Northampton Awards New Seasonal License

The Northampton License Commission met last Wednesday night to select the newest recipient of a seasonal liquor license.

Bistro Les Gras was awarded the license, after the restaurant’s name was chosen from a vintage spinning raffle drum, as reported by

“I’m very excited,” says Elizabeth Martinez, Owner of Bistro Les Gras. “I’ve never really been a lucky person, so I’m excited that the city awarded the license to anyone — but especially, to us.”

Liquor licenses are limited, and many communities have far less liquor licenses than they actually need. According to Elaine Reall of the License Commission, liquor licenses have become a commodity that’s sold and resold for higher amounts of money.

“We happened to have one that was revoked from a license holder, who didn’t use it for a number of years,” explains Reall. “We revoked it and put it back into circulation.”

Qualified small business owners made detailed presentations to the commission on their fiscal soundness, what their business plan is, and what they hoped to do with the license, if it was awarded to them.

Seven applications were reviewed by the commission Wednesday at a public meeting. And some restaurant owners, were called to the podium to defend their applications.

In the end, all seven restaurants — Ibiza Tapas, Hinge, Local Burger, the Sierra Grille, Sylvester’s, Treydon’s Bar and Grill, Bistro Les Gras — were considered.

Bistro Les Gras was selected by a representative of The Academy of Music who was present at the meeting.

Martinez says this new liquor license will make a big impact on the business — Bistro Les Gras can now offer specialty drinks, and draw-in a crowd from Smith College.

The restaurant must now operate under this new license for at least one year.

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