Crime Watch 8

Large crowds outside downtown bar cause problems for other businesses

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Large, sometimes violent crowds outside a downtown Indianapolis bar have forced neighboring businesses to close early.

A video sent to News 8 shows a large group gathered outside Tiki Bob’s. Eventually the group takes off running, a fight breaks out and two people nearly get hit by a car.

A manager at Tiki Bob’s said the bar is aware of the issues and is working with both private security and off-duty Indianapolis Metropolitan police officers to help.

He would not go on camera for an interview but shared this statement with News 8:

“We employ vast amounts of security, people to do pat downs and bag searches, and have off duty IMPD in police issued vehicles every night we’re open. Any people we can identify in altercations get notified they are barred and we make every attempt to have IMPD explain to them trespass laws.”

John Hahn, Tiki Bob’s general manager

IMPD’s public reports show dozens of runs for various reasons to Tiki Bob’s address since the start of 2020, but police said they can’t confirm all of those reports point back to the bar.

Staff from surrounding bars said the situation has become increasingly worse. News 8 talked to one bartender who asked not to be named for her safety.

“It’s caused us to need to close earlier so that everyone that works here is getting out before all the commotion starts,” the bartender said.

At least two other bars — Taps and Dolls and After 6 — have made the decision to cut hours to ensure employees don’t get caught up in the crowds.

News 8 was also told that the Marion County Public Health Department has been in contact with several bars downtown.

A spokesperson said, “Inspectors have noted that staff at many of these establishments have made proactive announcements regarding mask wearing and social distancing to crowds gathered outside.
We will continue these efforts to collaborate with businesses in our community to protect health and safety.”

Over the past couple of weeks, News 8 received a handful of tips from other downtown businesses and staff about the crowds. None were willing to go on camera but claim there has been a growing effort from Tiki Bob’s promoters to get more people in the bar.