Cafe Case Study: Plat 99 at the Alexander Hotel, Indianapolis, IN

Modbar - 05.13.19

This post is another in our Cafe Case Study series. We interview cafe owners to learn about the vision behind their space, the demographics of their city and then ask them a bit about the equipment they chose and why they made that decision.

Use these case studies as inspiration for your own cafe dreams or simply to get a behind the scenes look at some beautiful coffee spaces around the world.

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The Details:

Plat 99, within the Alexander Hotel, serving Tinker Coffee
Space open since 2013; recent remodel to include a cafe component
Indianapolis, Indiana

Photo courtesy of Sydney Brackemyre

What made you want to open a cafe?

Photo courtesy of Sydney Brackemyre

Almost two years ago, one of the managers in a different area of the hotel came to me with the idea to activate our space during the day. Plat 99 is a beautiful space and remains open throughout the day for Alexander hotel guests to enjoy, so why not have coffee available all day?

Originally, I couldn’t see how we could fit all the equipment and make it work. After deciding that this was more than just “We should get an espresso machine” we started the journey that led to what seems like a natural extension of what we do best at Plat 99, great beverages. Now we just start serving them at sunrise instead of sunset!

How would you describe the brand of your cafe?

Photo courtesy of Plat 99

We’re lucky that we’ve had several years to figure out exactly who we are; we’re a place to come and get great drinks in a comfortable, beautiful space.  We’re just extending who we are to the morning time with the same focus and care we bring to cocktails creation and spirit selections.

Describe the location/demographics of the area where you opened. Why did you choose this area?

Plat 99 has been the craft cocktail bar inside the Alexander Hotel in Downtown Indianapolis since we opened six years ago. We’re just outside the main hub of downtown, with lots of business travelers through the week and weekend getaways on the weekends. We’re also part of the City Way neighborhood that’s popping up all around us, and we look forward to serving our guests as well.

What equipment are you using to make coffee? Why did you choose this equipment?

For espresso, we’ll be using the Modbar AV system. When we started looking to expand our business, one of the things I wanted was the ability of our baristas to interact with their customers the same way our bartenders do. Beverages, whether it’s coffee or cocktails, all have a story behind them: where and who made the raw product? What made us decide on this or that particular combination? What’s so special about this or that?

Photo courtesy of Sydney Brackemyre

Having such a sleek above-counter profile allows our baristas to answer these questions and interact with our guests, just like a bartender explaining their cocktail or leading a customer to some new thing they’ve never experienced before. My favorite thing is when I taste something new or different and am smacked with the realization “That’s really good, and I need to have more of that in my life.” Often times, it’s the passion and expertise of the people creating these experiences that lead you to those moments.

Describe your bar or customer flow. break this down for us. how did the equipment influence the flow? or vice versa?

Being such a carefully created space with the work that Jorge Pardo did designing the space, we try our best to keep the sightlines as clean as possible throughout the space.  The idea of a ton of bulky equipment on the bartop really didn’t appeal to me. When I found out about the styling and functionality of the Modbar system, I was so excited to get it into the space and really use the space in the mornings.

Photo courtesy of Plat 99

What’s one thing that makes your cafe special?

Art! In addition to Plat 99’s design being an art installation in and of itself, we’re just one of over 30 art pieces in the public spaces around the hotel.  It’s quite the stimulating atmosphere to match the drinks!

Photo courtesy of Sydney Brackemyre


Interested in connecting with the Plat99 team to learn more?

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