If you want to have a glass of wine at The Yorktowne Hotel, you'll have to take your own.

The downtown hotel at 48 E. Market St. is currently operating on a BYOB status as it waits for its liquor license to be restored.

Its previous liquor license expired Feb. 28, according to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

The inactive license is attributed to a mishap during the transfer of ownership when Starwood Capital purchased the historic hotel from its former owner, York Hotel Group, during a sheriff's sale in February 2012, said general manager Rick Cunningham.

"Our lawyers are working through it, and we've applied for a new permit. We hope to have it sometime in June, but it could be June 30 or later than that. It's a long process," he said.

Upon realizing how long the process could be, the hotel instituted a BYOB policy last month.

It's working well for weddings and is actually saving money for the bride and groom, who don't have to pay the hotel's markup. Instead, they pay face value at liquor stores and beer distributors, Cunningham said.

Employees have been using the hotel van to shuttle members of the bridal party to purchase the booze, he said.

"It's certainly been a new experience for us. It saves the bride and groom some money, but we're not making any revenue on beverages," Cunningham said.

The loss is even greater at Off Center Grill, he said.

Patrons of the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center have walked into the restaurant before and after shows for a meal.


Upon learning the hotel couldn't serve an alcoholic beverage with their dinners, they walked out, Cunningham said.

"We are losing business, no doubt," he said.

It's been a definite challenge and disappointment to staff, Cunningham said.

The only other time the hotel hasn't served alcohol was when it opened in 1925 during Prohibition.

After Prohibition ended in 1933, a bar opened in the Yorktowne.

And as soon as the hotel's liquor license is reinstated, the venue will host a speakeasy, Cunningham said.

The hotel's new BYOB status comes on the heels of the Yorktowne's Commonwealth Room ending its daily fine-dining service.

Since March, the AAA Four-Diamond restaurant hasn't been open daily for lunch and dinner.

The market was no longer there, as the popularity of fine-dining restaurants has dwindled, Cunningham said.

It's now only open to semi-private parties of 10 or more, large private parties up to 75 people, banquets, showers, celebrations and special events, he said.

But these changes aren't cause for alarm or signs that the hotel is struggling financially, Cunningham said.

"Revenues for both food and rooms are up nicely for the first quarter. April was a particularly great month. Everything is up but beverage revenues," he said. "If not for missing beverage revenues, I'd be very pleased with where the numbers are."

- Candy Woodall can also be reached at cwoodall@yorkdispatch.com.