Club XS, in North York, has begun serving free drinks after losing its liquor license earlier this month.
A commonwealth court has upheld the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s (PLCB) decision to take away Club XS’s liquor license. The PLCB cited several fights that took place outside the club as its reasoning.
Joel Weinstein, the owner of Club XS, believes that the court misread the facts. Weinstein was shocked that the court upheld the PLCB decision: “[Club XS has] been here for five-and-a-half years, and I’ve been in this business for 22 years and I’ve never had problems like I’ve had with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.”
He maintained that his club has never had any more problems than any other busy club. He is asking for reconsideration, but until then, he has been forced to change the nature of his operation.
A liquor license is not required when giving away alcohol for free. Giving it away to people of the legal drinking age is not illegal as long as the alcohol is truly free and there are no conditions in order to get it.
Weinstein is unsure of how long he plans to run his business in this fashion, but he does not see it changing any time soon. “This is the way the business will operate unless something changes, whether we get reconsideration, or we get a new liquor license when we qualify to apply for one,” Weinstein said in a phone interview. “For the present and for the near future, and I would say certainly for the next year, I anticipate this is the way that we will operate.”
So far the new business plan is working well for Club XS. “We were very well-supported last week, with this new concept. We had good attendance, everyone was very supportive and I think we made as much or more money than we would have selling alcohol,” Weinstein said.
The new business plan is still in its early stages. Weinstein mentioned that there is a possibility that nights when the club is less crowded could turn into bring your own (BYO) nights.
“It’s been less than a week so it is kind of hard to know what our business plan will be. As I say, we’re going to see where the people walk and then build the sidewalk.”
All drinks are free, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, the only exception being Red Bull.
There is no limit to the amount of free drinks each person can receive in a single night; guests can drink as many complimentary drinks as they want from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Of course the bar does reserve the right to refuse to serve someone who appears to be physically intoxicated or who is causing a disturbance.
Club XS has made one additional change in order to allow them to continue serving free drinks. “We now charge an entrance fee solely to come into the club to participate in the entertainment,” Weinstein said. “Most people seem to have come in, had a good time and not minded that we’ve had to up the cost to actually come into the club.”
Everyone must pay the entrance free, whether they are drinking or not. The entrance fee ranges from $15 to $20, depending on the event taking place. Regular events include college night every Thursda, and karaoke night every Wednesday and Sunday night.
Special events include swingers night, Latin night and drag shows. All the shows, events and DJ’s are the same as when the club had a liquor license, the only difference being that the entrance fee is higher and the alcohol is free.
(Photo Courtesy of York Daily Record/Sunday News)