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County shuts down Hertel Avenue bar Gabels for holding 'unofficial happy hour'

Mike Desmond

A longtime Hertel Avenue bar is closed after a neighborhood resident reported what Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz described as an "unofficial happy hour" at Gabels.

In a situation reminiscent of Prohibition, an undercover county sanitarian was sent to the bar and found the bar was serving alcohol to customers on the premises.

Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein shut the bar down after the tip.

"They came in with our Erie County sheriff, cleared the house and were issued an order from me to close," Bustein said at a county news briefing on Facebook Monday afternoon.

Burstein said Gabels now has to provide a plan describing how it can serve takeout without breaking the rules again before it can reopen. Under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's NY PAUSE orders, alcohol can be picked up at a bar, but patrons can not be served drinks inside.

Poloncarz said he has heard reports of other bars also operating illegally. Gabels is the third county bar/restaurant to be shut down for illegal service, along with Swannie House and AJ's Clarence Hollow. 

The State Liquor Authority was informed of the situation. 

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.