Youngstown committee declines to vote on downtown bar patio proposal

By David Skolnick


The city’s design review committee declined to vote on a proposal from the Whistle and Keg for an aluminum patio structure outside the downtown bar.

Michael Thomas, who co-owns the business with his brother Joseph, said the Whistle and Keg at 101 W. Federal St. is the only downtown bar/restaurant without an outdoor patio, and they wanted to have what the other establishments have.

But the committee chose Tuesday to instead ask Thomas that he install an outdoor patio with a more sturdy material such as wood or wrought iron because the other patios downtown made of aluminum are falling apart.

“I wish we had never approved any of them,” said Charles Shasho, a committee member and the city’s deputy director of public works. “They fall into disrepair.”

Councilman Julius Oliver, D-1st, who attended Tuesday’s meeting but is not a member, agreed with Shasho that the aluminum patios “fall apart. My position is to have a stronger material.” Oliver’s ward includes downtown.

Thomas agreed to come back to the committee as early as next month with a different material, likely wood, for the four-table patio.

“We matched the material used by everyone else” downtown, he said. “But we’re happy to spend the extra money to get a stronger material.”

Thomas said he wanted to get the patio opened by May, but with this delay his goal is June.

The Whistle and Keg is on the corner of West Federal and Phelps Street in the former Friends Specialty coffee shop location. It opened in October.

It is a self-serve bar that offers craft beers. Each person who enters the bar checks in with an identification card and credit card to start a tab. They get a wristband with an embedded chip.

Customers scan their wristband on a pad in front of each of the taps and pour their own beer with a computer keeping track of how much they pour to determine the price.

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