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Northampton cancels Pearl Street Nightclub liquor license, Iron Horse Music Hall license in jeopardy

Eric Suher, the owner of several well known Northampton, Massachusetts, entertainment venues has until June 1, 2023, to demonstrate two of his establishments are open for business, or potentially lose the liquor licenses.

At a Northampton License Commissionmeeting on Feb. 14, officials voted to cancel Suher's liquor license at his Pearl Street Nightclub; the venue hasn't been open in months and the license has gone unused.

Suher also owns the iconic Iron Horse Music Hall, along with the Calvin Theater, the Green Room bar and several other properties.

At this month's meeting, commissioners let Suher know he has until June 1st to reopen the Iron Horse and the Green Room, or he could lose those licenses.

Restaurants in Northampton are lining up for the permits when they become available said commission chairperson Natasha Yakovlev.

"In the past, when we have had lotteries, I've seen eight restaurants come forward for it, so there's definitely a demand," Yakovlev said.

Liquor licenses can also sold by the owner on the open market, Yakovlev said, sometimes for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The commission's focus is not to step into how a music venue schedules concerts, Yakovlev said, "we're talking about establishments that frankly are not open at all."

Suher needs to demonstrate his liquor licenses are being used

"The Iron Horse in particular is a business that has been around for decades, and we certainly hope — I hope — he gets that back up and running because it's an important piece of downtown Northampton," Yakovlev said.

Suher did not respond to NEPM's requests for comment.

Jill Kaufman has been a reporter and host at NEPM since 2005. Before that she spent 10 years at WBUR in Boston, producing "The Connection" with Christopher Lydon and on "Morning Edition" reporting and hosting. She's also hosted NHPR's daily talk show "The Exhange" and was an editor at PRX's "The World."

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