Babies in bars in Indiana
September 21, 2014 3:27 PM   Subscribe

My family just moved to Tippecanoe County in Indiana, and we're baffled by the seemingly arbitrary rules that dictate when babies are and are not allowed in bars and restaurants.

Many establishments are 21 and over, with no exception made even for infants. Some restaurants, though, do allow babies, even though they serve alcohol. A couple of restaurants have had certain doors you have to enter through if you're under 21, or restrictions on where you can sit if you're under 21, and one restaurant recently said that we couldn't walk past the bar area to get to the patio.

Are bars and restaurants just making up their own rules, or are there some relevant laws that will make sense of all of this? We went to the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission website and the full laws are 321 pages long. We haven't had this trouble in other states!

Note that mostly we're just curious about the patterns we've seen -- we're not looking for practical solutions like "Try calling in advance". Thanks a lot!
posted by parkin to Food & Drink (15 answers total)
 
My municipality distinguishes between establishments that make more than half of the money from sales of food, rather than alcohol (restaurants) and establishments that make half or more of their money from sales of alcohol (bars.) There are restrictions on when people under the age of 21 can be in bars but not in restaurants. It's possible that your county has similar laws.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:35 PM on September 21, 2014


When I lived in Indiana, the blue law were such that minors couldn't see the "bar area". That is why older restaurants often bifurcate at the entrance/reception area and why going with a a family to a pub still surprises me.

I think the law has changed and refined, hopefully someone else can weigh in. i offer this as a place to start thinking about the rules to develop a context.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 3:38 PM on September 21, 2014


Here's how this shakes down in my conservative middle America experience:

Restaurants always allow babies, even if they are restaurants that serve alcohol. Tread carefully here, though: in some places that attach elements of taboo to alcohol, Sitting In The Bar is a heightened thing. As such, babies might not be welcome in the "bar area" of a restaurant, even though they would be welcome just a few feet further from where liquor is stored. This is a highly nuanced phenomenon.

It's also worth noting that, in some places, the patio of a restaurant -- especially if it's connected to the bar and not accessible without passing through the bar -- is really more of a smoking area, and less of a "convivial sidewalk cafe" type of thing.

Bars outside of the hippest parts of New York and Los Angeles (and/or other liberal enclave cities?) do not allow babies as a rule. Even if they are bars that serve food.
posted by Sara C. at 3:47 PM on September 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


It has to do with the liquor license that the business has (and the type of license they are allowed to get depends on the % of their profits that come from food vs drinks, as noted above) and the state's enforcement laws.

Some types of liquor licenses state that underage patrons are not allowed on the premises at any time, ever. There's no exception for infants because infants are underage. It has nothing to do with the likelihood that the baby is going to have a drink, it's simply that no one under 21 is allowed in the establishment during business hours. Period.

In other cases, the underage patrons are not allowed in the bar area, at all, ever. This is basically the same as the prior example, but the rather than the exclusion being the entire premises it's a specific section of the building-- sometimes including a designated entrance. The business would have been required to submit some kind of floor plan showing the designated bar area when they got their liquor license, for enforcement purposes, and unless they want to risk often-heavy fines they'll be strict about keeping underage folks out of the bar area, even though that means that access to other areas (like patios) is restricted as a result.

In general, more restrictive licenses are required for places that want to serve hard alcohol in addition to beer and wine-- e.g. a "full bar"-- and the more heavily the place relies on alcohol sales, the bigger the bar area will be. Most places that have a full bar will have at least a bar area that's restricted to over-21 only during business hours, and in some cases the entire establishment may switch to 21-and-over-only at a particular time during the evening.
posted by Kpele at 3:53 PM on September 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


It looks like this is the relevant section of the Indiana Code:
Ind. Code ยง 7.1-5-7-10 : Indiana Code - Section 7.1-5-7-10: Minors in taverns prohibited

(a) It is a Class C misdemeanor for a minor to recklessly be in a tavern, bar, or other public place where alcoholic beverages are sold, bartered, exchanged, given away, provided, or furnished. In addition to other penalties under this subsection, the minor's driver's license shall be suspended for up to one (1) year in accordance with IC 9-24-18-8 and IC 9-30-4-9.
(b) It is a Class C misdemeanor for a permittee to recklessly permit a minor to be in the prohibited place beyond a reasonable time in which an ordinary prudent person can check identification to confirm the age of a patron.
(Formerly: Acts 1973, P.L.55, SEC.1.) As amended by Acts 1982, P.L.69, SEC.18; P.L.102-1983, SEC.7; P.L.79-1986, SEC.4; P.L.77-1988, SEC.7; P.L.1-1993, SEC.46.

