According to the Indiana Historical Society, the building that houses Tinker House Events is of substantial historical significance. The building dates back to the early twentieth century. The U.S Bank Furniture Company authorized it as a warehouse for their inventory. In 1915 the building was obtained by the company Wiegel Cabinet Company who utilized it until 1930. Later, a rag recycling company purchased the building. Since 1980, the building has been the headquarters for several organizations, including a scrap yard.
Tinker House Events launched in late 2016 in the building as a premium event space located on the second floor of the building. Founder and President Brian Willsey calls the aesthetic of the 4,000-square-foot space industrial-chic.
“The building developer wanted to keep the historical integrity of the building,” Willsey says. “The space has exposed bricks, huge industrial windows, wooden beams, and old radiators. Although the radiators don’t work, they lend themselves to an older feel. We gave it a modern touch with pieces from local artists, custom lights and doors. We’ve mixed in the old with the new.”
Willsey, along with his wife, Nabeela Virjee, were co-founders of Hotel Tango in 2014. His role was that of a jack-of-all-trades during the start of the business. Willsey, along with founder Travis Barnes physically renovated the building that is now the Fletcher Place tasting room, so he knows a thing or two about older buildings.
“The tasting room was hosting a lot of private events early on, which led to us having to shut down the space to the public on Friday and Saturday nights,” Willsey says. “We realized this wasn’t a stable long-term plan, and we needed to find another spot to hold private events. Tinker was the first iteration in that plan since it would also hold the new distillery operation. Ultimately, it was decided that Tinker House Events and Hotel Tango Distillery were better off operating as their independent business operations. My wife and I are both still minority shareholders in Hotel Tango to this day. Along with being investors, we are also big fans and proud of the company and the brand.”
The building is situated on the corner of 16th St. and The Monon Trail and is home to Hotel Tango Distillery and Provider Coffee and Cocktail Lounge on the first floor and a private business on the third floor. The second-floor event space offers sweeping views of the downtown Indianapolis skyline. Tinker House Events has hosted more than 2,000 events and can accommodate 200 seated or 230 standing guests.
“Certainly, weddings are our mainstay of the events we host,” Willsey says. “But, we’ve also hosted birthday parties, happy hours, corporate celebrations, holiday parties and fundraisers. We’re very active in giving back to our local community and fighting for those who are less fortunate. We’re eager to find any use for the space. We love highlighting it and for our guests to have a great time in a historic atmosphere.”
Willsey says Tinker House Events got in early on the redevelopment stage of the area. He says the neighborhood didn’t have much going on, but it continues to grow with the possibility of new restaurants and a co-working space in the pipeline. Foot traffic has increased with the addition of Monon Loft Apartments and the Oaks Academy Middle School. Willsey says the possibilities for the area are endless.
There are plenty of event spaces throughout Indianapolis and the downtown area. Willsey says there are several reasons Tinker House Events is chosen time and time again by customers wanting to host alluring events.
“All of the other event spaces in our city are awesome, but I think we’ve really leaned into our aesthetic here,” Willsey says. “We have some custom pieces that you won’t see anywhere else. We love mixing in local artists along with the historical element of the building. The other differentiating factor is the view of the Indianapolis skyline. You’re in the city with a more relaxing and chill vibe. It’s a little more slowed down area than being right in the downtown mix.”
Tinker House Events is located at 1101 East 16th Street, Suite 200. For more information, visit tinkerhouseevents.com or call 317-607-252.
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