Liquor board OKs permit for City Market beer sales

A local liquor board cleared the way Tuesday for the Indianapolis City Market to begin selling beer there later this fall.

The three-member Marion County Alcoholic Beverage Board voted unanimously to approve a carryout liquor license for the historic downtown site. The permit will allow the Indiana Brewers Guild to open a bar at the market featuring local craft beers to drink on-site and for take-out.

Jim Reilly, the market’s executive director, said market officials are still negotiating with the guild and hope to reach a final agreement in the next two weeks. The goal is to open the bar by mid-November.

Offering beer is the latest major attempt by city officials to make the market—now mostly a lunchtime spot for nearby office workers—financially viable. The market has struggled for years to break even and gets by now only with the help of city subsidies.

“It’s our feeling that by serving Indiana craft beer in the market we could greatly reduce —if not eliminate entirely– the city subsidies to the market,” Reilly said during the hearing.

Earlier this year, leaders announced a wave of renovations to the market, including tearing down the west wing and adding restrooms and elevators. They also plan to convert the east wing into a hub where bicyclists can shower and store their belongings. Renovations are expected to begin in November.

Reilly and others hope those changes—and, in particular, selling beer—will draw more people to the venue throughout the day and in evening hours.

The bar would be open 8 p.m. or later Wednesday through Saturday. The hope is that other vendors, which typically close by mid-afternoon, also would remain open later with customers flowing into the market during the evening.


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