An Aberdeen restaurant whose owners say they need to be able to serve liquor to draw more business, was approved Wednesday for a tavern license that will permit liquor to be sold on the premises only.
Tushar Amin, licensee for Pool N' Pints in the Aberdeen Shopping Plaza, had been seeking from the Harford County Liquor Control Board an upgrade of its beer and wine license to one that allows it to serve liquor as well. Amin and Buzzy Hess, owner of the shopping plaza, appeared before the board at its meeting Wednesday in Bel Air.
Pool N' Pints got its license to sell only beer and wine on the premises six months ago, and Amin said his food sales are lagging. Of the sales volume the business does, 74 percent is alcohol, 26 percent is food, Amin said.
Amin said he'd like to make Pool N' Pints, which started with a European-style menu, a legitimate restaurant, which now serves more bar and pub type food such as cheese steaks, burgers and pit beef.
"We've tried hard with the food. If we get liquor in there..." Amin told the board, adding, "Food sales are just horrible."
The tavern license Amin applied for also would have permitted him to sell alcohol to be consumed off-site as well, and he said planned to create a retail area inside his building. The board, however, concerned about whether there is a demand for another liquor store in the area, hesitated about going that far.
The board's application coordinator, Judy Powell, suggested the restaurant could have a different class of tavern license than the one it had applied for, a license that does not permit off-premises alcohol sales.
The board was amenable to the change in the application, as was Amin, who said the retail aspect was secondary to being able to serve customers liquor when they come in.
He said he turns away multiple diners every night, once they learn they can't get a drink with liquor in it.
The owners of Northside Liquors in Aberdeen and Aberdeen Liquors notified the board beforehand they intended to protest the license upgrade Pool N' Pints, but neither attended Wednesday's meeting.
A temporary beer and wine license was granted by the liquor board Wednesday for the Havre de Grace Seafood Festival on Aug. 9, 10 and 11.
Organizer Lori Maslin told the board significant changes have been made this year to better control alcohol sales at the Oak Ridge Boys concert, planned for the night of Friday, Aug. 9, as well as during the rest of the festival.
There will be paid security, more volunteers and local Marines whose only job will be to monitor the gate to gate and lining the fences, Maslin said.
Vendors who move the fences will be fined and/or expelled from the event, she added.
Patrons will be issued wristbands and carded at the gate and at the beer trucks. Beer will be paid for with tokens, not cash, to better check for intoxication and the proper wristband, Maslin said.
Harford County Councilman Joe Woods and Team Joe Woods also received permission to serve alcohol outside at a campaign event July 4 in Bel Air.
Woods said the event, held in conjunction with the July 4 parade in Bel Air, will be behind his wife's Maryland Quartermaster store on Main Street, and will be fenced in with 4-by-8-foot political signs.
One-day beer and wine license were unanimously approved for Women's Challenge Inc.'s Jazz at the Manor June 28; Bel Air Downtown Alliance's First Friday and Girls Night Out on July 5 and July 18, respectively; and Ladew Topiary Gardens Inc. summer concert July 7, 14, 21 and 28.
The Greene Turtle in Aberdeen was approved for its outside even, a Beach Bash, on June 28.
Rodgers House Tavern, Laurrapin Grille, MacGregor's and Coakley's Pub were granted permission to sell alcohol outside during the upcoming First Fridays in Havre de Grace July 5. Rodgers House Tavern will be having outside sales July 6, as well, the date of the city's annual Independence Day Parade and fireworks.