INDIANAPOLIS — A troublesome bar in the Christian Park neighborhood returns under new ownership with new hopes.
Bar 52 on English Avenue has held a liquor license for more than 100 years. Over the course of that century, the bar went from being a healthy establishment to a dangerous nuisance.
“I’ve lived in the neighborhood for the last 35 years, so I saw it going from being a great bar to just I was afraid to come in here,” said Greg Codozor, the new manager of Bar 52, “It was always a dark bar. You could barely see your hand in front of your face. The reputation was horrible. It had several big altercations, fights, even people getting shot.”
In 2018 a bar fight spilled into the parking lot. 31-year-old David Ballinger was shot and killed. Derek Whitt was sentenced to 20 years for manslaughter. The spot eventually closed down.
Codozor was a bit shocked when his friend Jagjit Mangas called to tell him he was buying the bar.
“I was like are you crazy? I literally came in here six or seven years ago, and I walked right back out,” laughed Cordozor.
When Mangas purchased the bar, it also came with an adjoining liquor store and a connecting vacant restaurant. Mangas and Cordozor began renovating the location inside and out. They say it took two months just to clean it up before renovations.
“The carpet was disgusting. I mean the place was shut down for two to three years, and your feet still stuck to the floor,” joked Cordozor, “We know people are still hesitant about coming, so the thing I recommend was that we got to have lighting outside.”
Cordozor will help build a new restaurant in the vacant space. There will be a window between the bar and the restaurant so bar patrons can order food as well.
“There used to be a place there called the Chicken Inn many, many years ago. They made some darn good chicken, and they had a window there, “explained Cordozor, “We would like to be able to make tenderloins, Phillies, Reubens, wings, and some home cooked meals. It was a dark, dingy place. We want to make it bright and uplifting by adding more TVs to make it more of a local sports bar than a hang out.”
Bar 52’s ownership will have security at the bar on weekends, and if necessary on weekdays as well. They hope to shed the dark past, even if the name remains.
“I asked Jagjit when he bought the place, ‘Why didn’t you change the name?’ He said, ‘I guess the liquor license has been around for 101 years.’ I mean thats crazy by itself,” said Cordozor, “I guess there is a grandfather deal where they can’t change the name.”