Leo’s on Mane: From Milkshakes to Microbrews
After 53 years, the Wilkes-Barre Oasis Inn has served its last drink. Fortunately, however, King’s College will now have its own oasis.
As the King’s community grows, more parking space is necessary. The Oasis Inn on North Pennsylvania Avenue is right next to campus. Thus, the availability of the property was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
The Inn already had its own parking lot, but King’s plans to demolish the building altogether to create up to 35 parking spots. However, the Inn turned out to offer more than just parking.
“We purchased the Oasis Inn primarily for expanding the parking. It happened that the property came with a liquor license, too,” explained John Loyack, King’s Vice President for Business Affairs.
The license will transfer to Leo’s on Mane, an on-campus restaurant located on the ground floor of Thomas J. O’Hara Hall, a student apartment building. Unfortunately, the transfer is taking longer than expected. “The license has to not only transfer to a different location, but also to our dining services provider, Chartwells,” said Loyack.
Nevertheless, the goal is to start serving beer and wine at Leo’s by the end of this fall semester. However, at the very latest, things should be raring to go by the start of the spring semester in January.
Once the transfer is finalized, students should expect a “comfortable and great social experience,” said Loyack. The purpose of serving alcohol at Leo’s is to create a gathering place for students, staff, faculty, and the public.
While Leo’s will not undergo any renovations, the restaurant will add outdoor seating. Likewise, there will be live music and other entertainment. All these additions will make Leo’s a unique hang-out spot.
Offering a different kind of experience is crucial when considering there already exists nearby bars down the street from Leo’s. “Our intention is not to compete with other businesses. Rather, Leo’s will serve a lot of microbrews. These beverages can conveniently be purchased with students’ meal swipes,” noted Loyack.
Most importantly, students will not have to leave campus to grab a beer and bite to eat. “It is better that King’s students can go to Leo’s instead of a bar off campus. It will be a safe and secure environment. Our security is always there to help students and make them feel safe,” assured Loyack.
The legal drinking age of 21 plus will be enforced through a card philosophy. Loyack explains the concept: “Everyone will be carded. They will need a form of I.D. that proves their age, such as a driver’s license. Also, no take-outs of alcohol will be available.” Leo’s servers will be trained to recognize authentic forms of I.D.
Even before the purchase of the Oasis Inn, the thought of serving alcohol to students on campus had already crossed people’s minds.
“We have been in conversation with other Holy Cross schools, such as the University of Notre Dame. They have an on-campus bar called Legends. Our sister schools have each had a good experience with serving alcohol to their students. Thus, when the Oasis Inn came with a liquor license, we were eager to turn the idea into a reality at Leo’s on Mane,” said Loyack.
Clearly, the Holy Cross Congregation does not take issue with their colleges serving alcohol to of-age students. However, members of the King’s student body had differing opinions about Leo’s selling alcohol.
Christa Franckiewicz, a King’s senior, said that she does not normally go to Leo’s on Mane. “But when Leo’s begins to serve beer and wine, I will probably try out Leo’s. It is definitely better to have such a place near people’s dorms. This way, people do not have to drive to other places in order to have a drink” said Franckiewicz.
Another King’s senior had a different reaction to Leo’s serving alcohol to students. “I think it is a bad idea. There will be students who abuse the opportunity to drink at Leo’s. I would rather go somewhere else that has a large variety of drinks,” said Bryce Partlow.
Loyack foresees no future issues with Leo’s serving alcohol. The addition, he says, will heighten the social experience. Only the students will be able to say whether Leo’s selling beer is a good idea when the liquor license transfer is complete.