Iron Horse gets its liquor license just in time for Wednesday opening

Jess Wissemann of Hired Hand Signs works on hand lettering the facade of the Iron Horse Music Hall on Friday afternoon prior to its reopening.

Jess Wissemann of Hired Hand Signs works on hand lettering the facade of the Iron Horse Music Hall on Friday afternoon prior to its reopening. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

Staff Writer

Published: 05-15-2024 5:51 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Ticket holders for the Iron Horse Music Hall’s grand opening Wednesday night will be able to order a drink from the venue’s newly-designed bar after the nonprofit worked through state bureaucracy to obtain a liquor license just hours before opening.

Iron Horse Music Hall was approved for an all-alcohol liquor license on Wednesday, capping off a long odyssey of new nonprofit owners The Parlor Room trying to obtain one since acquiring the venue from former owner Eric Suher eight months ago.

Suher had a liquor license that was to be transferred along with the venue as part of the agreement, but the transfer didn’t happen after he failed to produce a certificate of good standing with the state’s Department of Revenue. The city’s License Commission, wanting to see the Parlor Room in possession of the license to ensure success of the reopening, tried cancelling Suher’s license to take control of it and then promptly award it to The Parlor Room.

But that too failed. Since the city had already reached its quota for all-alcohol licenses, the cancellation meant Suher’s license effectivlely vanished and could not be given to The Parlor Room, according to the state’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

Still, desperate to try to ensure the new venue could serve drinks, the License Commission granted The Parlor Room one of the city’s remaining special over-quota licenses. The ABCC took no action on that license, which led The Parlor Room to ask the state commission to reconsider through a request from their lawyer. With that approval in hand, the nonprofit still need one final sign-off from the Department of Revenue. That came on Wednesday, and The Parlor Room picked up its license from City Hall on Wednesday.

The Iron Horse’s Facebook page called the acquisition of the liquor license “champagne popping good news,” and thanked Northampton Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra, along with state Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa and state Sen. Jo Comerford for their support in helping the group navigate their way through the state bureaucracy.

Alexander MacDougall can be reached at amacdougall@gazettenet.com.

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