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Licensing makes bar counting possibly a matter of perspective

Updated: December 30, 2013 12:04PM



CROWN POINT — According to a story in USA Today, sourced to the marketing research company Infogroup Targeting Solutions, the highest number of bars per 10,000 residents is Pittsburgh with just under 12.

The conclusion may be true in big cities, where they can count bars as bars. Not so in Indiana.

Within the City of Crown Point there are about 14 per 10,000. This number could be considerably smaller, but none of the liquor licenses are issued just for bars in this city because of State of Indiana rules.

All of the city’s 42 establishments serving alcohol list themselves as restaurants that happen to serve alcohol, when in truth many are bars that happen to serve food. The reason for this is that registering as a restaurant is the only way they can be open on Sunday in this state. Therefore the 14-per-10,000 statistic includes restaurants that have a liquor license to serve their dining customers, not a belly-up-to-the-bar tavern.

These figures do not include the number of two-way (beer and wine only) or three-way (beer, wine and hard liquor) liquor licenses either active or pending within the city boundaries of Crown Point. Some locations have more than one license. Some are just being held because of the marketability of those licenses.

When purchased from the State of Indiana the cost is not that high. The state sets the maximum number of liquor licenses in a municipality by its population. When the state-issued licenses are sold off and then have to be purchased on the open market they can get very expensive.

It is extremely lucrative to buy and hold on to a license. The licenses can only be held for so many years and then must be used. Therefore many of these “extra” licenses are transferred among family members or partners, so the year counts start over again.

All of the licenses that are represented here are from the records in the secretary of state’s office.

Private clubs have to have a liquor license and they are included in this count. Included are the: American Legion, Eagles, Moose, and Gary Sportsman’s Club. Also listed include Wittenberg Lutheran Home and Sts. Peter & Paul Macedonian Church. The last two do not have an open bar. It is used for catered events, but they both do hold permanent three-way liquor licenses.

None of these establishments are franchises. They are all locally owned small businesses or private clubs, except for the City of Crown Point. The city also owns a two-way liquor license for use within the new adult softball stadium off of North Street. Park department employees must carry a liquor-serving license to sell at the concession stand.

The licenses do not include any of the temporary event permits issued by the state for special events or any of the package good stores which includstores that sell only Monday through Saturday.



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