Council expresses concerns before approving liquor license transfer
Last updated 4/29/2021 at 8:32am
Attorney Greg Szallar, representing 3 Rivers Beer, LLC and its owner Sahlom Sadag, said this would be the company's third location following one in Philadelphia and another on Hamilton Avenue in Pittsburgh. The 2,650 sq. ft. location would offer beer and self-serve pre-packaged food items to eat-in and take out.
Mr. Szallar said there would be no dedicated bar area and they didn't plan on selling wine or liquor at this time. Hours have yet to be established, but could be what Pennsylvania law allows: 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Sundays. They are also planning to offer home delivery of up to 192 ounces of beer, the same limit as take-out, during the same hours through a third-party vendor.
The restaurant will have 32 seats and have four full-time and two part-time employees. There will be no live entertainment, pool tables or juke boxes on premises.
The attorney said employees will receive Responsible Alcohol Management Program (RAMP) training. The business will not offer off-street parking for employees or customers.
Mr. Szallar estimated there will be between five and ten video surveillance cameras in use on the inside and outside of the business. The number of cameras will be determined closer to the final build-out of the space.
Councilman Nick Viglione commented he didn't like the idea of people being able to buy alcohol "up and down the avenue" and if people wanted to buy a six-pack, there's a bar down the street for that. "We don't need them up and down this avenue, we're trying to clean this avenue up. I don't think we need people serving beer everywhere," he said.
Mr. Szallar countered they weren't going to be a convenience store, that they wouldn't be offering gas or sundry items. The business would be a place where people could come in for or take out a meal and have a beer inside or take it out. He also mentioned again the ability to have food and beer delivered through a third-party vendor through an online ordering system.
Councilman Aaron Graham stated there have been issues in the borough with problem bars and asked it the transfer is approved, that the owners of the business consider not serving beer before 11 a.m.
"If you're talking about being a responsible owner in our borough, having that early morning crowd that it brings in, is not responsible and it will be a detriment to the borough, and will make you at odds with us and our businesses for the type of crowd that will come in," he said.
Councilman Francis Heckman objected to offering home beer delivery from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. He suggested stopping the beer delivery at midnight.
"There's no reason they have to deliver from 12 a.m. until 2 a.m. in the morning. They're just asking for problems," he said.
Mayor Frank Bernardini expressed concerns the business would draw patrons from not only the borough, but the surrounding areas also.
"It's been nothing but problems before and it's still problems today," he said.
After further discussion the borough council went into executive session for 25 minutes before returning for a vote.
In a roll-call vote, council members Amber McGough, Christina Reft, Aaron Graham and Dave Lowe voted to approve the transfer, councilmen Nick Viglione and Francis Heckman opposed. Councilman Paul Doyle was not present.
Council member Reft said even though she voted yes to the liquor license transfer, she wasn't in support of it and felt according to law the transfer would be approved.
Council President McGough also didn't think it was a good fit for the borough, but looked forward to working with the business in the hope that it could be something positive.