Restaurants, clubs to see alcohol license discount this year

Nov 23, 2020

Dartmouth restaurants and clubs will be seeing a 25% discount in their alcohol license renewal fees this year after the Select Board voted in favor of the measure at a Nov. 23 meeting to help struggling businesses during the pandemic.

Board member Shawn McDonald brought up the idea at the meeting because “the restaurants have hurt” due to the virus, he said. 

New Bedford approved a similar discount in the city earlier this fall.

Town Administrator Shawn MacInnes noted that 35 restaurants currently hold liquor licenses in Dartmouth. 

The 25% discount would amount to $662.50 off each restaurant’s license, losing the town a total of $23,187.50 in revenue, he said. 

Adding clubs and beer and wine licenses to the mix would result in a loss of just under $30,000 for the town, according to board members.

Select Board member Stanley Mickelson noted that restaurants, bars, and clubs are among the businesses that have been most hurt by the pandemic. 

“Some have done a little better than others, but we’re coming into winter months now, and it’s gonna be a long winter,” he said. “And who knows what restrictions might come out later.”

Member David Tatelbaum agreed, calling the measure a gesture. “I think more than anything it’s a recognition of the Select Board how tough it is to exist in this industry at this time,” he said. 

The Select Board voted unanimously to approve the discount for all license holders.

At the same meeting, the board voted to approve license renewals for all restaurants, clubs, and package stores that applied for them — but board members noted a large number of establishments had yet to submit paperwork despite town officials’ efforts to reach out.

More than two dozen restaurants, clubs, and package stores have yet to apply. 

Among them include Little Moss, Azuma, Brazilian Grill, Busters Sports Bar, Rachel’s Lakeside, Sivalai, Thirsty Whale, The Kings Inn, the VFW post, Allendale Country Club and the Country Club of New Bedford, along with Acme Liquors and C.V. Variety.

“We do everything we can to contact them,” MacInnes noted. “We’ve made every effort. And they can apply online.”

Although the Sail Loft closed its doors on Nov. 1, the restaurant did apply to renew its license. 

Sail Loft owners had previously stated they would consider reopening in the spring if regulations around bar seating loosened.

“If you don’t renew your license, you have to go through the process all over again,” explained MacInnes. “It’s much more economical to just renew the licenses.”

Officials reminded the public that the deadline for license renewal is at the end of November.