local

SELECT A LOCAL
staff_

Mab Graves

Artist and Illustrator

staff_

David Ranalli

Magician and Illusionist

staff_

Michael Pettry

Choir Director

staff_

Andrea Hunley

Public School Principal

staff_

Ben "Action" Jackson

DJ and Founder, Rad Summer

staff_

Trip (Butler Blue III)

Mascot, Butler Bulldogs

staff_

Marisol Gouveia

Zoo Membership Director

staff_

Martha Hoover

Restaurateur

staff_

Pedro Fernandez

Symphony Percussionist

staff_

Hattie McDaniel

Pastry Chef, Vida

staff_

Cassie Stockamp

President, Athenaeum Foundation

staff_

Chris Eley

Owner, The Smoking Goose and Goose the Market

staff_

Clay Robinson

Co-Founder, Sun King Brewing

staff_

Cole Farrell and Aric Furfaro

Writer and Exhibit Designer

staff_

Ed Carpenter

IndyCar Driver and Team Owner

staff_

Ersal Ozdemir

Owner, Indy Eleven soccer club

staff_

Gary Brackett

Former Colt Linebacker and Owner, Brackett Restaurant Group

staff_

Beth Chappo

Blogger, Seersucker + Saddles

staff_

Jamie and Martine Locke

Fine Artist and Musician

staff_

Julia Moffitt

News Anchor, WTHR

staff_

Julia Whitehead

Executive Director, Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library

staff_

Mali Jeffers

Founder, Mosaic City

staff_

Peter Dunn

Personal-Finance Guru/Comedian

staff_

Polina Osherov

Executive Director, Pattern

staff_

Sam Cronk

Hair Stylist

staff_

Tamika Catchings

Former WNBA Star, Indiana Fever

staff_

Erin Edds

President, Garden Party Botanical Hard Soda

staff_

Frank Mickens

News Anchor, CBS4 This Morning

staff_

James Hinchcliffe

IndyCar Racer, Contestant on Dancing with the Stars

staff_

Januarie York

Spoken-Word Artist

staff_

Mina Starsiak and Karen Laine

Stars of HGTV's Good Bones

staff_

Neelay Bhatt

TedX Speaker

staff_

Shane Brown

Chalk Artist and T-Shirt Shop Owner

staff_

Charlie Kimball

IndyCar Racer

staff_

Ben Hardy

Owner, The Gallery Pastry Shop

staff_

Kimberly Schrack

Owner, Manayunk Calligraphy


BOOK A HOTEL

We look forward to hosting you.

to

SIGN UP FOR INDY EMAIL

Indy’s best events and deals in your inbox.


ORDER A VISITOR GUIDE

The official guide to great times in Indy.

GO