Library Theatre liquor license in effect ahead of Yardbirds show

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Struthers Library Theatre Executive Director Wendy McCain holds the theater’s new performing arts liquor license in the portion of the building being renovated to be the point of sale. The theater will be allowed to sell alcohol during any event, starting with the March 23 performance of the Yardbirds.

Starting with the next performance, adults going to the Struthers Library Theatre will be able to buy adult beverages to drink at the show… or somewhere else.

The performance of the Yardbirds on Saturday, March 23, will be the first for the Struthers Library Theatre with its new performing arts liquor license.

In September, the theater sold beer and wine at a performance — the Glenn Miller Orchestra — for likely the first time in its history.

“It’s exciting,” Executive Director Wendy McCain said. “I don’t believe in 135 years we had ever sold alcoholic beverages.”

So far, those sales have been handled under an event permit. The theater was awarded six of them for the season. “You are only allowed six a year,” McCain said.

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry A vintage chandelier formerly located at Beaty Warren Middle School and, since the 1960s, in the lobby of the Struthers Library Theatre, will light up the inside of the theater’s new cafe.

That limit is gone with the new license.

“This is forever,” she said.

There is a limitation on the license — there must be some kind of event going on at the theater in order to make sales.

“We have to be doing something to sell, but you don’t have to be going to a performance to buy,” McCain said.

Sales will be handled by volunteer bartenders who will receive some training. The main points of the training will be making sure no minors are served and no visibly-impaired people are served, McCain said.

She was one of the first bartenders for the theater

For now, the theater will sell beer and wine. The license allows for liquor, according to McCain, and that is a possibility down the road.

Drinks will be served in special cups, provided by Whirley Drinkworks — which is the sponsor for the Yardbirds concert, that can be taken into the theater.

“We also want to be green and responsible,” McCain said. Patrons who purchase drinks at one event may bring their cups back to future events.

The southeast corner of the building — the cafe — is under renovation by Huck Brothers Builders of Russell to get ready for its new role.

“The community will dictate what this space is,” McCain said. “We won’t purchase anything until we know that we need it.”

The stairway down has been covered, eliminating a potential hazard.

Theater officials are looking at flooring options.

New tin ceiling panels were being installed on Wednesday. “The ceiling tile is new, but it’s traditional,” McCain said.

A vintage chandelier, brought in from Beaty Warren Middle School in the 1960s, which had formerly hung in the lobby,

Brick now stands exposed at points on the walls where there are structural supports.

As with the stage, the cafe — which will soon have a more formal name, according to McCain — will have a ‘raw’ feel to it. “That’s what’s endearing about the structure,” she said.

Eventually, the theater hopes to have an antique bar for the space.

Storage and sinks will also be required.

The cafe is a marketing tool for the theater — “we can do events in this space… open mic, karaoke” — and a convenience to patrons, but it also is expected to generate some new revenue.

“Sales were very good,” McCain said. “We did well all six times. Some nights were busier than others.”