C-H bond functionalization offers strategically novel approaches to complex organic compounds. However, many C-H functionalization reactions suffer from poor compatibility with Lewis basic functional groups, especially amines, which are often essential for biological activity. This study describes a systematic examination of the substrate scope of catalytic hydroarylation in the context of complex amino coumarin synthesis. The choice of substrates was guided by the design and development of the next generation of fluorescent false neurotransmitters (FFNs), neuroimaging probes we recently introduced for optical imaging of neurotransmission in the brain. Comparison of two mild protocols using catalytic PtCl(4) or Au(PPh(3))Cl/AgSbF(6)revealed that each method has a broad and mutually complementary substrate scope. The relatively less active platinum system out-performed the gold catalyst with indole substrates lacking substitution at the C-3 position and provided higher regioselectivity in the case of carbazole-based substrates. On the other hand, the more active gold catalyst demonstrated excellent functional group tolerance, and the ability to catalyze the formation of strained, helical products. The development of these two protocols offers enhanced substrate scope and provides versatile synthetic tools required for the structure-activity examination of FFN neuroimaging probes as well as for the synthesis of complex coumarins in general.