Bloomington club opens for 18-and-over crowd, draws ire of city leaders

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Next week, the doors of Bloomington’s newest dance club will open up, but it’s already drawing criticism from local leaders.

That’s because the establishment, called Kilroy’s Recess, will not only serve alcohol but also allow anyone inside as long as they’re 18 years old.

The new venue will take the place currently occupied by Kilroy’s Dunkirk on Bloomington’s Kirkwood Avenue.

“I’m honestly excited for it,” said 18-year-old IU freshman Tanner Shapiro, “I don’t know if we’re going to use it a lot, but it’s honestly a good opportunity for 18-year-olds.”

The club will sell alcohol to those of legal age, and only in one designated area. But for a town with a hard partying reputation, city leaders are leery.

“It’s a source of concern from a public safety perspective,” said Mary Catherine Carmichael, Director of Communications for Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton. His office says it’s already asking state excise police to make sure the bar stays in compliance with all laws.

“I think since this is a new thing for the community, yes we will be keeping an eye on it,” said Carmichael.

Recess’s owners say they have a plan in place to keep underage patrons from being served.

“We’ve gone above and beyond with the safety procedures we’ve put in place for Recess,” said Kilroy’s marketing director Nicole Freeman, “we are not concerned about that.”

Kilroy’s says people 21-and-up will have their own entrance and be issued wristbands, along with only being able to buy alcohol in one specific area.

“It’s very important to make the point that we’re not a bar…it’s a venue, it’s a music venue,” said Freeman, “make that very clear.”

When pressed to clarify, however, that there is, in fact, a bar within the confines of Recess’s property, Freeman confirmed there is.

“There is a bar within the music venue but it’s going to be very closed off to anyone underage,” said Freeman.

Parents with kids under-21 we spoke with didn’t seem too concerned.

“I think it’s good, why not, right?” said Jill Pappas, whose freshman child attends IU.

“The kids are drinking anyways, the freshman are drinking so, I don’t think it’s going to make that much of a difference,” said another IU parent, Robin Cohen, “I’m not freaking out.”

Recess is set to open on August 23. City officials said they believe it is the city’s first establishment catering to the 18-and-older crowd.