As you venture downtown this Saturday searching for libations, just east of the courthouse on 4th street you’ll find a celebration in progress that will be hard to miss. A well loved local bar will be celebrating its one year anniversary this Saturday - Digby’s Pub and Patio.
We spoke with owner Mike Felt to discuss the upcoming celebration.
RR: I read on your website, that the bar is named after William Digby, one of the founders of Lafayette. The young Digby was reportedly well-liked, and well known for his prowess at gambling, fighting, and drinking. I think I can speak for most Mike, when I say that you yourself are certainly well-liked around town. Do you consider yourself particularly accomplished at any of those other vices that William Digby was known for?
MF: Absolutely! Probably all of the above! (He laughs…)
RR: What is the actual anniversary date for Digby’s, Mike?
June 1st as Digby’s. However, we were opened as Avidity two months prior, on March 31st. We shutdown on April 30th, then reopened as Digby’s on June 1st after our remodeling.
Mike may not be the carousing gambler and fighter that the early founder was, but he shares one thing with Digby...a vision.
RR: Mike, tell us how Digby’s came to be.
MF: We saw our vision when we first bought Avidity. We knew what we were going to change it to when we opened Avidity. We already had a plan. We were going to shut it down and make some changes.
RR: So your epiphany came beforehand?
MF: Yes it did. The idea came to Jeff (Hamann) and I both. We didn’t have a name for a couple of weeks. We knew the decor we wanted, and the industrial theme that was going to be the interior, but we didn’t know the name.
Digby’s was the name that finally fit, and that was the only one we both agreed on!
RR: Out of how many names?
MF: Probably a hundred!
We were here about a 100 hours a week during the shutdown, from first light to closing. I look now and I see things undone from the rebuild that you only notice if you’ve been watching it progress every day from the ground up. It’s really something.
RR: But no one sees those flaws I’m sure. Have you ever had an idea consume you like that before?
MF: No, not really. This is my first bar, Jeff’s third. It’s been a lifelong dream of mine.
RR: Would you say it was on your bucket list then?
Exactly. Jeff started in the 90’s, and I’ve been doing this since 2000. Between the two of us, Jeff and I have a combined 30 plus years of bartending.
RR: We at RickerRocker have made it no secret that we call Digby’s our home base, and we have for some time now. We feel the decor lends itself to a working man’s atmosphere, but it still feels classy. Would you say this is what you we’re trying to achieve during its inception?
MF: Yes, I think it’s a great combination of both. Digby’s is a place where you can get off work from the office at 5pm, walk in wearing a suit and tie and have a glass of wine; or you can get off from your construction job, come in and have a bucket of beer. You fit in at Digby’s in both respects.
RR: Sort of a ‘dual clientele landscape’. What do you want people to see when they arrive?
MF: Clean tables, clean bar. A friendly staff. And the aesthetics...I take a lot of pride in the wooden walls and the old school lights. Our goal for the interior is to eventually have all handmade tables. Some have gears on them for instance, in keeping with the theme. Pete Pegan from Mainstreet Mercantile makes them. They’ve been around since 1972. Industrial wood-working. Very cool stuff.
RR: So you’re always improving?
MF: It’s definitely a work in progress.
RR: Are you excited about the celebration?
MF: Yes, we are very excited. I would like it (the celebration) to have been on the actual one year date, June 1st, but we’ve just been so busy. A year is a milestone for us, to see how far we’ve progressed in just 365 days. We have about 10 more employees than we had last year, and we’re preparing to add about 20 menu items - some of which will be available this Saturday at the anniversary celebration.
And this writer is certainly looking forward to that - :)
Digby’s will also host one of the largest bands in the area - The LSG - Lafayette Super Group, an assortment of like-minded musicians with frequent change-ups of personnel lending their talents to enhance performances.
RR: Is there anything else you would like to add?
MF: See you there?
RR: You bet - :)
The first time we went to Digby’s, we encountered a welcoming, industrial feel. Old school indeed. We had a nice dinner and came back later for drinks. The bar and wait staff made it undoubtedly one of the best times we’ve had in a very long time. We decided to call it home.
I doubt that we’ll ever have reason to change. See you Saturday.
Slow down Lafayette...and listen to some music. AND come see the gang at
Music review and promotion in central Indiana and surrounding areas since 2013