Liquor license issue resolved for Casellula and bookstore at City of Asylum

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Wednesday approved City of Asylum Pittsburgh’s request to operate its bookstore on the same premises as the Casellula restaurant, at 40 W. North Ave., North Side.

The bookstore, which had been closed for two months, reopened Wednesday after the board’s vote. It was closed to keep the liquor license from being in jeopardy after the LCB informed City of Asylum’s owners earlier in the summer that another business cannot operate on a licensed premises, according to LCB spokesman Elizabeth Brassell.

Henry Reese, a co-founder of City of Asylum, said the decision was a relief.

“It’s just been a bureaucratic process,” he said. “I don’t like the process, but I understand it.”

City of Asylum Bookstore @ Alphabet City opened in January, as did Casellula, a wine and cheese-themed restaurant that originated in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. Owner Brian Keyser opened the second location in Pittsburgh as a complement to the bookstore.

City of Asylum’s mission is to promote and protect literary writers who are persecuted in their countries. It has provided sanctuary to writers from various countries over the past 13 years.

NOTE: This story has been updated from the original to correct Mr. Reese’s title to co-founder.


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