In an 1890s building in Indianapolis’ original Germantown, you’ll find one of the best-preserved structures dedicated to German American culture in the Midwest, the Athenaeum. Today it functions as a center for nurturing “a sound mind and a sound body” in following with the Turner Movement that was popular in German culture throughout the 19th century. It is currently run by the Athenaeum Foundation. Oh, and a fun fact - one of the architects of the building was the grandfather of Kurt Vonnegut.

Schnitzel plate at The Rathskeller

The building, originally called Das Deutsche House, was designed in German Renaissance Revival style and is listed three times on the National Register of Historic Places. Among its key features are arched and stained glass windows, copper covered cupolas and stone lions with shields. 

The building includes a 400-seat cabaret-style theatre, gallery space, a gymnasium and YMCA, auditorium, coffee shop, dining room, biergarten and more. In the basement is the Rathskeller, the oldest continuously-running restaurant in the city. The bar area was once an open air beirgarten that was later enclosed. An outdoor biergarten is just up the stairs and out the door and is a bustling spot in warmer months for live entertainment and festivals along with steins of beer. A former bowling alley was converted into a private room, one of seven private dining rooms in the building. 

The Rathskeller in Indianapolis

The Athenaeum has even appeared in movies. Some interior shots of the film, Eight Men Out were filmed there. Scenes in the movie Going All the Way, starring Ben Affleck, were filmed in the beirgarten.

Theatre of the Athenaeum

After 125 years, the building is still serving its purpose and a cultural center of entertainment, exercise and culinary enjoyment. The calendar of events if filled with activities - from movie screenings to live comedy shows to tours to overnight ghost hunts. Visit for more information. 

Rathskeller Dining Room

The Rathskeller is open daily with live entertainment Wednesday through Saturday and some Sundays. The menu includes German specialities, American offerings and imported draft beers. For the full menu, visit