Booze back at the Farmers' Cabinet

The interior and first floor dining room of the Farmers' Cabinet, with the large beer casks on the wall, in 2011. ( Michael Bryant / Staff Photographer )

The Farmers' Cabinet plans to reopen for business, with its liquor license, at 5 p.m. Thursday.

The popular bar at 1111-13 Walnut St. has been closed since Dec. 30.

It stopped serving alcohol the night of Dec. 18, when state police raided it and seized its alcohol after it was determined that the liquor license had been forged to make it appear effective; it expired Oct. 31. 

Matt Swartz, who described himself to police as an owner, was arrested on charges including forgery. He faces a preliminary hearing Jan. 16. The 800 containers of alcohol could be destroyed.

Swartz's name is not on the liquor license, and this fact may have spared the license itself from lengthy legal proceedings. According to Sgt. Dan Steele of the Pennsylvania State Police, the Liquor Control Board will take the case under consideration when the bar's license comes up for renewal.

The LCB granted Farmers' Cabinet temporary authority to sell alcohol, till Feb. 8. It is expected to issue a formal license, good till Oct. 31, after a review.

Edward McHugh, the bar's lawyer, would not describe the steps undertaken to restore its license, which had not been renewed because taxes remained unpaid. The state Revenue Department declined to disclose the tax debt, citing confidentiality rules.

An LCB representative said $1,420 in fees and an unspecified tax bill were paid Wednesday.