You know how we feel here at NPS when it comes to generic hotels. The good news is that this trip (off season and not on a game weekend) the Grant Street Inn had our favorite room available. Needless to say, this place beats the heck out of the Hyatt Place.

So here we are in room 31. Sadly the fireplace has been disconnected and no longer functions. In fact, there are a few things that could use sprucing up…like better furnishings, no ancient radio, no phone that plugs into the wall, and some outlets built into the bedside table. You can do it guys!!

The first trip of 2020 started out great with a last minute upgrade from United who seems to have changed their upgrade policy to make things more nail biting for Global Services members. Not sure how we feel about that.

And then there was the hilarious stretch limo that the car service used to get us from Indy to Bloomington.

While in Bloomington, visit the Irish Lion for a stiff drink. And have some food at Anyetsang’s Little Tibet Restaurant.

The Grant Street remains our favorite location to stay in Bloomington. Four showerheads.

Though NPS has lost track of just how many times we’ve stayed at the Grant Street Inn, our previous visit seems to have been in October 2015! Whoa. Well, it’s nice to be back.

The good news is that room 30 was available (or rather, became available) for this visit. Thanks to the staff for freeing it up!

The fireplace in 30 no longer seems to function

The bed, on the other hand, functions just fine.

Still no opportunity to try out this hot tub thing

The plastic shower can be forgiven due to the hot tub thing. We guess.

It was a nostalgic visit this time, back to the town where NPS went to grad school. The weather was awful, rainy and chilly, so, as a result, much time was spent inside.

A new cocktail club in town called C3 Bar is worth a visit. Had to teach them how to make a Lion’s Tail, but they did a fine job. The food is good and beats the kind of weird suburban location hands down.

A visit to the Irish Lion was an absolute blast as always. So much laughter! And great Sazaracs made with Whistlepig 10 rye.

Back up to four showerheads for the Grant Street Inn. One of these years, maybe the hot tub will come into play.

I have been coming to the Grant Street Inn for about twenty years ever since they opened. They know me, and theoretically they know that I am a big fan of room 30. Alas, on this trip they put me in room 31. The room is nice, but its biggest feature is also its biggest flaw.

The room 31 pod sticks out by 7th street

The room 31 pod sticks out by 7th street

The problem with 31 is noise from the 7th Street bus route. It’s OK during the day, but it starts early. Room 30, just around the corner from the pod is much quieter. And room 30 has a fireplace and a nice shower thing with a hot tub feature.

The deck off 31

The deck off 31

The door to the outside deck is very nice. And the deck makes a great place to delete email as big buses rumble by.

Room 31 Grant Street Inn

Room 31 Grant Street Inn

Room 31 Grant Street Inn

Room 31 Grant Street Inn

Bathroom/sink area room 31

Bathroom/sink area room 31

The shower in 31 is reasonable. It is a cube with glass, but not as fancy as it could be.

The shower is reasonable

The shower is reasonable

While in town, try restaurant DO for some interesting Korean food.

Anyway, for forgetting that I really prefer room 30, the Grant Street gets a temporary three showerheads. Until next time!

Spring at the Grant Street Inn

Spring at the Grant Street Inn

As a creature of habit, I always look forward to returning to my favorite haunts. The Grant Street Inn is my Bloomington home away from home. And room 30 is my room…though they changed it up!

The stylish new sink console. Nice.

The stylish new sink console. Nice.

Big huge tub shower thing remains intact: room 30

Big huge tub shower thing remains intact: room 30

Yes, the ceiling is tiled.

Yes, the ceiling is tiled.

Traveling at the height of Spring in Virginia is a tough row to hoe, but at least it is the height of Spring here too!




Four perpetual shower heads forever. Plus a garland of flowers.

Very sad Bloomington news though, the Rail has closed. This leaves precisely zero high end mixology bars in town. So it will be the Irish Lion for some bourbon I suppose. So bummed.

Dinner at Janko’s.

Well, more like thunderstorms. This week is wet. Fortunately, the Grant Street Inn will provide umbrellas for those guests too clueless to plan ahead with the Interwebs.

Radar around Bloomington

Radar around Bloomington

Sometimes I miss the thunderstorms in the midwest. You can see them coming for miles and then they arrive in a hurry. Lightning, thunder, heavy rain in sheets, wind. It’s not tornado season now, but those happen too.

Sometimes I don’t miss the thunderstorms at all. Here’s what it sounds like at 6am in room 30.

After some finagling during prep for this trip, room 30 magically became available. The management does know its guests. As always, the only place to stay in Bloomington is the Grant Street Inn. Room 30 has a good shower.

Rainy days on Grant Street

Rainy days on Grant Street

In other news, Farm is OK, Soma coffee is still the best in town, the Irish Lion continues to have an outstanding selection of fine bourbon and rye (served by delightfully sassy waitresses), and The Rail will serve you breakfast for dinner if you want, along with a world class cocktail.

Try this little number, whose clever name escapes us:
1.5 oz buffalo trace bourbon
.5 oz eldorado 8 yr rum
.25 spiced honey syrup (1:1 with cinnamon, allspice)
.25 amaro abano
3 dashes mole bitters
Stir down, serve on the rocks with an expressed orange peel dropped in. (this drink needs to be adjusted toward the bitters.)

Almost forgot, United Express (operated by Shuttle America) flew a nice new Embrear 170 this trip. No net, but plenty of room for a commuter jet. Then again, it was April Fools Day.

