First Fridays are starting up in Havre de Grace on May 3 and two businesses were given authorization Wednesday to sell alcohol outside.
Rodger's House Tavern and MacGregor's will each have areas outside their establishments where they can sell beer on the first Friday of each month starting in May, after the Harford County Liquor Control Board unanimously approved their applications for outside event permits during its April 24 meeting.
Held from May through October, the First Friday events are coordinated by the Havre de Grace Main Street organization and encourage people to gather in the city's downtown area on the first Friday of the month.
To obtain approval for outdoor events, the liquor control board requires diagrams of each venue with plans for containment of alcohol and identification checks.
Appearing before the board in Bel Air on Wednesday, Wayne Meinschain, owner of Rodger's House Tavern on 226 N. Washington St., said that all people over 21 years of age would be issued wristbands, whether they are drinking or not, and there would be a security checkpoint at the tavern.
He said that his restaurant would also have a wooden fence outside containing those who were consuming alcohol.
"We want to be able to set up café seating so we can serve just beer outside in a fenced-in area," Meinschain said to the five-member liquor control board in Bel Air. "We did it last year and it seemed like it was a pretty successful thing."
During the 2012 First Fridays, Rodger's House Tavern had another type of fencing, according to Kathryn Thess, Harford County Liquor Control Board chief administrative officer and general manager, who indicated the wooden one may be more aesthetically pleasing.
One liquor commissioner asked how heavy the barricades were in the event that they needed to be moved, citing national security issues as a cause for concern. Meinschain said they were portable and weighed less than 75 pounds.
Before the board unanimously approved the permit, Thess said an inspector will go to the tavern to evaluate the barricades in advance of the May 3 First Friday kickoff event.
At 331 St. John Street, MacGregor's will also have an area outside for those drinking alcoholic beverages, which will be surrounded by barricades as well.
"We purchased interlocking barricades," restaurant owner Dan Lee said.
The barriers have what Thess called a "nautical theme," with colored canvas barricades delineating the drinking area from other parts of the restaurant.
"There's only one entrance in and one entrance out, which is the first entrance to the restaurant where we serve alcoholic beverages," Lee said, noting that at least five employees will be at the location monitoring the crowd and ensuring people are at least 21 to drink.
Both Rodger's House Tavern and MacGregor's were also approved to serve liquor outside during the War of 1812 bicentennial commemoration weekend.
On the heels of the May 3 First Friday, the permits for the weekend are effective from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. at Rodger's House Tavern and from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. at MacGregor's on Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5, according to Thess.