It is expected that at least two potential buyers will bid on an available liquor license in Brick after both expressed an interest in doing so, Mayor John Ducey said.
The township council voted unanimously Tuesday night to put the town’s sole remaining consumption license out to bid, with a minimum starting price of $500,000. A consumption license is the type assigned to a restaurant which will sell alcoholic beverages. It is not a distribution license, the type used by retail liquor stores.
Ducey said two buyers – a restaurant owner and the owner of the former Hinckley’s marina property on Mantoloking Road, across from Traders Cove Marina and Park – have expressed an interest in bidding.
Should the license be purchased by a party wishing to open a restaurant at the marina, it will be in close proximity to another bar and restaurant planned for the township-owned site across the road. Since the township marina is publicly-owned, a restaurant at the site can be issued a state liquor license without utilizing one of the township’s licenses, which are allocated every 10 years and tied to population growth in the latest census.
No details were given on the potential second bidder. Regardless of which business buys the license, the township will place a restriction on it that mandates the establishment must have at least 100 seats set aside as a restaurant section.
“We only have one more liquor license to sell. Why start at $500,000?” resident George Scott asked council members before they voted on the plan. “Why not start at a minimum of $600,000? I think you’re giving the store away, especially if there is more than one person interested.”
The last consumption license issued in Brick was sold in 2014 to the Red Robin chain for $550,000.
Township Attorney Kevin Starkey said his office had sought permission from the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control to hold a live auction where interested parties would bid, in person, for the license. The request was denied.
“They said the regulations we have only allow this to be done by sealed bid, and we have to abide by those regulations,” said Starkey.