Liquor License Transfer Issues Delay Pub's Close

Photo: Beckett's Irish Pub and Restaurant had planned to close in November but will remain open due to delays in transferring its liquor license to new owners.
Simone Anne Lang/Staff
Beckett's Irish Pub and Restaurant had planned to close in November but will remain open due to delays in transferring its liquor license to new owners.

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Scheduled to shut down three months ago, the doors to Beckett's Irish Pub and Restaurant on Shattuck Avenue remain wide open, as the popular downtown pub continues to serve Berkeley residents as it has for more than 10 years.

Last fall, Beckett's announced it would close by November, and that a new restaurant, BEC Bistro, would take its place. However, the process of transferring licensing for the location has been slow, and Beckett's has yet to close.

Carol Gilbert, President of Carol Gilbert, Inc. - the brokerage company that handled the switch from Beckett's to BEC Bistro - said that the process of switching the liquor license between the businesses has been delayed, "but it is going forward."

She said the restaurants are waiting to receive a transfer from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

"All the papers have been signed," Gilbert said. "The transfer is in the hands of the ABC."

Gilbert would not speculate as to why the licenses had not yet been transferred, why the process had not been accounted for in the projected November closing date or when the transfer will be processed.

Negotiations to transfer ownership of the pub to the bistro's owners began in early May.

She added that a form required for the transfer of the liquor license had just been completed and submitted to the department this week.

"Now we're just waiting for the transfer to occur," she said.

John Carr, the department's public information officer, said he could not say for sure when the license transfer will be processed, but that the transfer is in its "final review stages," and it could be approved within just a few days.

"The licensing representative has completed her work, and now it is going through final review," he said.

This means Beckett's could be closing very soon, if no outstanding issues are found in the license transfer application's final review stage.

Carr said that the BEC Bistro request to transfer the license had been sent directly to the department's headquarters in Sacramento, instead of going first to the district office in Oakland.

"The information was sent up here from the get-go," Carr said.

Gilbert also mentioned that applications for liquor license transfers could potentially take longer than usual, as Sacramento has cut back on the number of people handling the transfers.

Last September, Jean-Yves Duperret, general manager for Les Copains d'Abord - the company that owns the bistro - said the bistro's owners had been preparing for their move-in date by crafting menus, thinking of decorations and searching for nighttime entertainment in the area.

Multiple sources have said that Beckett's owners Martin and Mary Connolly elected to close the Shattuck Avenue location due to personal reasons. They also operate Johnny Foley's Irish House in San Francisco.

"The people who own Beckett's also have a restaurant in San Francisco, and they also have two young boys, and it was just too much for them to manage both locations," Gilbert said.

Neither the Connollys nor Duperret could be reached for comment as of press time.


Contact Katie Bender at [email protected]

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