Businessman Sells His Last W-B Bar

i Jul 19th 2014

By Denise Allabaugh, Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice

WILKES-BARRE – A businessman has sold his last bar in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

Ron Kamionka said Friday he sold Joe K’s Brewhouse at 41 S. Main St. to Jim Sperrazza.

Sperrazza could not be reached for comment Friday and plans for the bar’s future were not immediately known.

A sign on the door said the bar is open temporary hours Wednesday through Sunday beginning at 4 p.m. Just after 4 p.m. Friday, the bar was not open but a crew was working inside the building.

Joe K’s Brewhouse was previously known as Mulligan’s Irish Pub and then O’Sullivan’s. He “re-branded” Mulligan’s Irish Pub and changed the name to O’Sullivan’s in 2012 after a shooting, when gunman Stefan Smith opened fire inside and injured three people.

Kamionka, president of Downtown After Dark, originally opened the bar in 2010 and the bar’s name was changed to Joe K’s Brewhouse in August 2013.

Joe K’s Brewhouse catered to 21-29-year-olds, served cheap beer and featured activities such as beer pong, cornhole tournaments with bean bags and turtle races.

Kamionka said Friday he handed over the keys to Sperrazza. He would not disclose the purchase price.

The bar was profitable, but “any business is for sale at the right price,” Kamionka said.

“We consistently made money in Wilkes-Barre,” he said. “It was a very quick transaction. Someone made an offer and I couldn’t turn it down.”

Kamionka also formerly operated the Susquehanna Alehouse on South Main Street, which closed last year. Now, signs in front advertise its space is available for lease from owner Humford Equities.

Rob Finlay, president of Humford Equities, which also owns the building at 41 S. Main St., did not return calls for comment.

The site of Susquehanna Alehouse formerly housed the Hardware Bar, Bourbon Street Saloon and Reflex Night Club. Kamionka originally opened it is as the Hardware Bar in 2008.

He continues to operate Mulligan’s in Scranton, the Hardware Bar in Bloomsburg and nine bars and restaurants in Harrisburg.

He said he closed the Susquehanna Alehouse because his lease expired and he did not renew it, but he said he still believes downtown Wilkes-Barre is a viable and profitable location.

“There’s still significant business in downtown Wilkes-Barre,” he said. “There’s still money to be made there.”

Larry Newman, executive director of the Diamond City Partnership, said the transitions shows that downtown Wilkes-Barre’s retail, restaurant and entertainment sectors continue to evolve.

“We certainly are looking forward to seeing what changes the new owner brings to the establishment,” Newman said. “The fact is in downtown during the last several years, every time a business closes, it is re-opened by a different owner.”