Lawrenceville United, Lawrenceville Corporation, and six residents filed a protest/petition to intervene in opposition to another proposed liquor license at 5238 Butler Street due to community concerns about owner James Haney’s criminal background that were raised during their first application in 2013. The City of Pittsburgh and Representative Dom Costa also filed petitions to intervene.
We thank Councilwoman Deb Gross, Mayor Peduto, and Rep. Dom Costa for their leadership. We thank State Senator Wayne Fontana and State Rep. Adam Ravenstahl, who submitted letters supporting our efforts. We also thank Lawrenceville Corporation and the residents who filed a petition to intervene.
Stay in touch for further updates on 5238 Butler Street, including any upcoming hearings or community meetings.
As part of our open responsible hospitality community process, Lawrenceville United petitioned to intervene and oppose a person to person liquor license transfer to Sorrel’s Pub , LLC. Sorrel’s Pub, LLC, owner: James Haney and manager: Tom Simonic, seek to open a pub/ restaurant at 5238 Butler Street (former Bottles’ Pub) based on the concerns voiced by the community following a community meeting in 2013. LU opposed the transfer because of the reputation and character of the individuals involved in the transfer, their past experiences in the nighttime entertainment industry, and concerns with the overall business plan, or lack thereof. Sorrel’s Pub, LLC had been denied their liquor license approval by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board following a hearing in February where LU and partners opposed the transfer and provided testimony.
Sorrel’s Pub, LLC appealed the decision to the Court of Common Please. LU appeared in front of Judge Terrence O’Brien on July 29th with their pro-bono attorney – Tom Madigan of Pepper Hamilton, and in partnership with the PLCB. Sorrel’s Pub, LLC and their legal team argues that LU did not have standing to intervene as they did not represent the interests of the greater community. Following testimony from Lauren Byrne, E.D. of LU, the Judge did grant LU standing in the matter. The hearing proceeded and Sorrel’s Pub, LLC provided information regarding the reputation and character of their owner and manager. Thank you to the LC’s Moira Egler, Nighttime Economy Manager for the City of Pittsburgh Maya Henry, and Becky Thatcher of LU for attending the hearing. Thank you as well to the many individuals who submitted letters of support and signed petitions to support LU’s position.
Briefs will be submitted by all parties to the Judge, and the upon review, the Judge will make a ruling on the issue. Please call the office for more details or information.
The LCB denied their liquor license request, however the attorney representing Sorrell’s Pub, LLC is appealing the decision to the Court of Common Pleas. They are appealing both the decision that the LCB made saying that LU had standing to oppose and intervene in the liquor license transfer (saying that we are not located within the area nor do we represent the interests of those in the area). Additionally, they are appealing the overall decision made by the LCB to not grant the license.
Lawrenceville United will have to appear before Judge Terrence O’Brien in Court of Common Please on Tuesday, July 29th at 9:00 am. Our attorney will be present. It could last an hour or a few hours.
We have been asked to have individuals that are impacted there if they are comfortable to help us show that we do indeed represent those in the community. No one would have to testify but it would help us to have some of those impacted present with us. We do understand that the individuals involved can be intimidating, so we understand if you are unavailable or not comfortable but please let us know either way. The LCB’s attorney plans to attend as well with information on recent incidents involving the listed owner and manager of Sorrel’s.
Please let us know if you can attend, and please check in with your neighbors o neighboring businesses to see if they might be interested especially if they are locate within the 500 ft. radius of the proposed establishment. We can provide transportation.
Lawrenceville United office – 412.802.7220.
On February 6, 2014, Lawrenceville United, Lawrenceville Corporation, and Lawrenceville residents and businesses were joined by representatives from State Representative Adam Ravenstahl’s office and Pittsburgh Bureau of Police’s Nuisance Bar Task Force , and with support from Senator Ferlo, Councilwoman Gross, and Mayor Peduto’s Office for the Pittsburgh Liquor Control Board (PLCB) hearing regarding the Sorrell’s Pub (please include address) person to person transfer liquor license application.
The hearing went as well as to be expected and Lawrenceville United and Nuisance Bar Task Force representatives testified to concerns of the neighbors. Much of the conversation focused on the listed and owners’ criminal histories and/ or past history with irresponsible license management. We want to thank Tom Madigan of Pepper Hamilton for representing Lawrenceville United and working hard on behalf of the community.
A decision should be released in a few weeks. We will notify the community as soon as we are notified.
Lawrenceville United’s petition to intervene was accepted by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and a hearing will be scheduled.
A part of our Responsible Hospitality Community Process, a meeting was held on July 9, 2013 at the Door of Hope Church to discuss the Sorrel’s Pub. Applicants Thomas Simonic and James Haney were present in addition to their legal counsel. They presented plans to open a restaurant/ pub that would serve lunch and dinner, but that would also offer a late night menu. Liquor would be served from 7 am – 2 am, and the business would remain open later for food service. Concerns raised by community attendees included the applicants’ past experience in the bar/ restaurant industry, as well as issues that could arise regarding traffic, noise, and disruptive behavior. If any resident or stakeholder would like more information please call Lawrenceville United at 412-802-7220 or by emailing us at info@Lunited.org.