Monmouth raises its glass as new alcohol era begins

MONMOUTH -- It was just after quitting time on June 18, and many of the people who had crowded around the bar inside Rookies Sports Pub had a shot of whiskey, tequila or cocktail staring back at them.



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Alex Trevino (green shirt) makes a toast on Friday, June 18, shortly before his patrons take sips of the first hard alcohol drinks poured and served at Rookies Sports Pub

MONMOUTH -- It was just after quitting time on June 18, and many of the people who had crowded around the bar inside Rookies Sports Pub had a shot of whiskey, tequila or cocktail staring back at them.

But they held off downing them -- some needing more restraint than others -- until about 5:15 p.m., as Trina Trevino rang the bell hanging above the back bar.

At that moment, business owner and husband, Alex, poured himself a drink, thanked his patrons and called out "cheers."

"Here's the pour heard around Polk County," he hollered, followed quickly by, "The bar is open!"

Monmouth's nearly 150-year prohibition on hard alcohol sales officially ended on June 17, exactly 30 days after residents voted down the law during the May primary election.

"It's awesome," said Frank Grennert of Monmouth over a Tequila Sunrise. "We've been dry a long time and now it's a whole new ballgame."

Trevino's Rookies received its full on-premises license to sell liquor on June 17, and went "live" the next day.

Main Street Pub & Eatery, the city's other bar, plans to have its ceremonial first drink today (Wednesday, June 23) at 5 p.m., attended by several civic and business leaders.

Owners of both establishments think the income generated from liquor sales will help with expansion of their respective businesses.

Trevino said he had originally planned renovations and improvements to his bar in August, but expedited them to take advantage of the changed liquor laws.

"I think we'll draw more customers," he said. "There's a lot of women who come in here who don't drink beer and would rather have a margarita or martini."

Ray Stratton of Main Street Pub was the primary force behind the signature-gathering effort last year that put the repeal before voters.

Stratton said he did formal training with his bartenders last week -- and planned to use today's ceremony as practice.

"It's nice that this is during the summer," he said. "It will help us work out the kinks."

Stratton said he intends to expand his kitchen and menu now that he has the ability to serve cocktails. Because his operation has now grown, he has also added more employees.

Though hard liquor is now available, both owners said they have no plans to allow their businesses to turn into "power drinking" bars, with patrons pounding one shot after another.

"The college kids will come here, and they'll drink," Stratton said. "But they will do it respectfully."

As of June 18, no other establishments in Monmouth have applied for full on-premise licenses with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.



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