Thursday, October 05, 2006

South Siders tell LCB 'enough already' to bar scenes

Chuck is a 'running mate' and he gets interviewed in the P-G about a pressing local issue, bars.
South Siders tell LCB 'enough already' to bar scenes

South Side residents and business owners say they are dismayed, but not surprised, that another orange 'public notice of application' for transfer of a liquor license has appeared on East Carson Street.

The notice of the pending application at 1311 East Carson has drawn a spate of protest letters to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

'Just what we need, another watering hole,' wrote Charles Nogal, who owns a ceramics business across the street. 'I think it is time to say enough already.'
A hell raising meeting was held last week on this issue. Jeff Koch didn't attend and he should have been there.

The meeting's prime presenter was Bruce Krane. Bruce Kraus was there and couldn't even keep his lips shut after being told to hold all questions and comments to the end, already. Yeah, we all know it is okay to call 9-1-1. Mr. Krane did do a nice job with the meeting.

We have a bar task force now on the South Side. It got decent coverage in the South Pittsburgh Reporter too. I'm sure that this group is making people quake in their boots now.

Presently, the South Side is over-run with bars.

Well, there isn't such a thing as a 'bar' in terms of the LCB (Pennsylvania's Liquor Control Board). There are places to eat and some of these place can serve drinks. Every 'bar' on the South Side, and wherever else, needs to be able to deliver 30 hot meals to qualify as a joint that meets LCB requirements. That's like three packs of hot dogs and a hot plate, -- check.

We all agree that there are too many bars. But, not all of us agree on what to do about it. I'm a freemarket guy and made the observation after the meeting to any who might care to listen that 20 to 40 of these 200-or-more bars on the South Side are going to go out of business as soon as the gambling casino opens. Perhaps the slots parlor is granted to South Side's Station Square, then what!

You won't need a 'bar task force' to thin out the competition in a few months.

So, as I see it: There are short term worries. Then there are long-term worries.

Task force actions need to think about life here, before and after the casino opens.

Many of the bars are on the brink. Some have gone out of business. It is hard to keep the lights on and make a decent income when there are so many places. They are eating each other's hope for any of them to have a sustained business.

Frankly, the ones that are now just getting opened, are here way to late. They'll spend money on the re-hab and ramp-up. They'll not have a decent ROI (Return On Investment). They'll need to do something 'special' to survive in this marketplace. Otherwise they'll die.

Perhaps 20 will not be able to meet payroll. Perhaps some others will have their gas cut as they've slid on their bills. Some might need to churn with new owners as there are always new suckers who think that they want to own a cool venue in a hot area. There will be some corrections and they'll come from the invisible hand of the competitive forces of the marketplace.

Gotta run for now.


Patrick said...

We don't have a bar problem on the South Side as much as we have a drunken idiot problem.

If we want to reduce the number of drunken idiots PER BAR, we could change fire codes to prevent bars from cramming hundreds of people into their establishments (and here's a novel idea - enforce the code!). But that doesn't reduce demand among patrons, it just keeps bars from making more money.

With all of these new bars opening, the question is: how do they all make money? Is there that much excess demand among area residents to drink on or near Carson Street? Obviously, the future bar owners think they can be successful, so at least THEY think demand is high and possibly expanding.

Why aren't the drunks drinking somewhere else? Let's remember: Pittsburgh and its surrounding suburbs are remarkably racist.

It used to be the Strip had the dance clubs, and Carson Street had the bars. Since the Strip is seen as "dangerous" (translation, white folks are afraid of blacks going to clubs on WAMO night and shooting up the place, possibly shooting innocent bystanders), bars on Carson who have dance floors are now booming with business from white patrons who are afraid of the Strip. And none of those dance clubs on Carson will dare have a WAMO night.

As a consequence, there are far more drunken idiots wandering the streets of the South Side, stumbling to their cars at 2am, potentially causing problems for residents and their properties.

If Walnut Street, the Strip, or Downtown (or somewhere else) would develop a night life that white drunks were not afraid to support, then there would not be as many new bars going into Carson Street. It's sad commentary on race relations and violent crime in Pittsburgh, but I afraid it's true.

Mark Rauterkus said...

Right on with that first statement. We do have a drunken idiot problem on the South Side.

Yes, again, we need enforcement.

Some of those other points -- I'm not so sure about.

I'm not a night club, dance club regular and have a hard time to make a strong statement from personal experience. :?

But, ... the Strip District has been a site for a few too many shootings. And, those shootings are a fast signal to customers to stay away. Hence, business es tank.

There are lots of ways to see investments go 'dry.'

All in all, I'd say that the South Side is a bad risk for those who are now wanting to make an investment into the nightlife scene around the core of the South Side.

Anonymous said...

Alright, generally, I am not against business, but it the way these bars go about their business --- little care for their surroundings --- either noise or litter. How about responsible bar owners only.

There's really only a handful on the South Side, responsible bar owners. And the ones that are responsible are laughed at by the ones that are not.

And that is the reason that I only patron only a handful of establishments here, and I live here. I've met the owners, I know that they care about my surroundings just as much as I do, or more. They realize their living is just as important as where I live. Hence they get my hard earned money.

I purposely did not go to the meeting because I did not want to even hear Bruce Kraus. Bruce is anti-resident, pro-business, and will lie to your face about this very fact (even though he lives here). He'll tell you this is a mixed business area, even though you live far removed from the Carson Street area. Totally wrong. I'm not Carson Street's parking lot. This is where I live. WRONG BRUCE KRAUS. DON'T VOTE FOR THIS DOLT.

As for Jeff Koch, well, he should have been at the meeting, but, not sure other than his ear at the meeting, what he can do.

Mark, what can Jeff Koch do?