There have been so many visits to this fine property over so many years (almost all in room 30) that I will skip the pictures this time.

Here’s a VINE posting from the porch

If you stay anywhere in Bloomington, Indiana, stay at the Grant Street Inn. Four perpetual showerheads forever.

In other news, the Irish Lion has a very nice selection of decent bourbon. Rumor has it, they will have a shipment of antique collection bourbon soon. Meanwile, rye concoctions with Handy Sazarac Rye are available.

I’ve been here in the Fall and at the height of Spring. It’s always beautiful in Bloomington.

Grant Street Inn in Spring

Grant Street Inn in Spring

The Grant Street Inn is expanding. They even moved the front desk around (watch out if you used to come waltzing in the back door). But I am in room 30 as always.

I had the window open during a midwest Spring thunderstorm. Awesome.

CIMG0356 CIMG0354

Of course I had to stop by The Rail for a drink. It is excellent as usual and continues to thrive. Tallent is a serviceable restaurant but needs some help in the wine department. Serendipity, which fancies itself a martini bar, is utterly avoidable. Great atmosphere and really terrible drinks. Really. Terrible.

A consistent four showerheads for the Grant Street Inn. Maybe they have glass showers in the annex?!

Fall is gorgeous in Indiana, and today is a beautiful day.

October at the Grant Street Inn

Now that my company has an office in Bloomington and I am still advising the School of Informatics, I will be here more than ever. The Grant Street Inn is the absolute best place to stay in town, hands down.

Our office is on one corner of the courthouse square. Here is the courthouse itself.

We exist!

I am staying in room 30, my fave. Here is a new picture of the shower/hot tub thing.

Huge shower built over a hot tub. (There is plastic involved. Alas.)

The sink console in the bathroom goes nicely with the buttons that control the electricity.

A steady four showerheads for the Grant Street Inn.

On the mixology front, The Rail continues to impress. What a great space and what excellent people. While discussing bourbon arcana with the owners, I came across two new ones for me:
Rock Hill Farms which is a bit hot but a nice mixer similar to Blantons
Parker’s Heritage #6 (10 yr) cognac barrel finish from Heaven Hill

An Old Fashioned, properly concocted with Parker’s is superb.

As always, Soma is the best place for espresso in town. Fresh squeezed orange juice, homemade muffins, and real coffee. What’s not to like?

The Grant Street Inn is my go to hotel in Bloomington, and a good thing too, since my company is opening an office in Bloomington!

This trip coincided with a launch party for our new office, with a guest list of 150 business leaders, academics, and local politicians. And we somehow picked the Thursday before graduation to do this?! Thankfully, Paul Wagoner saw to it that our people were all properly accommodated during the busiest weekend of the year for hotels. Thanks Paul! We’ll all be back.

Since there are plenty of previous pictures of room 30 (my fave), I opted for an outside looking in picture this time.

Room 30 from the outside. You can tell why it is a reasonably quiet room (even on graduation weekend).

In other news, the breakfast room (which I never seem to have time to eat in) has been remodeled and expanded. The new addition across the street should come on line very soon.

The new breakfast room look.

Bloomington is a great little town, and Grant Street Inn is the best place to stay. Four showerheads (plus some).

In mixology news, The Rail (as rumor had it in Indy) is a very good bar indeed. I was fortunate to meet both of the owners. Andy Butler is a Bloomington native wine guy who lives in Napa. His partner’s name escapes me.

After concocting a Liberal (incorrectly using Averna instead of Amer Picon or Torani Amer), we attempted to recreate the Cynar Stinger from Indy and were bummed to discover that there was no white creme de menthe around. So we moved to the bar and Matt McDaniel mixed us up a (still buggy) drink called

Montenegro’s Revenge
2 oz Zaya rum
1 oz Carpano sweet vermouth
.5 oz Montenegro bitters (good stuff)
.25 oz Cynar
2 dashes of Angustora bitters

So what are the bugs? Well, the simulator says we should adjust this drink as follows:
2 oz Mt Gay Eclipse (lose the varnish flavor and sweetness of Zaya)
1 oz Carpano (same, but could use Dolin’s Rouge)
.5 oz Montenegro bitters

Cynar plus angustora plus Montenegro is just too much going on. We’ll try it out at home later this month and let you know how the adjusted version comes out.

In any case, the experimenting was a blast. I can’t wait to return.

I’m back in Bloomington, Indiana at the Grant Street Inn, and it looks like I will be back a bunch since we’re opening an office in this town. (Remember that Sesame Street song “One of These Things is not Like the Others”? Well, Washington:NY:London:Amsterdam:Santa Clara:Bloomington).

I am also back in room 30, which I described in an earlier post. I think I neglected to mention the fireplace last time. One of those gas jobs with pretend wood. Nice on a chilly winter day when it was trying really hard to snow all day.

Pretend fireplace. Cozy and yet pretend.

I still haven’t tried out the big hot tub thing (except for the shower bit). Why is it that there is never time for soaking on these trips?

Some Bloomington commentary:
Finch’s is a great place for a business lunch, especially if you like Frites.
Wearing a NY dress coat to the Upland Brewing Company is an interesting thing. Tattoos would be more fitting.
The Scholars Inn (think cow) might have the best bar in town, which is kind of a bummer since they can’t make anything truly interesting (no Picon, no Lillet Blanc, no Crem de Violette, …). We need to import some mixology to Indiana.

If your itinerary calls for Bloomington make sure you stay here. Four showerheads.