Carnegie bar investigated as nuisance gets license extension

PITTSBURGH — The liquor license for Hottie’s Martini Bar in Carnegie expired at midnight on May 31st, but the establishment will be allowed to continue operating, at least for now. 11 Investigates has learned the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board granted Hottie’s “temporary operating authority,” while the bar’s license renewal application is under review.

As 11 Investigates first reported in April, Carnegie Police, Pennsylvania State Police, and Liquor Enforcement officers are investigating Hottie’s as a “nuisance bar.” During the pandemic, the neighborhood tavern turned into a magnet for partiers from all over the area, after the establishment was repeatedly cited for ignoring COVID-19 safety rules.

Nearby residents told 11 Investigates Angie Moreschi they were fed up with all the chaos.

“Lights and sirens, tow trucks, drunk patrons exiting the property, causing all kinds of mayhem,” said nearby resident Jim Meinahan, at the time.

Video shows mayhem

Meinahan sent 11 Investigates video of the place on weekend nights. It showed everything from over-flowing crowds of rowdy patrons waiting to get in, to public drunkenness, and even individuals being arrested outside the bar.

“Public urination, broken bottles, beer cans all over the place,” said Frank Shimatzki, whose home is diagonal to Hottie’s.

“It’s constant turmoil on the street in the evenings,” added his wife, Ann Shimatzki, who has lived in the neighborhood for more than 70 years. “There’s always been a bar or restaurant in there, but nothing like this.”

Hottie’s temporarily closed after 11 Investigates first reported the bar was under investigation.

Now, residents and police tell 11 Investigates the rowdiness has calmed down considerably since COVID restrictions have been lifted, with many of the partiers likely returning to their former hang-outs.

Next step

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board tells 11 Investigates the next step for Hottie’s liquor license renewal will be a public hearing. That will give residents and police officers the opportunity to testify about their experiences and the nuisance bar investigation findings.

Following the hearing, which is yet to be scheduled, a hearing examiner will issue a report to the Liquor Control Board within 30 days. Then, the LCB will schedule a vote on whether to renew or deny the license. The board could also offer Hottie’s a Conditional Licensing Agreement, which would require the bar to abide by several terms for a period-of-time, before its license can be renewed.

One last option would be what’s called a “Conditional Licensing Agreement: offer in compromise.” That would require that the license be transferred to someone not currently connected to the business, and if it is not, the license would cease to exist. If the bar is sold, that is a possible option.