UPDATED: State College Bars Making 'Very Big Sacrifice' for State Patty's Day, King Says
UPDATED @ 1:42 p.m. Feb. 24: A thorough rundown of which State College establishments will be closed for State Patty's Day -- and which will be open -- is available now through this page.
Earlier coverage is available below.
UPDATED @ 8:08 a.m. Feb. 23: Sharkies Bar and Thifty Bottle Shop, 110 Sowers St., has indicated that it, too, will be closed Saturday, State College police Chief Tom King confirmed.
In addition, he noted, Kildare's Irish Pub, 538 E. College Ave., plans to close at 6 p.m. Saturday and to take other steps to prevent excessive drinking.
Also, the suspension of alcohol service planned by the Atherton Hotel, 125 S. Atherton St., will be in effect all weekend, according to the hotel.
An earlier report is posted below.
Earlier report, posted @ 5:42 p.m. Feb. 22:
The volume of downtown-State College bars, restaurants and beer shops vowing to cut off alcohol on State Patty's Day has already doubled from 2011 numbers, borough police Chief Tom King said Wednesday.
By Wednesday afternoon, at least 13 downtown establishments had announced plans to halt alcohol service all day Saturday, the unofficial drinking holiday. At least three others had declared they would reduce their alcohol-service hours.
Among the most recent State Patty's announcements, the Atherton Hotel reported Wednesday that it will not sell alcohol Saturday. (Details about some other establishments' announcements are available via the links below.)
King has encouraged all liquor licensees in the downtown to stop or limit alcohol service for State Patty's Day, now entering its sixth year. He made similar requests of beer distributors and liquor stores across the Centre Region.
Briefing reporters Wednesday, King said he has a firm Saturday-closure commitment from at least one borough-based beer distributor. (It was not immediately clear which distributor made the commitment.) In College Township, the W.R. Hickey beer distributor has announced it will close early Saturday.
The four state-owned liquor stores in the Centre Region have made similar pledges, saying they will shut down at 6 p.m. that day.
"It's not a small sacrifice that these bars, distributor and the state liquor-store system are making," King said. "It's a very big sacrifice. It's a financial hardship to some extent.
"All these people are saying: 'The issues impacting our community are so great that we're willing to sacrifice some financial gain on this day ... ," he added. "The public needs to recognize the great efforts and steps the bars, liquor stores and distributor are making to help the community."
King had additional praise for the Penn State Greek system, which has announced plans to curb parties and alcohol consumption on State Patty's Day. He said students have taken an increasingly central role in discouraging businesses and other organizations from supporting the holiday.
"I think the student involvement, the alternative activities that have been organized by students and other community members, and the actions of the bars ... are having a positive impact," King said.
While police calls have increased each year since State Patty's Day started in 2007, King said he's hopeful that the numbers this year will break that trend. For one thing, social-media trends seem to suggest less engagement with State Patty's, he said.
But "the reason I'm so hopeful that it will be a turning point is the active role of students and the business community in the downtown," King said. " ... The students are taking a leadership role in saying this isn't our event; we didn't start it. ... This isn't what they're about."
On the enforcement side, he said police will have more officers on duty Friday night and Saturday than they did last year. He did not cite specific figures, though. State Patty's Day has emerged as the busiest time of year for the borough police force.
On the residential front, King has encouraged landlords to monitor their dwellings closely over State Patty's Day weekend. Some of the major downtown apartment complexes have increased their weekend security plans, he said.
Begun by students as an alternative to St. Patrick's Day, State Patty's Day has gained popularity well beyond State College, having attracted visitors from nearby states in past years.
At this point, King said, he is unaware of any chartered buses expected to bring out-of-towners to the valley for State Patty's Day 2012. (That was an issue last year.)
More complete coverage is available via the earlier reports linked below.
- Lion's Den, Shandygaff to Close for State Patty's Day; Liquor Stores to Shorten Hours (Feb. 16, 2012)