The troubled Monaca bar that was the scene of a brutal Thanksgiving day beating has reopened its doors with a new name and focus, although who is actually running the establishment seems to be a mystery.
The Blue Steel Bar was shut down on December 7th after a spot check conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police’s Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement division discovered their health license had expired.
But the bar reopened over the weekend, now calling itself the “Whiskey Rhythm Bar & Grill.” The bar has given up on hip-hop, which many attributed to the problematic crowds the business attracted, for country music.
“We’re not messing around,” Tracy Tharp, the bar’s operations manager, told the Beaver Countian. “We’re going country and southern rock and we’re going to have live country bands [...] We have already legally changed our name, it’s just a matter of getting a new sign now.”
Tharp insisted changes in the bar’s name and theme had nothing to do with recent events. “This was going to happen anyway, because someone new is leasing the building [...] The same people own the building, they lease it out.” Tharp declined to name the people who actually own the building, but said a man by the name of Kenny Evans would now be leasing the facility from them and running the bar.
When reached by phone, Kenny Evans identified himself as the “entertainment manager” for the bar and confirmed it had reopened with a country theme. When asked if he was now leasing the building and running the newly dubbed “Whiskey Rhythm Bar & Grill,” Evans stopped talking. “I actually have no comment about the bar and would appreciate it if I were not contacted [...] Don’t put my name in your article.”
County tax records show the building at 1198 Pennsylvania Avenue in Monaca is currently owned by Daniel McKendry and William Gongloff, neither of whom could be reached for comment.
The status of ownership for the bar’s liquor license also remains unclear, with no observable public notices hung on the establishment which would indicate any sort of legal transfer was taking place. Records maintained by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board show the license at the establishment’s address is still listed as belonging to “Blue Steel Valley Inc.,” the group behind the Blue Steel. Kenny Evans is not identified as an officer of that corporation.
Regardless of the type of music the bar plays, and who is now actually running it, Tracy Tharp said there may still be occasional problems. “People are people, and when they get drunk sometimes you can’t prevent it.”
The Blue Steel was under heavy criticism by some residents of Monaca over recent months due to a series of incidents that originated in and around the club, including a recent beating that was captured on a cellphone video. Monaca Police charged 6 men with felony Aggravated Assault earlier this month in connection with the attack.
Following the assault, District Attorney Anthony Berosh announced that his office would be looking into the bar, and weighing their options on how to proceed against the establishment. Berosh noted the Blue Steel’s liquor license is up for renewal in 2014.
Note: Updated 5:20pm to correct the spelling of Tracy Tharp’s name.