DANVERS — Some selectmen are eyeing Peabody’s move to get 10 additional liquor licenses with interest, suggesting Danvers ought to make a similar push on Beacon Hill to give the town’s restaurant community a boost.
The board may also help restaurants without beer and wine licenses by coming up with rules to allow patrons to brown-bag it.
Five of the proposed licenses in Peabody are meant to help the Northshore Mall stay competitive, given the recent opening of the new MarketStreet Lynnfield shopping center. The other five are being requested to create more small restaurants in Peabody Square, giving the downtown a boost.
These new liquor licenses would be “site specific” and could not be sold or transferred.
“I hate to see Peabody get all these big businesses, restaurants in their community and we don’t get anything,” Selectman Dan Bennett said at last week’s board meeting. The board, which had three members at its Dec. 17 meeting, did not take any votes, and the matter is still open for discussion.
Selectmen said they favor Danvers getting more liquor licenses in the spirit of Peabody’s push for more, with “the thought we should be proactive in getting some additional liquor licenses especially where we had large, national chains looking for property in Danvers to locate in,” Bennett said.
The state’s liquor laws date back to the 1930s and parcel out licenses based on population. Many feel the laws are a disincentive to small restaurant owners who want to expand but can’t afford to pay the market rate for a license and deter national chain restaurants from coming to town when there are no licenses available.
Danvers has approximately 45 alcohol licenses of all types.
Town officials are also exploring the idea of restaurants without licenses allowing patrons to bring in their own beer and wine in a brown paper bag. Town Clerk Joseph Collins said he spoke with the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission on ways the town could increase its pouring, including allowing brown-bagging.