Pittsburgh City Council declared it closing time for new South Side bars today, voting unanimously against allowing a new BaBa D's restaurant at 2126 E. Carson St. to serve alcohol.
Council based its decision on an ordinance passed last year that creates a "saturation point" for alcohol establishments in large neighborhood commercial districts. Councilman Bruce Kraus said there are already 62 bars in the applicable part of East Carson -- nine more than the saturation level under the city formula -- meaning there can be no more.
He estimated that there are four bar stools in the South Side for every drinking-age resident.
"Enough is enough," he said. "Why in God's name do we need another alcohol license?"
Dourid Aboud, a member of the family that operates BaBa D's in Oakland and wants to expand to South Side, told council that his family intends to open a dinner restaurant with an 11 p.m. closing time.
"We would like to be able to serve drinks to people who come and eat at our place," he said.
"We bought the liquor license," he said. "We built a bar, hoping that the democratic process was going to work."
The City Planning Commission gave him its approval to serve alcohol, despite the saturation ordinance.
Council members said they had no beef with BaBa D's, but needed to back up their ordinance, which is now the subject of a separate court challenge, and do what they can for beleaguered South Side.
"I think it is a safety issue for the residents that live there, for the people that drive on the streets, for the students that are consuming all of this alcohol when alcoholism is a disease," said Councilwoman Darlene Harris. "And for us to allow more alcohol on that street, we're contributing to that."
"I don't think we got a fair shot," said Mr. Aboud after the vote. He would not say how his family will proceed.
More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.