An Oklahoma City gun range cafe has attracted attention for seeking a liquor license.
But there’s more to the story than simply saying the gun range and cafe, scheduled to open this spring, hopes to offer both shooting and shooters.
“The gun range is not getting a liquor license. The restaurant is getting the liquor license,” said Jane Moran, 56, co-owner and marketing manager at Wilshire Gun, 615 W Wilshire Blvd.
The restaurant, called the Range Cafe, will take up 4 percent of the space in the 40,000-square-foot building, Moran said.
“(The restaurant) isn’t part of the gun range. The gun range area is completely separate from it. It’s housed in the same building, that is true,” Moran said. “But it’s not like there’s a bar in the gun range.”
Wilshire Gun ensures an alcohol policy focusing on safety, she said.
“Patrons are required to remove and secure all personal firearms from designated areas prior to consumption of alcoholic beverages,” the range’s policy states. “Consumption of alcohol requires scan of Driver’s License barcode which then denies patron access to any shooting range (firearm or archery) for the remainder of that day.”
In addition, Wilshire Gun’s safety officers will be trained in standardized field sobriety testing, Moran said. Employees will be able to spot and address guests’ impairment related to alcohol or other physical signs of stress or anxiety. No one can enter the ranges without passing safety personnel.
On April 10, Moran and other representatives from Wilshire Gun went before the Oklahoma City Planning Commission with a zoning application to allow for alcohol sales at the location. This was separate from the liquor license process, Moran said.
In basic terms, because alcohol has never been sold in the zoning district where the Wilshire Gun facility is located, business operators had to take the necessary steps to get it approved.
“We are applying for a ‘caterer/mix beverage.’ We are not applying to be a bar,” she said. “The parameters are that more than 50 percent of your sales have to be from food.”
Moran estimates 85 percent of their sales at the restaurant will be from food.
The fact was also brought up by Wilshire Gun officials that Oklahomans licensed to conceal/open carry firearms can already go to restaurants with their guns where alcohol is served.
Because their request was recommended for approval by the planning commission, the request will now go to the city council on May 27.
First for Oklahoma
While Wilshire Gun isn’t the first of its kind in the nation, it’s a first for Oklahoma.
Another gun range in Oklahoma City, H&H Shooting Sports, considered the addition of alcohol in their 4Ucafe restaurant when they opened it in the early 1990s.
A decision was ultimately made that it wasn’t a good plan for their operation, one founder said.
Capt. Brent Fairchild, with the state Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission, said this is the first time he has seen a place like Wilshire Gun seek a license.
“If they meet the criteria, we’ll give them a license. We can’t discriminate against anybody for anything,” Fairchild said.
He said he doesn’t see why the gun range won’t be safe based on the safety procedures that will be in place.
“It’s all going to depend on their ability to police themselves,” he said.
The ABLE Commission can’t make any final decisions on the facility’s liquor license until after the city council meeting.
Wilshire Gun will have 24 shooting lanes — a dozen 25-yard lanes, six 35-yard lanes and six 100-yard lanes — as well as 10 archery lanes, all with digital dispatch and retrieval of targets.
Moran said with the gun range’s inclusion of the rare, indoor 100-yard lanes, they have already started to attract shooting competitions from across the country and even the world. She is excited about the economic impact they’ll have on Oklahoma City.
Wilshire Gun will also feature a retail shop with custom “gun-fittings,” a members-only VIP lounge on the second floor, a simulator room with more than 600 scenarios, classrooms for one-on-one or group lessons and a state-of-the-art ventilation and filtration system in the ranges.
Moran said the business will stress a safe and comfortable shooting environment and responsible gun ownership.
Patrons are required to remove and secure all personal firearms from designated areas prior to consumption of alcoholic beverages. Consumption of alcohol requires scan of Driver’s License barcode which then denies patron access to any shooting range (firearm or archery) for the remainder of that day.”
Stated from the gun range’s policy,