Commission Row Opens Just in Time for NBA All-Star Game in Indy

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Editor’s Note: Commission Row is a venue that sells alcohol. Please drink responsibly.

Indianapolis residents, students and tourists alike can visit 110 S. Delaware Street for a new upscale downtown Indianapolis experience. According to Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Commission Row is a steakhouse, seafood restaurant, speakeasy and event center that opened its doors on Jan. 24. Commission Row is part of the new Pacers Sports & Entertainment Complex’s Bicentennial Unity Plaza, according to Commission Row’s website. 

First announced in April 2023, Commission Row was designed and constructed by Shiel Sexton and RATIO Architects and Design, according to the NBA’s website. Cunningham Restaurant Vice President of Marketing Carissa Newton said Commission Row is managed by two entities: Pacer Sports and Entertainment and Cunningham Restaurant Group.

“It’s owned by Pacer Sports and Entertainment, and then it’s operated by Cunningham Restaurant Group,” Newton said. “The first piece is a restaurant on the main floor—on the ground floor. Downstairs is a speakeasy that’s open to the public—a bar, late-night bites—things like that. Then upstairs is an event space, and that event space can seat up to 250 seated or 400 standing.”

As a part of the new Pacers Sports & Entertainment Complex’s Bicentennial Unity Plaza, Commission Row has a pubic speakeasy, a bar and an event center seating 250 people.
Photo contributed by Jonathan Adams

According to the Public Commission Row Concept Overview, the name for the complex came from the name given to South Delaware Street in 1863. The name came from farmers selling their goods through resellers who would charge commissions for their services, according to the overview. Newton said the development of Commission Row had to do with the timing of the NBA All-Star game being held in Indianapolis.

“They determined their opening date because they wanted to be open prior to the All-Star game,” Newton said. “A couple of years back, it was the Super Bowl. Everything about Indianapolis was, ‘We must do everything to showcase the city for the Super Bowl.’ Well, this year everything is about All-Stars, all and everything is about the swimming trials. So those are the two ways that we can showcase the city. And so they built the plaza, and the restaurant sits on the outer rim of the plaza, so it just completes the project.”

According to the Commission Row Concept Overview, the building is located in Indianapolis’s Wholesale District, right next to Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Despite opening for the NBA All-Star game, Cunningham Restaurant Group sees Commission Row as something that will benefit the city long-term, Newton said.

“On the Cambridge side where the Pacers play the field house, that side of town of downtown Indy, it’s just not as populated with things to do, restaurants, events, things like that,” Newton said. “It’s really nice that they’re building out that portion of downtown. I think [Mass. Ave.] has been built out really well, and that has been a large part of Cunningham, as well.”

According to the NBA, Commission Row will stay true to its historical location by selling high-quality steak and seafood, such as Wagyu beef and caviar. This is the biggest selling-point along with the event center, according to Newton, as it offers a unique experience in Indianapolis. Newton said large events such as DECA, formerly Distributive Education Clubs of America, which attracts marketing students, could be served by Commission Row’s event center.

“The biggest thing is that they are extremely high-end steak seafood-focused. So heavy on the steaks and seafood, and they have in-house pastry experts,” Newton said. “They’re making pastry menus and dessert menus custom every day. And then in addition to that, if you were to book space for one of the events, you get the best of the restaurant or any other restaurant within the group so you can get access to the recipes.”

While the target audience may not be college students, Newton said, students can still take advantage of the employment opportunities resulting from Commission Row. According to Newton, one of the jobs she had in college was as a valet driver, similar to the ones available for Commission Row. There are also times when students may want to celebrate at the venue with each other or their family, Newton said.

“I think one is employment opportunities because students that’s very common is valet service jobs,” Newton said. “I know that’s how I survived college was service jobs, so I think that it will have [an] opportunity. I handed out a lot of the flyers to my students in class because it was just a way for them to get access to part-time work, get the learn[ing] out. I think the other piece is when your parents come to town and they want to take you somewhere really nice to celebrate, that’s where I would pick. That’s where I’d want to go. I’d want to go to a game and then go to the restaurant.”

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