July 17 2018

Life Time Fitness Granted Liquor License

By: Rich Hosford

A recently-opened fitness and well-being establishment in Burlington is looking to offer its members something not usually found in a gym - alcohol.


Life Time Fitness was before the Board of Selectmen on Monday night with an application for an all-alcohol license. The license would be one of the handful of “locational” licenses dedicated to the 3rd Ave. development project.


Attorney William J. Proia of Riemer & Braunstein, representing  Life Time Fitness, said the business plans to serve alcohol in two locations within the facility where food service is already available. One would be in the cafe and the other would be in the seating around the outdoor pool during the summer season when the pool is open.


“Life Time has been up and running and they are currently serving food so the model we are proposing here is already in place,” Proia said.


There would be a number of conditions on the sale of alcohol that were agreed to prior to and during the meeting. First, all servers dealing with alcohol would be TIPS certified.


Second, alcohol can only be sold by wait staff, not purchased at either the cafe counter or the Bistro Kitchen counter in the pool area. Additionally, any alcohol purchased in either of the two designated zones must be consumed there and cannot be transported to or through any other part of the facility.


Patrons consuming alcohol may also be asked for identification both when ordering and when a member of the wait staff delivers their drink. All alcohol will also be served in easy to recognize plastic cups so that staff can see if a patron tries to pass a drink to another person.


Alcohol service at Life Time must also comply with existing Burlington rules and regulations. The most notable of these is that the service of alcohol is a function of eating and if alcohol is being served food must also be available. Also no patron can order more than two drinks without also ordering food. Those conditions were agreed to during the meeting but were not included in the written proposal but both parties agreed to add them as a condition of approval of the granting of the license.


General Manager Ben Dubin said the sale of alcohol is intended to meet the request of some of the club’s membership and will not be a dominant part of the business’s revenue.


“Life Time is like a resort or a country club, both a place to work out and be healthy and for families to relax and hang out,” he said. “We want to add alcohol to our full service model.”


Dubin also said that even though the cafe and the pool deck together represent over 500 restaurant seats, the majority of people using those seats will not be ordering drinks.


“One thing I want to make sure everyone understands is that there is a lot of space here but alcohol makes up one percent or less of all of our sales,” he said. “We’re not looking to sell a lot of alcohol but instead are meeting requests of some of our members. They asked for it.”


After members of the board asked a few question Chairman Chris Hartling welcomed Board of Health Chairman Wayne Saltsman who was in attendance.


“We try to rely on the experts we have in town and they are often in other departments,” Hartling said. “There were some concerns from the Board of Health and this is an area where I consider them experts.”


Saltman said his board had concerns about the mix of alcohol, heat and water and the dangers that combination could pose.


“We do not advocate for alcohol being served at a pool deck but if it will be we have recommendations and we invite Lifetime to come and discuss what we’ll be doing around pool guidelines,” he said.  


Proia said his clients were already on the agenda for next week’s Board of Health meeting.


“Of course we’ll go and talk with the Board of Health and come up with reasonable guidelines,” he said. “We have a lot of experience with these exact concerns and comments and I feel like we’ll be able to adequately address them.”


In the end the board voted 5-0-0 to approve the liquor license on the condition that all details concerning the language about adhering to Burlington rules be worked out with staff.


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