The Ballyhoo Tavern


“We went there for everything we needed. We went there when thirsty, of course, and when hungry, and when dead tired. We went there when happy, to celebrate, and when sad, to sulk. We went there after weddings and funerals, for something to settle our nerves, and always for a shot of courage just before. We went there when we didn’t know what we needed, hoping someone might tell us. We went there when looking for love, sex, or trouble, or for someone who had gone missing, because sooner or later everyone turned up there. Most of all we went there when we needed to be found.” - from J.R. Moehringer’s The Tender Bar.

J.R. Moehringer began his best-selling memoir The Tender Bar with this eloquent and spot-on description of the bar that helped shape his life and to make him into the man he is today. Anyone who has frequented the Ballyhoo over the past 60 plus years may easily mistake Mr. Moehringer’s memories for his. For the Ballyhoo has become a touchstone for thousands of Indiana State students, alumni, and local residents, who, despite where their respective roads have lead, can always find their way back home to the Ballyhoo when they, themselves, need to be found. A home away from home, and a comfort many have trouble putting into words; the Ballyhoo has become a major part of countless lives.Established in the late 1940’s as a tavern (having first served for years as a boarding house for engineers and a general store), the Ballyhoo quickly became the watering hole of choice for students at what was then known as Indiana State Teachers College. Throughout the decades, the Bally has been the source of solace, celebration, and comfort for many. From the days of Quarter Beer Thursdays, pickles and cheese, penny pitchers, and beer slides; to mixed drinks, dance night, and live entertainment - through all the changes - the Bally has remained the same at its core.

What started as a shotgun saloon with little more than a tap and a table has become one of the Midwest’s premier bars. After expansion in the mid-nineties which included the addition of mixed drinks, live bands and dance music, as well as the purchase of the Indianapolis Star building to make room for a larger beer garden (which eventually became a permanent structure), the Ballyhoo has continued to grow in reputation and tradition. It remains the top destination for Indiana State alumni when they return to Terre Haute for homecoming, ISU sporting events, fraternity and sorority functions, or just to visit friends and family. Regardless of one’s reason for coming home, the Bally always finds its way on to his or her itinerary.

Sycamore athletics has always been a big part of what the Ballyhoo represents and supports. From the 70's when Larry Bird frequented for a Bud or two and took the Sycamores to a #1 ranking, to 2001 when students danced in the streets after ISU defeated #4 seed Oklahoma in the NCAA tournament, the Bally has always been, and will remain, a huge supporter of Indiana State athletics. It’s the place to be for “Rally at the Bally” before ISU home basketball games and where fans come to watch the Sycamores on its big screen TVs.

While the days of writing checks for beer have long gone, the heart of the Bally remains the same. The famous “Bally Pizza” is a must for regulars and visitors alike; patrons still enjoy making their marks on the brick with spray cans, chalk, and marker; and the bartender is still everyone’s best friend. No matter if you are thirsty or hungry, celebrating or sad, seeking camaraderie or a stranger to lend an ear, the Ballyhoo has been, and always will be, a place where you can be found.

Whether you are visiting us for the first time or the thousandth, we thank you for making the Ballyhoo one of your memories.

  Business Hours

Sunday & Monday: Closed

       Tuesday - Thursday : 4pm- 10pm

           Friday & Saturday :  4pm- Midnight

The Ballyhoo Tavern

900 Chestnut St.,

Terre Haute, IN 47807

Phone. 812-232-3939

Email. ballyhootavern@yahoo.com