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Summer Fun Guide: Outdoor dining

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Indiana weather doesn't permit a great deal of favorable nights for outdoor dining, so when it does you need to be ready to pounce on whatever sidewalk or waterside table you can find. Here are just a few places we heartily recommend for those summer nights when you want to enjoy a good meal and the great outdoors simultaneously.

Bon été and bon appétit!

Dunaways

This rooftop perch, situated above the old Oxygen Building (351 S. East St.), at the intersection of Virginia and East streets, affords gorgeous sunset views of downtown and an upscale menu. A great way to begin an evening's ramble through nearby Fountain Square. Call 317-638-7663 for reservations.

Ambrosia

Broad Ripple is replete with outdoor dining opportunities, but if we had to choose just one, Ambrosia (915 E. Westfield Blvd.) gets the nod. Sip one of their nonpareil martinis and watch the passing parade from a sidewalk table. The Ravioli Della Mama is a great, signature dish. For reservations, call 317-255-3096.

Old Point Tavern

The Old Point Tavern (401 Massachusetts Ave.), where Juian Opie's electronic go-go dancer does her thing at the corner of Massachusetts and Alabama, is a time-tested place to start the evening - or finish it off. Great chili and well-packed sandwiches made with topnotch ingredients have made this a Massachusetts Avenue institution. Phone: 317-634-8943.

Broad Ripple Brew Pub

Indy's first brewpub (840 E. 65th St.), just a few strides from the Monon Trail, offers a laid-back place to enjoy an array of great beers with a pub grub menu that mixes tried favorites like Scotch Eggs with some nicely creative flourishes - a combination that draws a crowd (including vegans), so be prepared to arrive early. Phone: 317-253-2739.

Scholar's Inn

Known for its over-the-top interior décor, Scholar's (725 Massachusetts Ave.) also offers an elegant outdoor option off the alleyway in back of its Massachusetts Avenue fa├žade. It's a quiet, cool and refined setting in which to enjoy the Scholar's snazzy and extensive menu. Reservations: 317-536-0707.

Mug 'n' Bun

In the mood for a blast from the past? The Mug 'n' Bun (5211 W. 10th St.), out on the Westside, is a roadside joint in the oldest and best sense. A great place to scratch your burger and root beer float itch. Also known for chicken and pizza. Muscle cars not included. Phone: 317-247-9186.

Marco's

Inside, Marco's (2380 E. 54th St.) lounge has a nifty Rat Pack feel and one of the most pleasingly quirky selections of background music in the city. When the weather warms up, Marco's provides a roomy terrace that effectively obscures its proximity to Keystone's heavy traffic. A great value. Phone: 317-251-7000.

The Barking Dog Café

Ever wondered what it's like living in Meridian-Kessler? Reserve a table for dinner at The Barking Dog Café (115 E. 49th St.), catty corner from where the venerable Hammaker's Pharmacy used to sell Burma Shave and Bromo Seltzer. Barking Dog is tiny (reservations recommended) but the excellent bistro-style food has a decidedly French accent and no matter how far you've come, you'll feel like you just popped in. Call 317-924-2233 for reservations or take-out.

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