Three years ago, The Exchange at the Wenham Tea House was issued Wenham’s first liquor license. Soon, the Salem News reports, the restaurant may have another first: selling bottles of wine with its quiches, potpies and other takeout meals.
The Legislature recently greenlighted a home rule petition for the town to change its liquor license to allow take-home sales of unopened bottles instead of serving alcoholic drinks to restaurant patrons.
If the teahouse is approved for the new license, it will be the first time bottled alcoholic beverages have been sold in Wenham, which relinquished its “dry” status in 2006. The change also drops the number of liquor licenses in Wenham from four to one; the other three have remained unissued since 2006.
The new license would allow the sale of beer and wine, but Emma Roberts, who runs the teahouse, said she intends to sell only wine.
It could be January or later before the change takes effect. The teahouse must apply for the new liquor license, receive town approval and then get a final approval from the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.
The Hungry Fox, which sells takeout meals roughly one mile away in Hamilton, also sells bottles of wine, Roberts said.
A 2009 home rule petition, which was never passed, would have allowed Wenham a liquor license to both pour drinks and sell unopened bottles.
Wenham was the last town on the North Shore to lose its “dry” status, preceded by Topsfield. According to the ABCC, 9 of Massachusetts’ 351 cities and towns remain dry.