I just heard an outside-the-box suggestion I thought I should pass on: BYOB. Hear me out:
Open up, but don't sell liquor. Many people who go to bars go there to socialize and be entertained. Make it a BYOB venue. Spend the money you would otherwise spend on liquor to get great entertainment. Pay bartenders to make mixed drinks, and charge for the non-alcoholic ingredients. Charge reasonably for tickets to enter. Maybe spend a little to allow patrons "liquor lockers" for the night so they can keep their bottles/cans safe. Just brainstorming here, and I have no practical experience running a bar, so if I've missed something, do me a favor and let me know.