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Eight strings and two wheels at Flatwater

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The text message read, “Just follow the music!”

That was me, directing my friend to Flatwater in Broad Ripple on Sunday night. Tucked away on the lesser-traveled one-way portion of Westfield Boulevard, the restaurant is a hidden gem in the heart of Broad Ripple. The patio, directly accessible from the sidewalk, gives a spectacular view of the canal and is spacious enough for 10+ tables.

On Sunday evening, nearly every table (each lit by a citronella candle) was occupied. Dim strings of white lights and a series of tiki torches further illuminated the space. The serene ambiance was rounded out by a satisfying blend of DJ mixwork and live instrumentation.

Flatwater’s Sunday night entertainers were stationed on the elevated deck of the neighboring building, giving them a supreme vantage point before their audience. DJ Helicon supplied retro, funky beats that furnished a seamless backdrop for accompanying guitarist Robert Coates. A master of the eight-string guitar, Coates’ improvisational playing layered on top of Helicon’s production made for the coolest background music Broad Ripple has ever experienced. While the bumping performance could have easily turned into a dance party, the relaxing (yet stimulating) sounds offered much solace to Flatwater’s patrons soaking up the last few hours of their Sunday night.

Flatwater’s September calendar is booked with other great local musicians including Rory Connolly (whose warm vocals and brilliant guitar are heard in The Great Hookup and Pocket Fullah Nasty) on Thursday, Sept. 23 and finger pickin’ goodness from Bloomington’s stellar jam-grass band New Old Calvary on Sept. 25 and 26. Whether you’re in search of a laid-back venue with good live music or looking for a peaceful place to unwind with a friend, Flatwater will almost certainly be your destination.

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