Firing on The Sinking Ship 

I've met few people with discouraging words to say about Midtown bar and restaurant The Sinking Ship since it opened this February. The booze selection is great, the food some of the best in the city, the staff more than friendly, the atmosphere one of a kind.

But some aren't so enthusiastic.

A group called Meridian Kessler Neighbors Helping Neighbors — not to be confused with the Meridian Kessler Neighborhood Association — has taken on The Sinking Ship by remonstrating against the restaurant's liquor license renewal bid. Citing “negative impact of business practices," the organization issued a widely-distributed flyer asking for proof that the Ship was responsible for “public drunkenness, disorderly conduct, property damage, vehicle accidents or other adverse incidents."

Of course, just about any bar has served a patron or two who has become involved in an adverse incident. The organization's leader, Paula Light, might as well come out against alcohol itself.

Patrons of the Ship have rallied against the MKNHN's protest. “How could you propose to shut down a business that has had nothing but had a positive impact on your community?” one concerned Shipmate posted on the Facebook wall for MKNHN. “Why don't you work on building community instead of ripping it apart?” posted another.

A Monday morning meeting of the Marion County Alcoholic Beverage Board saw both sides in attendance. At the meeting, a representative of MKNHN was granted a continuance by the board, which has now effectively pushed back its final decision on the renewal to August 15. Thus, the battle drags on.

The fact remains that development in Indianapolis is a good thing. People like Sinking Ship owner Damon Lyden should be praised for taking the risk involved in rehabbing abandoned storefronts and launching new businesses, not punished.

“To me, the whole thing’s disgusting, and they should be ashamed of themselves," Lyden told NUVO. "They didn’t even talk to the neighbors they say they support before they even took this action against us. I guess the fight never ends with people like this.”

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