Carlisle restaurants excited about new expanded alcohol rules

Carlisle/West Shore

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) — There are new rules about how and where you can enjoy cocktails in Downtown Carlisle.

On Thursday the Carlisle Borough unanimously passed an open container ordinance to allow people to take their alcoholic beverages with them in the downtown area.

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This comes after the state cocktail-to-go ordinance expired last month, and lawmakers failed to pass a new law to put it back into place.

North Hanover Grille owner Chris Petsinis says a lot of restaurant owners were disappointed they couldn’t get it done.

“It was inevitable. Once the politics started playing into it we knew that something was going to happen. We’re hoping that that changes,” Petsinis said.

For his restaurant, the cocktails-to-go helped them get through the pandemic.

“Things like the outdoor seating, cocktails to go, we did really well. We did a lot of cocktails to go. It was actually huge,” Petsinis said. “It was something we never expected to have a big market. We thought ok it will help, and it was significant. So for us to have that again, it would be great. It would really help a lot.”

The borough’s ordinance isn’t the same as the cocktail-to-go rules, because people can’t take their drinks home. However, Mayor Timothy Scott says it does give restaurants and Carlilians more flexibility.

“You may leave the restaurant or tavern with that and walk around and enjoy our beautiful downtown on a beautiful evening in the summer,” Scott said. “Folks want to be treated like adults. We did this to assist our local businesses, to help them get through the pandemic.”

Restaurants are excited and say it’s just one of the ways borough leaders have helped them recover.

“Carlisle did it better. I’m just going to tell you that right now,” Petsinis said.

The businesses do have to get approval from the PA Liquor Control Board.

Also, they’re all still hopeful that, eventually, lawmakers do make cocktails-to-go legal again.

“We need our friends in the legislature to act on this as soon as possible,” Scott said.

For now, though, they’re celebrating this as a positive step.

“If we can adapt from what happened last year, I think we’ll adapt with anything. But it’s always nice to have the ability to do more,” Petsinis said.

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