Even though cigar and Hooka bars were not included in Indianapolis' strengthened smoking ban, the businesses will still need to get a license to operate, and there are some concerns that the new requirements, under the law, could impact business.
"It's just relaxing," said Issa Khoury, general manager of Khoury's restaurant, market and Hooka bar in Broad Ripple.
Khoury's owner was still trying to find the necessary paperwork for the license Wednesday afternoon.
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"We think there is anywhere in the neighborhood of 12 to 15 businesses," said Adam Collins, an official with the Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement.
At the end of business on Wednesday night, only six business owners had paid the required $215 in annual fees and filled out the paperwork that makes it clear at least 20 percent of their income over the last year
had to come from Hooka or cigars, No one under 21 will be allowed in the businesses, and a state liquor license is required.
The liquor license is likely a problem for Lava in Broad Ripple that cannot sell any alcohol. Employees on site said they have hired an attorney, and they are looking into the new law.
"I'd be very suprised if we had ten cigarand Hooka bars coming into this," said Lindsay Grace, a Smoke Free Indy spokesperson.
"I'm sure that's going to be a challenge, and they'll maybe have to change the way they do business," said Corey Johnston, owner of Indy Cigar Bar.
Johnston said he is one of the few business owners who will not need to make any changes because of the new law. "I'm safe. I'm safe this week."
He also does not allow cigarettes unlike Khoury's.
"I'm going to give it a shot for a few months. If it works out for me, good, and if doesn't, it's easy to take it out and do fine dining," said Khoury.
If it turns out Hooka isn't their thing, the license can be transferred to another business that will not be able to offer their customers a smoke without it.
"I never heard anyone say cigarettes go well with bourbon, but I know cigars do," said Joe Pohrer, an Indy Cigar Bar patron.
Collins said they will first warn businesses that are not in compliance with the new law, and soon after, they could be slapped with a $100 fine as will the smoking patrons.
If the illegal activity continues, a court date will be set and those accused could face a fine up to $2,500.