INDIANAPOLIS - An Indianapolis bar on the city’s northwest side was cited early Sunday morning after police found 80 minors inside the bar, officials said.
Officers from the Indiana State Excise Police and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department arrived at Early Bird Bar & Grill in the 8300 block of North Michigan Road just before 2 a.m.
Police said they found 80 minors inside and dozens were drinking alcohol.
Some minors were as young as 13 years old.
Officials said police initially went to the bar to investigate a flier advertising a 13-year-old girl’s birthday party.
They ended up arresting 80 minors on charges of being in a tavern, and more than a dozen were charged in connection with illegal consumption or possession of alcohol, officials said.
"2 o'clock in the morning on a weekend, we don't see a lot of good excuses for why there are kids as young as 13 years old at this bar," said Travis Thickstun with the Indiana State Excise Police.
Adrian Tamayo, the owner of the restaurant, told RTV6 that he rents the place out in the evenings to supplement his income and he was not aware of what was going on at the party.
"I didn't know nothing about that stuff. A 13-year-old party, I didn't know nothing about that and the guy that's in charge, he didn't answer my phone calls. So right now, I've go to find out what's going on," Tamayo said.
Tamayo said he told the employee at night that he had to get a permit for everything and if he didn't do it than it is his problem.
Excise police aren't buying it.
"You're responsible for what happens at your place of business whether you're there or not. You have employees that you hire to essentially work there on your behalf," Thickstun said.
Thickstun said police will recommend pulling the liquor license of the establishment.
"That be OK and that be bad because I mean I tell that guy not to do nothing like that. If they want to suspend the liquor license, that's fine. I'm not going to say no and I'm not going to say why, because they got the right to do it," Tamayo said.
Police said one person was charged in connection with contributing to the delinquency of a minor after bringing her 13-year-old sister to the bar.
Excise officers cited Early Bird Bar & Grill, also known as Pancake House, on 80 counts of allowing a minor to loiter and one count of altering floor plans without approval, police said.
IMPD cited bartender Garcia Martinez, 27, of Indianapolis, in connection with violating three city ordinances: No dance hall permit, allowing minors to loiter and allowing minors to violate curfew, police said.
Officials said officers will seek revocation of Early Bird’s alcoholic-beverage permit when this case is reviewed by the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission.
Officials said juveniles who were cited Sunday morning were released to their parents and will appear in Marion County Juvenile Court on future dates. Others will appear in Marion County Superior Court on future dates.
Courtney Stewart -- who works with the Indiana Prevention Resource Center collecting data for the state on underage drinking -- said underage drinking has been declining in Indiana during the past 20 years, but there is still more work to do.
"We really do still need to talk to our kids, we need to have things going on in the schools," she said. "It just continues to show us that attention needs to be on this topic."