Nectar’s, the popular Island nightclub and current torch holder for the Vineyard music scene, may be gone by the coming summer, as the company pursues plans to transfer the alcohol license it now holds to its partner, Flatbread Pizza Company.
Jay Gould, the president of Flatbread, appeared before the Edgartown selectmen on Monday to request an alcohol license transfer from Nectar’s to Flatbread. Mr. Gould told the selectmen that pending approval of the license transfer, Flatbread plans to buy out Nectar’s interest in the company, with the intention of continuing the operation, though somewhat differently than it has for the last few years.
Selectmen postponed a decision until this coming Monday after questions surfaced about the regular hours of operation at the restaurant. Mr. Gould said the popular wood-fired pizza restaurant would close most evenings at 11 p.m., but may want to remain open later for special events. The selectmen said they needed more clarity about the hours.
The potential move signals another shift in the Island music scene — for more than 30 years, the spot near the Martha’s Vineyard Airport has been home to nightclubs, including the legendary original club, the Hot Tin Roof, which was partly owned by singer-songwriter Carly Simon, a Vineyard Haven resident.
Mr. Gould said Flatbread would remain primarily a family pizza restaurant, but music would still play a part in the business. He said the company proposes having music events, starting sometime in June, but the restaurant does not plan to keep the same late hours as Nectar’s.
The Hot Tin Roof first opened in 1979, and for more than 20 years the club was a music venue for a wide range of well-known bands and musicians. In 2005 Barry Rosenthal bought the business and the building and renamed the club Outerland. In 2009, Mr. Rosenthal leased the location to Nectar’s, whose owners have operated a nightclub with the same name in Burlington, Vt., for more than 30 years. Among other things, the Burlington spot is known as the venue where the band Phish got its start. A year later, Nectar’s partnered with Vermont-based Flatbread to jointly operate the property. During the summer season, Flatbread operated a family-style pizza restaurant during the day, while Nectar’s presented live music shows during the evenings; last summer, Taj Mahal and Tosh 1 were among the performers.
Chris Walsh, principal partner at Nectar’s, did not return calls for comment.
But Mr. Gould said the long history of live music at the location won’t end with the proposed change. “We absolutely want to have music,” he told the Gazette, though he said that music could range from one person with an acoustic guitar to a well-known band.
“We do not want to end the music tradition there,” Mr. Gould said. “We just don’t know what the people on the Island want . . . We haven’t made any decisions.”
Mr. Gould stressed that all plans hinge on if and when the company gets the appropriate permits and approval, including the alcohol license transfer, from the Edgartown selectmen. “We’re trying not to put the cart before the horse,” he said.
Beyond approval from the selectmen, the proposal will need the okay from the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission, which is meeting today, and the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.