Amherst Coffee gets OK to serve alcohol in expanded space

  • Alex Callahan, bar manager at Amherst Coffee, makes a Perfect Manhattan Dec. 6, 2016. The Select Board has ruled that the coffeehouse may serve alcohol in its expanded space. Bulletin File Photo

Staff Writer
Thursday, March 16, 2017

AMHERST — A downtown coffee shop expanding into an adjacent storefront will be allowed to serve alcoholic beverages throughout the entire 1,830-square-foot restaurant.

The Select Board on Monday unanimously approved an amendment to the full liquor license for Amherst Coffee.

Located at 28 Amity St. in the Amherst Cinema Building, the coffee shop requested the amendment as it adds 680 square feet most recently occupied by the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce. The chamber moved its offices to the new Amherst Visitor Information Center that it shares with the Amherst Business Improvement District in December.

Amherst Coffee owner Mukunda Feldman told the Select Board he did not anticipate the added space posing any challenges for employees who regularly makes sure alcohol is not being served to or shared with underage patrons.

“I believe we’ll have the same oversight as we do now,” Feldman said.

He noted that if alcohol is served at a table, each customer is asked to provide proof of their age.

In addition, there are safeguards such as not allowing customers to consume alcohol in the outdoor seating areas. Because most revenue is derived from coffee and food, the restaurant is able to be more selective in the type of alcohol it serves, Feldman said.

During the renovation, a wall that separated the commercial spaces will be removed and a ramp will be installed for wheelchair access to all parts of the restaurant, Feldman said.

On top of the extra space, Amherst Coffee is gaining an accessible bathroom. Another benefit, Feldman said, is the interior access to the basement, which the restaurant uses as storage.

Opened in 2005, Amherst Coffee added alcohol to its menu the following year. Feldman also owns Northampton Coffee and Greenfield Coffee.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com