John Allison Public House gets liquor license approval

John and Allison “Ame” Flannery and their son, Jonathan

The John Allison Public House found favor with Greencastle Borough Council Monday night. Owners John and Allison "Ame" Flannery asked permission to transfer a liquor license held by Palmetto Inn in Washington Township to their restaurant at 104 E. Baltimore St. The Flannerys leased the site of the former Antrim House Restaurant and hope to open an upscale casual eatery by December.

The council approved a resolution, allowing the restaurant to use the retail license to sell beer, wine and cocktails to customers.

The hearing was required by the Liquor Control Board to allow interested parties the opportunity to comment on the request. Three citizens were present and only one spoke to council members Charles Eckstine, Matt Smith, Craig Myers, Paul Schemel, Harry Foley and Mark Singer.

Wade Burkholder said while he had never patronized the couple's other restaurant, Flannery's Tavern on the Square in Mercersburg, he had heard good things about it, and patrons said he was lucky he lived within walking distance of the second endeavor. He welcomed such an establishment to Greencastle.


Flannerys' attorney Ed Wine addressed council first, stating its responsibility was that 'it shall approve the request (for a liquor license) unless it adversely affects the welfare, health, peace and morals of the municipality and its residents'.

John Flannery explained that he hoped Public House would mimic Flannery's reputation as a great restaurant where families and others could gather for food and camaraderie. He stressed that he did not promote intoxication, and during Flannery's five years of existence, there had never been a problem. If staff thought anyone had had enough alcohol, they were trained to "graciously" cut off the drinks.

Renovations were underway, which included new ceilings and floors, installing a lunch counter and bar, putting in new kitchen equipment and opening the front door on the corner.

Before the vote borough counsel Sam Wiser informed the panel that the legislature typically said restaurants were not a detriment to a community.

The resolution to accept the license transfer passed 5-0, with Schemel recusing himself due to a conflict of interest.

What's in a name?

The restaurant moniker comes with a double meaning. The first names of the owners are also the name of one of Greencastle's founders. John Flannery said John Allison laid out many of the original streets, including Baltimore. "It fits perfectly," he said.

Allison agreed. "It was meant to be."

According to Greencastle history, William Allison operated a tavern on what is now Center Square and gave his son John 300 acres of land. He and a school teacher, James Crawford, surveyed and developed the land into 246 building lots. Once Greencastle was founded by John Allison in 1782, settlement began.

The John Allison owners believe the term 'public house' was European in origin, and meant a social gathering spot.

Flannery planned to submit the final application to the Liquor Control Board Tuesday, with the license to be granted in four to six weeks.

Acknowledging that the name of the restaurant was now known, he teased that the logo was still a secret, but it would be blue and gold, Greencastle-Antrim's school colors.

File photo of the building that has housed the Antrim House since 1979.