Mr. J’s Bar and Grill will soon be able to serve hard alcohol if the restaurant’s request for a liquor license is approved by Kentucky’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Located on 15th Street in Murray, Mr. J’s Bar and Grill has been open for approximately three months. The restaurant currently has a malt license, which allows the sale of malt beverages such as beer.
Mr. J’s has more than 60 different kinds of beer, including seven on tap. But due to demand, James Hudgins, the manager of Mr. J’s, has recently applied for a liquor license.
Hudgins said the city of Murray has already approved his request for the license, and that he is now waiting on final approval from the state, where the application must be reviewed by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
The process for licensing includes an inspection by the Fire Marshal, the city zoning board and Health Department must approve the request and the city of Murray has to sign off on the license before it can be submitted for final approval.
The license will allow Mr. J’s to sell hard alcohol, in addition to the beer it already has available.
The type of license applied for is referred to as a 50/50 license, Hudgins said.
Because Mr. J’s is a restaurant with a bar, and not simply a bar, 50 percent of quarterly sales must come from food for the license to remain valid.
Hudgins does not believe maintaining 50 percent food sales will be difficult.
He said most people coming in to drink will eat while they are there, as well. He also said he does not believe that selling liquor will change the atmosphere of Mr. J’s in a negative way, but will only improve the restaurant.
Hudgins said more than 60 percent of his customers are students or University faculty and staff. He hopes that with the addition of liquor, his customer base will only get wider.
Hudgins applied for the liquor license after numerous requests from customers for drinks that he could not sell, and said his main motivation for obtaining the license is to better serve his customers’ wants.
“We just like to make sure we give the customers what they want when they come in,” Hudgins said.
Sherry Hudgins, wife of James Hudgins, is his partner in running the business.
She said she is excited to see how the clientele of the restaurant will change with the introduction of liquor sales, and that she is glad they will be able to offer a full range of drinks.
“If a customer wants it, we’ll have it,” she said.
The bar will truly be premium, Hudgins said, when they can make and sell any drink a customer requests.
Mr. J’s is open until midnight Monday through Saturday.
The restaurant features live music Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights, and karaoke Tuesday and Thursday nights.
The bar opened this semester after several renovations were made to the building.
Story by Kate Russell, Staff Writer