Bar Owners Say Thanksgiving Eve’s Early Last Call Will Hurt Business

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The last call for alcohol went out at 5 p.m. on Wednesday. Pennsylvania banned liquor sales for on-site consumption on Thanksgiving Eve, one of the busiest bar nights of the year. It’s part of the effort to curb a record-breaking outbreak of COVID-19.

At Mulligan’s Sports Bar and Grill in West Mifflin, they started the Thanksgiving Eve party early, and the mid-afternoon crowd wasn’t too crazy about the 5 p.m. cutoff.


The restrictions are aimed at people like Eliza Resetar, a senior at Shippensburg University. She’s home for the holidays and hoped to party with friends.


“The time where we could all get together before all the holidays, and everyone’s home from school, it kinda stinks that we weren’t all able to get together,” said Resetar.


But she admits COVID-19 is a problem. There was an outbreak at her school.


“It started to spike a lot, so they sent us home,” she said.


Meanwhile, at Luke Wholey’s Wild Alaskan Grill in the Strip, most of their business is fresh seafood. But customers often enjoy a glass of wine or other beverages with their meal. Cutting off liquor sales, which have a high-profit margin, doesn’t just hurt the owner.


“It’s not just the business owners, it’s the staff. We’ve got 35 people that work here,” said Luke Wholey.


There was another early start to the celebrating at Mullaney’s Harp and Fiddle in the Strip. The singer had planned to play from 6 to 9, but now it’s an afternoon gig. Owner David Regan says it makes no sense because they social distance there, and he says it’s just delaying the inevitable.


“What’s going to happen — I shudder to say this — for what might happen, everyone’s going to come out Friday instead of tonight. So it’s just going to delay it. At some point you’re just going to have to be responsible for yourself,” said Regan.


And for bars that plan to thumb their nose at tonight’s restrictions, the Liquor Control Board and state police will be out patrolling.