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Liquor license reinstated at bar

By Staff | Feb 5, 2010

Tony's Pizza is again able to serve alcohol, following the reinstatement of its liquor license by the state ABCA. File photo by Michael Theis/Chronicle

Tony’s Pizza and Stonewalls Underground Pub has had its liquor license reinstated last Friday after agreeing to immediately eliminate their popular Wednesday “college night” dance party. Tony’s had their alcohol license suspended in the aftermath of a fight on late Wednesday, Jan. 20 which resulted in the non-fatal stabbing of a 26-year-old Shepherdstown resident.

Tony’s lawyer Chris Stroeh and West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration spokesman Gig Robinson emphasized that Tony’s has not been cited by the ABCA or local law enforcement, and that the alcohol license suspension was issued as part of a mandatory “cooling off” period intended not to punish, but to allow for an investigation into the fight and prevent any retaliation by those involved in the fight.

Robinson said that the ABCA’s investigation in the incident has been concluded that the owners and employees of the bar were not connected to the stabbing.

According to Stroeh and Robinson, the plan to discontinue college night originated with the owners of the restaurant.

The elimination of college night marks the end of an era for the bar, which has been running a Wednesday college night promotion since before 2004, when locals Carrie Corwine and Josh Hines bought the bar. “We inherited college night,” said Corwine in a telephone interview on Wednesday, adding, “we’re so much more than just college night, we’re Tony’s Pizza first and foremost. 60 percent of our business is food.”

Since taking over the bar in 2004, the owners have added a wing night on Tuesdays, live music on Fridays, and a open mic night on Sundays.

Corwine emphasized that Tony’s has only received one citation from the ABCA, back in 2004, since taking over the bar.

The reinstatement of the liquor license comes with some conditions which Tony’s must adhere to. For instance, Tony’s will no longer be allowed to employ a DJ on Wednesday night, nor can they market or host similarly themed events. Tony’s is also required to have an employee patrol the grounds of the establishment to ensure the safety of its customers and they must also clearly mark, identify and limit the number of underage patrons in the bar. Additionally, Tony’s is allowed to refuse entry to anyone who cannot provide a 2nd form of identification to verify the age. Robinson says that any failure to abide by these terms will result in sanctions against the restaurant and bar.

Tony’s is a popular bar for many local music fans. Its basement dance-floor and concert area are one of the few places in town where loud, electrified rock bands can play without fear of waking the neighbors.

“It’s very crucial for rock bands,” says Tucker Riggleman, bassist for local rock band The Demon Beat. “It’s underground, it’s basically a cave, you can be loud. The only other places where you can be loud are the men’s club and the train station which cost a considerable amount of money to rent out.” The Demon Beat had to reschedule their most recent concert at Tony’s as a result of the suspension of the bars liquor license.