City officials emptied two Shadyside bars this weekend when they moved their saturation patrols into the neighborhood for the first time.
Fire Chief Darryl Jones said the patrols had patrons leave William Penn Tavern on Bellefonte Street because it was over capacity and Steel Cactus on Walnut Street because some its exits were locked, lowering its maximum capacity to 49 people. He said he spoke to a manager at Steel Cactus and learned that the issue was resolved Saturday.
At both places, patrons were asked to exit and then were allowed to re-enter, with officials checking that the bars didn't exceed capacity.
Richard Rattner, owner of William Penn Tavern, said he thought the citation was the result of a misunderstanding. He said he was told verbally when he opened 12 years ago that 100 people could be inside the bar and an additional 100 could be outside and that the documentation officials referred to capped the number at 100 total. He said he spent Monday meeting with officials trying to sort out the matter.
"They were just doing their job," Mr. Rattner said. "Their job is to enforce the laws of Zoning and BBI and I guess to stay equitable. We understand where they're coming from."
Three other bars will receive less serious citations and others could be cited later this week when the bureau completes the necessary paperwork, the chief said.
The city began operating saturation patrols that combine police officers, building inspectors and fire bureau personnel this winter and earlier this month sent them through Homewood.