Members of The Perse will have more than the Labor Day holiday to celebrate this weekend. 

The Jonestown-based social club will open its new 30-by-30-foot outdoor deck and 34-by-24-foot beer garden to the membership this evening now that it has received its occupancy permit. Club manager Adam Harmon said the permit was the last step to finish the construction project that began in mid-June.

Aerial view of the deck under construction. (Provided photo)

“We had our first final inspection about a week ago and recently received our liquor license extension, which allows us to serve alcohol outside of the building,” said Harmon. “The deck will open tomorrow (Thursday) evening.”

The new outdoor deck at the Perse in Jonestown. (James Mentzer)

Buzz about the outdoor space, which Harmon believes is the only one of its kind in Jonestown, has been palpable.  

“It’s definitely been the talk of the town,” said Harmon. “Everywhere I go, the bank, the grocery store, people are excited to see it. No one around Jonestown offers outside dining, really.” 

People are so excited that membership has increased by at least two dozen people before the deck has even opened. 

“Even though we have more square footage for non-smoking than smoking, we’re still considered a smoking establishment, and that turns some people off,” said Harmon. “So, to have outdoor dining as an option, a lot of people have been excited about that.”

The deck, which is located in a portion of the parking lot diagonally to Perseverance Fire Company, sits high off the ground and has seating for over 30 people. Four ceiling fans will help keep customers cool in hot weather and there is a possibility that heat pots will be added at a later date to extend the deck’s seasonal use.

“We’ve generated some new membership from people who are new and from those who quit coming because of the smoke,” said Harmon. “But that was the purpose of this. We’ve been able to generate additional revenue before ever serving a meal.”

Another purpose for adding outdoor space is to show appreciation to the club’s loyal members. 

“What it comes down to at the end of the day is providing something for our members,” said Harmon. “We have a solid core membership who support the club, faithful people, and we wanted to give them something to enjoy.”

The deck will have eight four-top tables or seating for 32 people. Harmon said two additional tables will be added to the beer garden in the spring along with a Ladderball set for people to play. As funds permit, other amenities will be added to both locations.

“I would like to put Adirondack chairs and one glider along the west side of the deck so that people can sit and watch the sunset,” said Harmon. “We may even permit well-behaved dogs on the deck. There are other things we would like to do, depending on funding.”

While the deck currently does not have its own bar, there is space along the interior wall to potentially make that a reality. There are also outlets for adding a television to the outdoor space and room to have entertainment, which will not happen this year since it is close to the end of summer.

Access to the beer garden is available via a set of steps on the east side of the deck. 

“One of the uses I have in mind is that people can sit out there in the fall and enjoy watching college football on a Saturday afternoon,” added Harmon. “We may also offer a bourbon night on those nights when the kitchen is closed. Get a really fine bottle of bourbon and tell members to bring their own cigars. I see that is being a monthly activity.”

The deck project, which was conceived by Harmon at least 10 years ago, is a way to expand revenue, which ultimately benefits the local community. The Perse provides at least $40,000 annually to Perseverance Fire Company’s budget and more funding when the club is profitable. (2023 is one of those years, added Harmon.)

Other organizations to benefit from the club’s financial success over the years include Jonestown Outreach Food Pantry (JOY), Pennsylvania’s Wounded Warrior Project, Vietnam Veterans groups and “every sports organization in northern Lebanon County.”  

“The idea is to generate more revenue all around. More people through the door should mean more food sales, should mean more people are gambling, which means more proceeds for the fire company,” said Harmon. “Really trying to make it better for everyone. The more money we make, the more money we can donate.”

As the project progressed, Harmon said time flew by quickly but said Tuesday it was “painfully slow” as finishing touches were needed for the deck to pass final inspection.

“We always get a lot of foot traffic along the street and people have been vocal about how nice it looks,” said Harmon. “I couldn’t be happier with the excellent job the contractors did on this project. They were very professional and very efficient. I’ll be much more excited about it when the deck is full of happy people.” 

The Perse is open to club members for breakfast and bar service on Sundays and only offers bar service on Tuesdays. Full menu and bar services are available on Wednesdays through Saturdays. The club is closed on Mondays. Anyone interested in joining the social club can contact The Perse at 717-865-2227. 

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James Mentzer is a freelance writer whose published works include the books Pennsylvania Manufacturing: Alive and Well; Bucks County: A Snapshot in Time; United States Merchant Marine Academy: In Service to the Nation 1943-2018; A Century of Excellence: Spring Brook Country Club 1921-2021; Lancaster...


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