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Kilroy's liquor license recommended for 1-year renewal


Members of the professional staff for Kilroy's on Kirkwood stand in front of Monroe County Alcoholic Beverage Board to renew their license. The commission met Wednesday, April 4, at City Hall. Ty Vinson Buy Photos

The Monroe County Alcoholic Beverage Board voted 2-1 Wednesday for a one-year renewal of the liquor license for Kilroy’s on Kirkwood.

Their decision came after two hours of testimony from Kilroy's representatives and impassioned citizens who argued the bar encourages excessive drinking and ignores community safety.

At the recommendation of board member Karen Howe Fernandez, the license is set to be reviewed after one year instead of the usual two.

“The community is saying to you, Kilroy’s, that we feel that there’s lip service being made to our concerns,” Howe Fernandez said.

Katharine Liell, a Bloomington attorney who serves as the board's current president, voted against the renewal.

She said she felt KOK qualified as a public nuisance based on community stories and a list of the bar’s 288 police calls since co-owners Kevin Duffy and Kevin Fitzpatrick took over, which was provided to the board by the Kilroy's team. 

Although KOK has no criminal violations on its license, citizens fought the renewal on the grounds that Kilroy’s has become a public nuisance and its owners lack good moral character – two other factors required in Indiana to maintain a liquor license.

Duffy, regional director Ross Freeman and lawyer Alex Intermill said the perception of a few residents ignored Kilroy’s involvement with the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce and its philanthropic contributions.

IU junior Adam Adelstein spoke in favor of Kilroy’s. He said he likes that the security is better at KOK than house or fraternity parties.

“The bar has fostered a culture of staying safe and looking out for your friends and those around you,” Adelstein said.

Kilroy’s fell under criticism in August after controversial marketing alluded to what the community thought were promotions of risky behaviors, including getting blackout drunk and preying on underage women. 

Duffy and Intermill said marketing materials must now be approved before being posted and be informational instead of editorial, and they are focusing more on their food sales.

Cathi Crabtree, 53, who is a leader of Monroe County's chapter of National Organization for Women, said she didn’t necessarily expect the permit to be denied, but she hopes the community’s presence at the hearing shows the owners of Kilroy’s that people are unhappy with the way the business is run. 

“I would like to see some evidence of responsible ownership before this permit renewal is approved,” Crabtree said.

A previous version of the photo caption attached to this story incorrectly named the board. The IDS regrets this error.

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