BELLEVUE (KDKA) — Friday night, something happened in Bellevue that hasn’t happened in that community since the 1930s.
Alcohol is being sold legally.
History was made around 6 p.m. Friday when the first drink sold since 1935 was sold at Grille 565 on Lincoln Avenue.
Grille 565 was granted the borough’s first liquor license after voters approved a referendum last spring.
The right to drink the first purchased alcohol in Bellevue after referendum went to Vince Dish. He won that right in a lottery, and he ordered a Cabernet wine, but then decided to give that drink to the man who got the liquor license, Mark Helbling. It was the end of a process that has been going on for years in Bellevue.
The campaign in May was not the town’s first to overturn the laws that kept Bellevue a dry town since the 1930s. In 2011, the effort failed. But proponents of liquor licenses for Bellevue won this time with 770 votes for yes and 427 votes for no.
Now that it’s here, the folks in Bellevue hope there’s development as a result, and not unruly customers.
“I just hope the community stays safe and keep it as a community setting,” said resident Mattie Lewis.
“I suppose I think a lot of people will come in for dinner. Maybe do a little shopping while they’re here,” said resident Marge Knable. She added that she just didn’t want too many bars, saying, “I never drank in my whole life, but those that do, that’s their business.”
Wilkinsburg also changed its laws this year. Salvatore’s Pizza poured its first drinks under the new law last month, and the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation (WCDC) hopes for economic development.
“It opens up a whole other area of business in Wilkinsburg,” said Marlee Gallagher with the WCDC, “and something that we’re seeing is a lot of breweries pop up in Millvale and places like that, so I think it’s definitely a nice option for Wilkinsburg to have now.”