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Maggie’s on the River gets new liquor license

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Maggie’s on the River soon can sell alcohol once again at the Newell Street restaurant and bar.

The state Liquor Authority ruled Thursday morning to give Maggie’s a new liquor license after the restaurant/dance club/bar had failed to renew it in January. It has been operating as a restaurant since.

The Liquor Authority’s full board made its ruling at a hearing in Syracuse.

With the authority’s decision, co-owner Reginald J. Schweitzer Jr. said Thursday afternoon, Maggie’s will focus on the restaurant and banquet facilities end of the business. As part of the ruling, the third-floor dance club will be used solely for private parties, he said. The restaurant must close at 1 a.m., with the kitchen closing at midnight.

Mr. Schweitzer did not know when Maggie’s will be able to start selling alcohol again; it could be as early as today or take a couple of weeks. He expressed relief that the business can move forward.

“It’ll be a heavy load lifted off our shoulders,” he said.

According to Liquor Authority paperwork, the owners will operate “a restaurant similar in concept to a chain restaurant such as Applebee’s or T.G.I. Friday’s,” serving alcohol at the first-floor bar and to guests while they dine at tables. The second bar may be used only for private parties.

The Liquor Authority also set restrictions on the sale of pitchers of alcohol. They may be served only to parties of four or more who are all of legal age. Additionally, a customer may be served only two 24-ounce mugs of beer per visit.

Mr. Schweitzer said the Liquor Authority will continue to monitor Maggie’s.

“We assured them that there would be no problems at all,” he said.

In February, the club’s management was notified the liquor license had expired. An application for a new license was filed immediately, but it was denied because of information received from Watertown police indicating the club continued to serve alcohol after the old one had expired, a Liquor Authority spokesman said then.

In March, the Liquor Authority’s full board upheld an earlier decision to deny Maggie’s a new license.

Before the situation with the license, the Liquor Authority was contacted by the city Police Department regarding problems at the bar. Police had been called there frequently to deal with intoxicated people and large crowds gathering outside. In an incident the morning of Jan. 8, two women suffered minor injuries when another customer stabbed them with a pocketknife.

In November 2010, the tavern was assessed a $2,000 civil penalty after an investigator determined that a service window was being operated as a second bar, which was not approved in the license. In April 2011, an additional penalty of $3,500 was levied for having a “continuing pattern of noise, disturbance, misconduct or disorder.”

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