Ventnor liquor store owners chuckled and celebrated a bit on Friday, June 23. Nobody stepped up to bid $100k for the privilege of serving cocktails to their dinner patrons.
BYOB, bring your own bottle, is still king in Ventnor…for now.
Ventor commissioners hoped that a sealed bid auction for one of three liquor licenses would fetch at least $100k, the minimum bid, for city coffers.
According to the Shore News Today, four parties picked up packets of information from City Hall after a legal ad was placed in the Press of Atlantic City.
Huh? The City of Ventnor chose the Press of AC to advertise the offering. Uh-oh. A newspaper with limited circulation and reach. That likely contributed to the lack of bids and negligible interest.
Only a full-service restaurant could shoot for the license. Did the Ventnor Commissioners play it too safe? Did they misread the opportunity?
To be sure, Ventnor is now a little smarter about the value of a local liquor license, and the reduced effectiveness of old school media.
It’s certainly not worth $100k. ‘Maybe $50 or 60k’ said one restaurant owner who requested anonymity. ‘People in Ventnor love the BYOB concept’.
Last year, Ventnor voters approved a referendum for the City to offer up to three liquor licenses.
Would allowing liquor to be sold by the glass in restaurants attract millennials? Would booze at dinner make the Big V more attractive to investors and homeowners?
If Ventnor is serious, it’ll need to reduce the asking price. Down from $100k….to about $50k. Let the bidding start from there.