Pittsburgh public safety workers empty 3 South Side bars, fine owners for overcrowding
Public safety workers emptied three South Side bars this weekend and fined the owners for overcrowding.
Inspectors suspected S Bar, Elixir and Levelz had too many patrons when they visited during a check on Saturday night, fire Chief Darryl Jones said. Everyone had to leave each bar while police, fire and building inspectors counted each patron on the way out, Jones said. Records from the Bureau of Building Inspection list Levelz as having 65 people above the occupancy limit; S Bar with 46 over; and Elixir with an extra 10 people. Messages left with the bars or attorneys representing the owners were not returned on Monday.
Jones said he issued six citations to each bar for fines of more than $6,000 each. Jones said Elixir has been cited for overcrowding in the past. He wasn’t sure whether the other two bars had been.
“I thought that was substantial enough to get their attention,” Jones said. “You start to get overcrowded, you can have a disaster.” Jones said exceeding occupancy limits can be dangerous in the event of a fire or other emergency.
The roving team of investigators inspected 13 South Side bars, the latest in the weekly saturation details started by Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl in January. It was the first time they “dumped” a bar suspected of overcrowding, Jones said.
“We’ve been trying to work with them,” he said. “When you have the same people over and over again, they’re not getting the message.”
Before swarming the South Side on Saturday, the teams, joined by Public Safety Director Michael Huss, inspected four bars in Homewood on Friday. The violence in the neighborhood, including shootings and open-air drug dealing, prompted the checks, he said.
“Wherever we’re having issues, we’re not afraid to take the inspectors out to make sure the establishments are following the rules,” Huss said.
Each bar — Lady Di, Serenity, Phase II and D&E — received multiple citations, according to records from the Bureau of Building Inspection. Violations included emergency lights that didn’t work, locked exits and other issues. Owners of those bars couldn’t be reached.
Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or [email protected].