South Bend, Indiana – With the turning of the calendar to July 1, this Saturday, a host of new state laws will come into force. One of these changes is of particular interest to the restaurant industry and families: children, under adult supervision, will now be permitted in the bar areas of dining establishments.
Local restaurant proprietors in South Bend have responded positively to the policy shift.
“This development will be beneficial for numerous bars and restaurants that offer both food and alcohol, and want to expand seating options for their customers,” remarked Steve Lowe, the owner of South Bend Brew Werks.
However, Lowe also clarified that although minors under 21 years old will be able to access the broader bar area, they will still not be allowed at the actual bar.
Other South Bend restaurant owners, including Shawn Todd of The Cellar Wine Bar and Kitchen, share Lowe’s sentiment and regard this as a beneficial development for local dining establishments.
Todd reasoned, “There are plenty of neighborhood residents with children who would like to relax here, possibly watch a game on TV, and enjoy the bar atmosphere instead of the family section. Given that this practice is allowed just a few miles away in Michigan, why shouldn’t it be possible here?”
Mark McDonnell, the founder of the LaSalle Hospitality Group, linked the former law to outdated Prohibition-era regulations in Indiana.
McDonnell expounded, “According to Indiana law, if you were not yet 21, you were not allowed to sit at any table that didn’t have a barrier between the bar and the seating area. As of July 1, this will no longer be the case.”
This legislation does not mandate changes, but rather, it opens up the possibility for bars and restaurants to decide whether they want to offer more family-friendly seating arrangements.