IC 7.1-5-7-11
Exception for certain public places
Sec. 11. (a) The provisions of sections 9 and 10 of this chapter shall not apply if the public place involved is one (1) of the following:
(1) Civic center.
(2) Convention center.
(3) Sports arena.
(4) Bowling center.
(5) Bona fide club.
(6) Drug store.
(7) Grocery store.
(8) Boat.
(9) Dining car.
(10) Pullman car.
(11) Club car.
(12) Passenger airplane.
(13) Horse racetrack facility holding a recognized meeting permit under IC 4-31-5.
(14) Satellite facility (as defined in IC 4-31-2-20.5).
(15) Catering hall under IC 7.1-3-20-24 that is not open to the public.
(16) That part of a hotel or restaurant which is separate from a room in which is located a bar over which alcoholic beverages are sold or dispensed by the drink.
(17) Entertainment complex.
(18) Indoor golf facility.
(19) A recreational facility such as a golf course, bowling center, or similar facility that has the recreational activity and not the sale of food and beverages as the principal purpose or function of the person's business.
(20) A licensed premises owned or operated by a postsecondary educational institution described in IC 21-17-6-1.
(21) An automobile racetrack.

(b) For the purpose of this subsection, "food" means meals prepared on the licensed premises. It is lawful for a minor to be on licensed premises in a room in which is located a bar over which alcoholic beverages are sold or dispensed by the drink if all the following conditions are met:
(1) The minor is eighteen (18) years of age or older.
(2) The minor is in the company of a parent, guardian, or family member who is twenty-one (21) years of age or older.
(3) The purpose for being on the licensed premises is the consumption of food and not the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
posted by jaguar at 4:08 PM on September 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


(Which basically looks like: If there is an actual bar in the room, a baby or other minor can't be present in the room.)
posted by jaguar at 4:11 PM on September 21, 2014


The section before the one jaguar quoted says:
a) It is a Class C infraction for a parent, guardian, trustee, or other person having custody of a child under eighteen (18) years of age to take that child into a tavern, bar, or other public place where alcoholic beverages are sold, bartered, exchanged, given away, provided, or furnished.
(b) It is a Class C infraction for a permittee to permit the parent, guardian, trustee, or other person having custody of the child under eighteen (18) years of age to be in or around the prohibited place with the child.
(Formerly: Acts 1973, P.L.55, SEC.1.) As amended by Acts 1982, P.L.69, SEC.17; P.L.102-1983, SEC.6.
So I think this comes down to the definition of "tavern, bar or other public place where alcoholic beverages are sold, [etc.]" (to me, that ought to include anywhere restaurant serving alcohol, which is obviously not what it means; it's probably something in the license).
posted by hoyland at 4:29 PM on September 21, 2014


The exception comes in 11(a)(16).
posted by muddgirl at 4:31 PM on September 21, 2014


...and 11(b).
posted by muddgirl at 4:31 PM on September 21, 2014


hoyland, it specifically says minors are allowed in "[t]hat part of a hotel or restaurant which is separate from a room in which is located a bar over which alcoholic beverages are sold or dispensed by the drink," which took me a few slow readings to parse as "minors are only allowed in rooms in restaurants if those rooms do not contain an actual physical bar."
posted by jaguar at 4:40 PM on September 21, 2014


There can be a low partition between the bar area and the restaurant area. If a brewpub serving food has not put up such a divider, they can't treat the bar as separate and serve families with minors food. Seeing the bar is okay if this fiction of separation can be maintained.

Not defending it, just trying to explain.
posted by lathrop at 5:31 PM on September 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


Thanks, everyone! That helps a lot.
posted by parkin at 5:49 PM on September 21, 2014


Indiana is crazy strict about babies in bars/liquor stores, too. You can have an infant-in-arms and the liquor store will simply refuse you entrance; ticketing is aggressive and expensive. Other places I've lived with "no minors in bars" rules always ignored infants in arms but Indiana is NUTS about it. Be forewarned, they're equally strict about alcohol sales closing times, even if your transaction is already in process. (Like, you're buying beer at the grocery store, which you can buy with your regular groceries instead of in the Special Room, and 2 a.m. arrives while the slow checker is scanning your order -- sorry, you cannot buy that beer. That may be store policy rather than state law but stores are VERY DILIGENT because those tickets are expensive.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:03 PM on September 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


As escabeche pointed out, Sara C. is wrong. In Wisconsin, for example, you can even drink underage at a bar or restaurant as long as you're with a parent or spouse who is 21+.
125.07(1)a Underage and intoxicated persons; presence on licensed premises; possession; penalties.
1. No person may procure for, sell, dispense or give away any alcohol beverages to any underage person not accompanied by his or her parent, guardian or spouse who has attained the legal drinking age.
2. No licensee or permittee may sell, vend, deal or traffic in alcohol beverages to or with any underage person not accompanied by his or her parent, guardian or spouse who has attained the legal drinking age.
posted by JackBurden at 7:17 PM on September 21, 2014


Never gotten a second look in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Arguably a "liberal enclave", but presumably the relevant liquor laws are state-wide.)
posted by bfields at 7:58 AM on September 22, 2014


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