Bethel businesses submit new round of liquor license applications

The former Swanson’s marina space on Front Street. (Photo by Dean Swope / KYUK.)
The former Swanson’s marina space on Front Street. (Photo by Dean Swope / KYUK.)

The Alaska Alcoholic Beverage Control Board is considering two liquor license applications for Bethel next week: one for a package liquor store for Bethel Native Corporation’s subsidiary Bethel Spirits LLC and another for Fili’s Pizza restaurant.

BNC has reapplied for a license but at a new location: 750 Front Street, the former Swanson’s marina space.

The corporation received a liquor license for Bethel Spirits last year for the Kipusvik building. But BNC later leased that space to the Lower Kuskokwim School District to use for its Ayaprun Yup’ik Immersion school following the Kilbuck fire.

In an advisory vote last Oct., the majority of Bethel voters supported issuing a liquor license to liquor stores but opposed licenses for restaurants.

Fili’s Pizza is the first restaurant to apply for a license since that vote.

But it isn’t the last.

Last week, Dimitri’s Restaurant re-submitted a liquor license application. The restaurant applied for a license last year, but the ABC Board denied the application because it would have violated Bethel’s mandated distance between alcohol sales and school grounds.

Two factors have changed since that decision. Bethel City Council rewrote how it measures the distance between alcohol sales and schools, and the schools across the street from Dimitri’s have relocated after a fire. However, the school district still holds the lease on the property.

Based on Bethel’s population, the city can hold three package store licenses, three bar licenses, and five restaurant licenses, according to state statue.

The ABC Board will meet Wed., Fed. 10 in Juneau to review the BNC and Fili’s applications. It will review the Dimitri’s application at its next quarterly meeting.

Comments to the board can be submitted in writing or by phone, and the public can listen to the meeting via teleconference. For contact information, click here.

Anna Rose MacArthur is a reporter at KYUK in Bethel.

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