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Dante's Establishments to Close Bars for State Patty's Day

on February 24, 2011 6:17 PM

UPDATE @ 7:14 p.m. Saturday: The Phyrst bar, on the 100 block of East Beaver Avenue in State College, closed for the day at 6 p.m. Saturday. Earlier coverage is posted below.

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UPDATE @ 8:17 a.m. Friday: The Brewery, 233 E. Beaver Ave., State College, will close Saturday for State Patty's Day, as well, the bar has announced. That brings to at least seven the number of downtown bars that will not serve alcohol Saturday. An eighth -- the Mezzanine -- also is expected to close, according to downtown sources, though the establishment has not confirmed its plans to StateCollege.com.

Earlier coverage is posted below.

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Earlier report, posted @ 6:17 p.m. Thursday:

Dante's Inc., one of the largest and oldest restaurant groups in State College, will halt all its alcohol service Saturday in downtown State College, company directors said Thursday.

The decision means no alcohol will be served Saturday -- informally designated the college-student-led State Patty's Day drinking holiday -- at Bar Bleu, 114 S. Garner St.; Inferno, 340 E. College Ave.; the Saloon, 101 Heister St.; and the Deli, 113 Heister St., the directors said.

They said Bar Bleu, Inferno and the Saloon will close entirely for the day, while the Deli will remain open for food service only. The Deli also will offer a free, special menu for local volunteers engaged in a community-outreach effort. That effort, led largely through the borough government, is meant to temper State Patty's Day rowdiness.

Regular operations will resume for Dante's the following day.

"We feel a part of the community," said J.P. Mills, the Dante's director of nightlife and marketing. He underscored that company founder Andy Zangrilli was among the first longtime restaurateurs in town.

"It just was the right thing to do as a public statement -- not just to the students, but to the community," Mills said, referring to the State Patty's Day decision. He said the move is meant not as "a push back against students," but as "the responsible thing to do."

"We're (foregoing) a lot of money that day to make this statement," Mills went on. He said Dante's wants to help undermine State Patty's Day and contribute to its demise.

Two other downtown bars -- the Lion's Den, 118 S. Garner St., and the Shandygaff, on the 200 block of East Calder Way -- also will close Saturday, their operators have said. The Den and the 'gaff closed for State Patty's Day 2010, too.

A number of downtown sources said the Mezzanine, 420 E. College Ave., intends to close Saturday. But that establishment did not immediately respond to an inquiry Thursday.

At Dante's, Director of Operations Jennifer Zangrilli said stopping alcohol service for a day was a tough decision.

It was difficult, she said, because of the financial impact it'll mean for Dante's workers, many of whom are Penn State students. The company, which employs more than 300 people, will give up not only State Patty's Day business, but normal Saturday business, as well.

The hit will come at a particularly challenging time of year for the restaurant industry. Business typically trends downward during the cold winter months, putting cash in shorter supply for operators and employees.

But Dante's, Zangrilli said, is committed to employing "responsible business practices."

"That's one of the keys to our longevity," she said.

Dante's directors said the company's security staffers will be positioned Saturday outside its downtown establishments, in large part to serve as a neighborhood-watch-type presence.

Earlier coverage

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Penn State, State College Noon News & Features: Thursday, Feb. 24
February 24, 2011 12:03 PM
by StateCollege.com Staff
Penn State, State College Noon News & Features: Thursday, Feb. 24
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