Rich Marino, owner of Chianti Tuscan Restaurant on Cabot Street, said he supports expanding the number of liquor licenses in “specific strategic situations where it’s a proven benefit for the city.”
“The city must be sensitive that many of the restaurants don’t make a lot of money in the beginning of the week,” Marino said. “Restaurants have been the backbone of the economic boom in Beverly for years, and it’s important that we don’t do anything that will hurt the industry that has benefited Beverly.”
Nikita Paras, who owns two Cabot Street restaurants, Soma and Barrel House American Bar, said he doesn’t know how the added licenses will work out until it’s known what kind of businesses get them.
“If it’s a business that’s struggling because they can’t sell alcohol, why not?” he said. “They say competition is good for everybody. Since I opened Barrel House, Soma has actually gotten busier.”
Paras said he would be concerned if businesses did not have to pay for their liquor license, while current businesses have had to pay for theirs. Liquor licenses in Beverly can sell for $60,000 to $80,000, he said.
“If a restaurant bought one for $80,000 two years ago and the guy next to him gets it for nothing, it’s not an even playing field,” he said.
Scanlon said site-specific licenses are worth less because they cannot be transferred to another location. The city is, however, considering charging a fee, to be determined, for the all-alcohol site-specific restaurant licenses.
Scanlon said the beer-and-wine licenses are “unlikely to impair the business of any existing establishments.”
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or email@example.com.