PEABODY — Diners in Peabody should soon find it easier to grab a brew after work or get a drink with their meal.
On Tuesday, the state Senate passed a bill authorizing 20 new liquor licenses for Peabody. The bill passed in the House late last month and now just needs the signature of Governor Charlie Baker.
The City Council proposed the additional liquor licenses for restaurants last year in a move to help spur economic development. As part of the deal to add the 20 licenses to the city’s roll, the council agreed to spread them out throughout different sections.
“I think there was some apprehension about issuing a blanket 20 licenses, and that is why the council thought it would be better to identify three different regions in the city,” said Tom Walsh, who does double duty as a Councilor-at-Large and state representative.
The current plan is to have nine of the new liquor licenses available once Baker signs the bill — four for the downtown, four for the Route 1 corridor, and one for the Centennial Drive area. Once those licenses are active, Walsh said the remainder will become available.
While there has been a focus on downtown development by city officials in the past several years, Walsh said parceling the liquor licenses out by region ensures that no area of Peabody is left high and dry. Walsh said he worked closely with fellow state Representative Ted Speliotis, state Senator Joan Lovely, Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr. and the city council to make a case for the additional liquor licenses.
“An important component of our downtown revitalization efforts and long-term planning centers around welcoming more restaurants and eateries to the Peabody Square area,” said Bettencourt. “A liquor license is critical for their success and I appreciate our legislators’ assistance in providing these additional licenses to our community. It’s another big step for us in making the downtown a vibrant and exciting place to be.”
In 2014, similar legislation added 10 liquor licenses, bringing the city’s total to 11 beer and wine licenses and 70 all-alcohol licenses. The cost of a full-liquor restaurant license is $2,250 for the city’s annual fee, plus a $250 application fee to the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.