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20-year-old IU student opens his own bar in Bloomington


IU student Conner Syrek poses with faculty of the School of Public Health outside Conner's Tap Room at 313 E Winslow Rd. Syrek, 20, opened Conner's Tap Room, though he isn't old enough to go inside when it's open. Courtesy Photo Buy Photos

Conner Syrek is an IU student who owns a bar, but he isn’t even old enough to go into it. 

He is only 20, so he is only allowed to enter Conner’s Tap Room when it’s not open. He checks that everything is working and running smoothly, and his dad runs the finances. 

Syrek is a Bloomington native, and he and his family would attend trivia night when Conner’s Tap Room was still Talkers Tap Room, and they would banter about opening their own place someday. 

When the past owner needed to sell the space, he approached Conner about it jokingly, but Conner decided to actually take the opportunity and bought it by using his savings, some money from his grandparents and loans.

“It wasn’t originally my plan, but he came forward with it and I mulled it over for a while and then after thinking about it I thought, you know what, that is a really solid opportunity that most people don’t actually find so, you know, I should capitalize on it when I can,” he said. 

Ken Syrek said the decision surprised him because Ken never took their conversations about it seriously. 

“I didn’t really dream that this would be a reality one day,” Ken Syrek said. “It was something we had talked about but it was really a surprise still.” 

Conner Syrek said he is excited to be a lot more hands-on with the business when he turns 21 next November. 

“There is something very special, especially to more townie people, when the actual owner comes into the establishment and meets with everybody and talks to them,” he said. “It makes people want to come back.” 

Conner is majoring in health and wellness but is considering a business minor. 

Though graduation is a couple years away, he plans to continue working with the tap room as a side gig. 

Right now, the place is offering various craft beers, but Conner Syrek said he is hoping they will be able to offer some local brews.

He also wants to start a beer school, which was something that used to be offered at another now-closed local bar, Yogi's Grill and Bar. Beer school is where a local brewer brings samples in for patrons and teaches them about their various beers. 

The tap room has a trivia night, and Conner Syrek has talked with others about adding a bingo and karaoke night.

The place does not sell food yet, though Conner Syrek hopes to someday. Instead, they’ve partnered with local food trucks. 

Jordan Davis, a family friend who helps with the business operation, said Doner Kebab, La Poblana and Kebab on Wheels have all been there before, and they should be getting a few others soon. 

Another future idea Conner Syrek has is to open a location closer to campus that will be more geared toward students instead of townies, but said he knows that dream is far off. 

“It’s a very slow process,” he said. “If there’s one thing I don’t do, it's overextend and I would like to build that or have that become a thing once this has garnered profit, which might take a while.” 

This location is far away from campus, so Conner Syrek said it is geared towards locals.  

This local feel can be seen in the decorations, which include a wall of photos of local veterans and lesser-known IU athletes. 

With five TVs, Conner Syrek said it is a good place to watch IU sports.  

Most importantly, Conner Syrek wants to recreate the camaraderie he saw at Talker’s Tap Room. 

“You knew everybody and you would walk in the door and everyone would be really happy to see you,” he said. “It's just that atmosphere where everyone knows each other.” 

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