Lion’s Den, a bar downtown popular for hosting formals, has canceled all formals for the rest of the semester — and will likely not hold any more in the future.
According to owner Chris Rosengrant, the bar had “definitely over 20” formals scheduled for this semester before deciding to cancel them all.
Rosengrant made the decision after the Pennsylvania Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement showed up at the first formal.
“Liquor control showed up for the first formal, and there are very particular regulations when it comes to doing [a formal],” Rosengrant said.
This occurrence further informed him about the proper rules for holding events at a bar with minors, something that Rosengrant does not take lightly.
“I would get my liquor license taken away if I do not follow the rules,” Rosengrant said.
The rules surrounding bars holding formals are highly particular, even with the alcohol being locked up and not served.
The bar owner has to give a 48 hours’ notice to the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement, informing them of the event taking place.
Section 413-149 from Pennsylvania law states minors under proper supervision need an adult. The adult must be at least 25 years of age, one adult supervising per 5 minors. The adult can only supervise during the event.
If there were 100 minors at a formal, 20 supervisors would need to attend the event.
This policy has not been as strongly enforced in the past, but Rosengrant said he understands the bureau is becoming tighter on these rules, and he has complied with everything it has asked.
Another liability about hosting formals with minors are the “pregames” that normally happen beforehand, which is up to the organization and does not have to do with the bar.
In a hypothetical situation, if the bureau showed up to a formal and breathalyzed a minor who did not pass, the bar and student would be in trouble, regardless of where the student consumed alcohol.
“I do not want to put people or the business in a bad position, that is not something that I want and legally my hands are tied,” he said.
According to Rosengrant, formals started at bars about five years ago in order to maintain more order and have the events be more controlled.
Rosengrant began hosting formals because he wanted to give organizations a place to host them without spending too much money.
“We were not doing these for the money, even though there is a slight financial gain for it,” Rosengrant said.
Even though Rosengrant said he enjoyed letting organizations have a safe place to come enjoy their formals, it is legally too risky for his business and he would not want to cross a line with the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement.
“When underage people are in an unsupervised environment, more problems can happen,” Rosengrant said.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misidentified the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement as the Liquor Control Board. The Daily Collegian apologizes for this error.