Monday, February 8, 2016

Arrested just for tending bar?

The state is cracking down on problem bars, and guess who spends a night in jail when the bar is raided? The often unwitting bartender.

Arrested just for tending bar?

A bartender wears cuffs during a Pennsylvania State Police "speakeasy" raid of the Sultry Lounge in Strawberry Mansion.
A bartender wears cuffs during a Pennsylvania State Police "speakeasy" raid of the Sultry Lounge in Strawberry Mansion. John Costello

Check out my story in today's Inquirer about the state's crackdown on bars with expired licenses. John Costello took some swell photos.

Quite often, the owners are not on the premises when the police come in. It's the bartender who is arrested and who faces charges of selling alcohol without a license. If the owner is on site, he or she may be charged, but police said that seldom happens. One bar owner and his lawyer called the bar during the raid. They were concerned only with the bar's alcohol and TVs, which were confiscated.

One bartender, sitting in handcuffs before she was carted away to jail, told me that she saw the bar's license, which read "07 08." But she didn't notice the fine print, which put the expiration date at Oct. 31, 2008. If you tend bar, you might take a look at the license at your bar to save yourself the hassle.

One other neat piece of information that may be relevant to those who enjoy "bottle service," in which patrons drop $200 or $400 on a bottle of top-shelf  vodka: The state police tell me that at Triada in Old City, one of the owners told him that he was filling empty bottles of Grey Goose and Absolut with Banker's Club that he had bought for $7 in New Jersey.

Staff Writer
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About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here.

Michael Klein Staff Writer
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