We all know by now that 34 of State College’s bars, restaurants, and bottle shops will not be serving or selling alcohol come Saturday. Unlike last year, there was still the prospect of some staying open up until Penn State’s announcement Wednesday. With payment dependent on the capacity of the business, some larger establishments were given more incentive to close this year, with the biggest receiving $2,500 more than they received last year. Even so, most bars make much more than that in sales each Saturday, so questions remain about just why all owners decided to close shop.
“We told them [Penn State] in December that we would not be open that day and would not be serving alcohol even before the offer came out,” said Levels’ manager Tim Crockett. Although it is voluntarily closing on Saturday, Levels will still receive the $7,500 from the university and borough since it has an occupancy of 520 people.
Another popular bar on the opposite end of College Avenue, Cafe 21o West, is also planning on closing Saturday.
“We decided to close one more year and accept the payment from the University,” said owner J.R. Mangan. “We hope that next year Penn State comes up with an alternative activity so that we can go about business as usual.”
Mangan also noted that he decided to close the bar only after the offer was made to him by the university and not voluntarily like in the case of Levels. Cafe’s capacity is also higher than the 350 person occupancy threshold, and the bar will receive $7,500 to close.
Penn State has promised in its letter to bar owners that this will be the final year that it will offer money to them to close. As Mangan mentioned, the university also promised to come up with an alternative activity next year: specifically, a winter festival. That remains to be seen, as the university reverted to the same tactic that they used last year to attempt to curb the negative effects of the student-sanctioned holiday. Hopefully, we won’t be dealing with another case of who’s closing this time next year.
Attempts to reach other bar owners closing on State Patty’s Day were not successful.