Liqour selections

South Bethlehem bar to reopen after legal battle over liquor licenses

A Southside Bethlehem tavern that lost the use of its liquor license late last month due to alleged breaches of its agreement with state regulators may reopen after a legal battle.

Tally Ho Tavern, 205 W. Fourth St., is scheduled to reopen Friday night after temporarily closing Jan. 29. Orion Restaurant Group III Inc., listed in court records as the bar’s liquor license holder and the corporate name of Tally Ho, had received notice that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board was placing the license on hold.

This meant that Orion Restaurant Group still had authority over the license, but was obligated to transfer it in the event of multiple breaches of its liquor license agreement. PLCB spokesman Shawn Kelly said the council only regulated the sale of alcohol, meaning Tally Ho owner Harjaap Chatha could have stayed open, selling only food and snacks. soft drink.

The Liquor Control Board withdrew the license due to alleged violations in 2017 and 2018 of Orion Restaurant Group’s conditional license agreement. (Find a link to the agreement here.) In January 2017, undercover alcohol officers were able to purchase alcoholic beverages without having their identities checked or scanned. In 2018, the tavern ran a loudspeaker that could be heard beyond the property line; failed to get out of the tavern half an hour after liquor sales ended; failed to remove patrons from tavern after 2:30 a.m.; and allowed to smoke in a prohibited area, according to court records.

Chatha is appealing the 2017 citation, which includes a $200 fine. All but the noise violation in the 2018 citation were dismissed in September 2021 by the Liquor Board after the parties appeared before an administrative law judge, Chatha had said. He paid the $400 fine.

Chatha on Thursday afternoon received an emergency injunction from state Commonwealth Court Judge Michael Wojcik to keep the liquor license active until he appears before an examiner for renewal of the liquor license, which expired in 2018. The judge also revoked the “custody” liquor license, under the ruling.

Prior to the council’s ‘custody’ action in January, Chatha was operating under temporary authority, the last granted in August 2021, pending liquor license renewal. The temporary license to serve alcohol is in effect until April 2022 or renewal – whichever comes first, he had said.

Theodore Zeller, the attorney representing Orion Restaurant Group, said he received confirmation that the liquor license had become active again, as of Friday morning. PLCB’s Kelly told lehighvalleylive.com that Orion Restaurant Group now has temporary operating permission from the Council’s Licensing Office to sell alcohol, but must display the letter at the bar as proof of this. authority.

According to the Régie des alcools, a temporary authorization can however be revoked at any time.

Zeller said his client would continue to fight the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board for “attempting to deprive him and his family of their privileges under the license.”

Meanwhile, Tally Ho’s liquor license renewal continues to be reviewed by the PLCB.

The board granted the license to Orion Restaurant Group in February 2017 under the conditional license agreement. The deal came after the council initially refused renewal in 2016. The original license was purchased under the bar’s previous owner in February 2014. The 2016 renewal was initially refused because the Régie Liquor claims in court records that there were 23 disturbances at the bar. Incidents include assaults, disorderly operations, visibly intoxicated customers, stabbings and a fight, according to the conditional license agreement.

Chatha previously said the majority of the incidents happened before he took ownership. Zeller, his attorney, claims the same and disputes the amount of alleged disturbance, saying the stabbing incident did not happen when Chatha was the owner. In November 2014, City Police responded to a knife incident outside the Tally Ho building.

Tally Ho is known for its pub menu and craft beer selection, as well as its DJs, karaoke, trivia and other late-night entertainment. It’s been a local favorite near Lehigh University since 1933. The tavern for decades served as a gathering place for steelworkers, students and residents.

The bar is normally open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday, according to the tavern’s website.

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Pamela Sroka-Holzmann can be contacted at [email protected].