Images are what the building used to look like (run down and mostly empty), and the protest announcement printed out by the Meridian Kessler Neighbors Helping Neighbors Association. You can see a contrast to what The Sinking Ship's exterior looks like via the Indy On a Plate blog.
There are rumors that several homeless people had made their way into the structure before The Sinking Ship started renovation and construction. You can see what the inside looked like on The Ship's photo page.
You can still see what the strip looked like prior to the Ship opening up via Google Maps.
Now that the pictures are finished:
I attended the board meeting today that grants and renews alcohol licenses. One of my new favorite bars and restaurants, The Sinking Ship, has their license up for renewal. While they've had no violations in relation to their alcohol license (such as serving minors), a fringe neighborhood group known as Meridian Kessler Neighbors Helping Neighbors, has come out against the restaurant and wants it shut down.
The meeting was packed with supporters of the Ship with well over two dozen in attendance (with some leaving during the meeting since the Ship's hearing was last on the docket), as well as the owner and his representation. Despite the hoo-ha that the neighborhood group attempted, even distributing fliers (pictured above) encouraging people to protest the restaurant getting it's alcohol license renewed, only two people showed up to speak out and put their names on the record. Conrad Cortellini, one of the protesters, requested more time to gather evidence, and the licensing board granted his request, setting a date for a full hearing on August 15.
I had the chance to chat with Cortellini, a working architect and write-in candidate for Indianapolis Mayor (he also ran and lost to Len Farber, District 3, in this year's Democratic municipal primary), shortly after the meeting. He told me that he'd rather see a bakery go in the Ship's place. When I mentioned that a bakery, Scholar's Inn Bakehouse, closed down in Broad Ripple not too long ago, he theorized that the rent was probably what put them out of business rather than the lack of customers. When I asked him about the several other restaurants that have bars in the area, such as Moe and Johnny's and the Jazz Kitchen, he said those were different. He said the Ship had a recent special that advertised a gluttonous amount of food and alcohol (with the catch being that, if you consumed the entire meal, it'd be free), with the implication that these other establishments wouldn't put on such promotions.
Strangely enough, the person who distributed the flier, Paula Light, wasn't at the hearing. I kind of wonder why...
I also spoke to one of the owners of The Sinking Ship after the hearing. Andrew Hamaker asked if I would write a letter of support for the Ship, and I told him I'd be honored to. Personally, I think the owners should be given a medal for opening up a business and investing $500,000 in a strip that looked like crap prior to their investment. If you feel the same way, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org