Bethlehem restaurant owners ask to serve open-container alcoholic drinks downtown to make it through the holidays

Written by on December 18, 2020

Bethlehem restaurant owners ask to serve open-container alcoholic drinks downtown to make it through the holidays

By Tyler Pratt

December 18, 2020

McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar along the historic part of Main Street Bethlehem. Photo courtesy of McCarthy’s Facebook page.

Bethlehem restaurant owners want permission to serve open-container alcoholic drinks downtown. Some city leaders say they support the idea, which might bolster sales despite new restrictions on indoor dining. However, WLVR’s Tyler Pratt reports, not everyone’s on board.

Listen to the story.

Several restaurant owners like Neville Gardner of McCarthy’s Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar called into the city council meeting this week to say they’re hurting. 

“I personally laid off three quarters of my staff on Friday right before Christmas.”

Gardner suggests the city look the other way when it comes to open alcoholic drinks downtown for – a limited time, like during Musikfest. Mayor Bob Donchez set out a memo this week calling the idea bad policy.

“On this issue – there’s reservation about legalities and precedent. And Musikfest is a little different time – with use permits, etc.”

Councilmember Brian Callahan says restaurants make most of their money from alcohol, and if nothing’s done, some restaurants might shut down for good.

“We have to find some way to help these businesses survive. It’s no one’s fault but it’s our job to try to alleviate some of the pain so they do survive.”

Several councilmembers appeared to support the idea, but it’s ultimately the mayor’s decision. The city’s business administrator, Eric Evans, says the mayor is looking at the idea, but it’s not as easy as swiping a pen.

The governor’s restriction on indoor dining expires January 4. 

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