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Confusion Over Restaurant’s Liquor License to be Settled by State Officials

Capriccio By The Sea (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Capriccio By The Sea (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Pete’s Poolside Bar holds a liquor license in Lavallette, but there’s one problem: the bar doesn’t exist.

The consumption license covers the restaurant now known as Capriccio by the Sea, however ownership of the establishment has changed and officials in Lavallette say they are unsure of the legality of issuing a license under a name which no longer adorns the restaurant’s exterior.

“I don’t oppose the license at all, but I oppose the legality of the paperwork,” said Councilwoman Joanne Filippone, who cited a similar issue when the license renewal came up for a vote last year. “We’re approving a license to party A, to use in business A, but it will also be used by party B in business B, who’s not even named.”

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Another issue, Filippone said, was that the the sale of alcoholic beverages are being conducted by parties that aren’t named in the license itself. In New Jersey’s maze of liquor licensing laws, there are various ways in which licenses can be provided to tenants, and litigation has resulted in certain parameters under which the licenses can be sold and managed.

The Lavallette license may become complicated if the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control decides that the license for Pete’s Poolside Bar does not cover Capriccio by the Sea.

“It’s not a license for the restaurant, per se, unless the state considers it one entity,” said Borough Attorney Eric M. Bernstein, who advised members of the borough council to approve the license renewal subject to communication from the state as to their interpretation of whether the license allows booze to be sold at Capriccio.

If the state indicates an issue, “we’ll enforce it accordingly,” said Bernstein.

Filippone said, to the best of her knowledge, documentation to change the legal name of the establishment had been submitted to the state, however it has not yet been acted upon. Last year, local attorney Kim Pascarella, the owner of the building, said as much at a council meeting which he attended. Pascarella’s current ownership interest in the establishment was not immediately clear to officials.

In the mean time, the drinks will continue to flow as state officials sort out the paperwork debacle.

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