Oak Bluffs selectmen unanimously approved a change in the year-round liquor license for Offshore Ale owners Phil and Colleen McAndrews that will allow the popular brew pub and restaurant to serve spirits, and to serve alcohol on the four-table outdoor patio.
The vote took place at the board’s regular meeting Tuesday night.
Mr. McAndrews said that competition has increased since Tisbury has started serving liquor, and that overall, it has become more difficult every year to stay open year-round.
“It’s an additional tool in our toolbox,” he said. “We’re not looking to turn it into a bar.”
Mr. McAndrews said there will be a small selection of artisanal spirits, not mass-produced liquor. “We make our own beer, and we want to keep it in the craft world,” he said. “We won’t carry Jack Daniels.”
Mr. McAndrews said the bar in the restaurant will not expand in size. Last call will also remain at 11:30 pm. “I’ve been there 12 years, I’ve been a good neighbor, I’ve been true to my word,” he said.
Police Chief Erik Blake had no objections to the change. He noted that year-round liquor licenses used to be a scarce commodity for business owners in Oak Bluffs, and now there are four or five going unused. “It’s not the way it used to be,” he said.
The McAndrews put Offshore Ale on the market last April for $4.2 million.
Selectman Michael Santoro, a restaurant owner and liquor license holder in Oak Bluffs, recused himself from the vote.
In other business, town administrator Robert Whritenour told selectmen that halfway through the fiscal year, general fund expenditures have used up about 55 percent of the budget, and that some budget items may require year-end transfers. He cited higher than expected workmen’s compensation claims, insurance costs, and legal fees in particular. Mr. Whritenour also had good financial news — local estimated receipts, which are comprised mainly of hotel, motel, and meal excise taxes, are up almost 9 percent from the same time last year. He attributed part of the increase to more tourism dollars coming in during the shoulder season. “If we can keep going this way in the spring, I’ll be real happy,” he said.
For the second time in the past three meetings, selectmen held a closed-door executive session with Fire Chief John Rose and members of the command staff to discuss negotiations with union personnel.