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New cafe, Gavel, opens in Fountain Square

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A cafe will open Monday in a historic building on Virginia Avenue. 

Gavel, billed as “somewhere between a coffee shop and a cocktail bar” also serves as the lobby of marketing agency MilesHerndon in the Woessner building, 902 Virginia Ave. The cafe’s name refers to the building’s recent use by the county as environmental and community courtrooms.

Named for Jacob Woessner, who lived on the south side and ran a meat market and sausage factory, the building was constructed in 1915. In the past, it has housed a meat market, grocery stores, restaurants, barbershops, a beauty shop and a physician practice on the first floor with space for apartments on the second floor, according to Historic Indianapolis. In September 2018, tiki bar and restaurant Inferno Room opened in the first and second floors in the northwest part of the building. 

Gavel will offer a variety of tea, coffee and cocktails, along with snacks of charcuterie, cheese plates, chips and dip. The cafe will also serve panini and soups at lunch, general manager Kevin Sanders said.

MilesHerndon plans to develop the patio area outside the cafe to have outdoor seating and music in the spring, and a glass-walled room behind the main area will likely be a “laptop area” for patrons, Sanders said. In the future, Gavel could be available to rent for private events.

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