Liberty Taphouse to open in Athol
|Published: 02-08-2024 5:00 PM
ATHOL — The site of the former Flat Rock Tap House will soon reopen, and the new owners have big plans for the location.
The Liberty Taphouse at 73 Traverse St. is the newest venture of co-owners Teresa Hisman and Scott Chambers, two longtime friends who both bring an extensive business background. Hisman has prior experience running a bar and Chambers has managed several businesses over the years. Plans are to open the bar on Feb. 17.
Hisman first became aware of the available space while playing with the American Poolplayers Association (APA) at the Steel Pub in Athol. She has a local connection to the area as a former Gardner resident and has lived with family in Athol for the past few months while her partner finds them a new home.
When asked for why she wanted to relocate and open a new business, Hisman said it was the opportunity to grow beyond what she had accomplished with Tee’s Liberty Tavern in Clinton. She’s owned this bar since 2017 and is planning to sell it in the near future.
“For the last five years I’ve been trying to expand and it’s just kind of been impossible,” she said.
Hisman described the atmosphere at Tee’s Tavern pre-COVID as “booming.” She said the bar’s pool tables were always occupied and she has a great group of regular customers. When the pandemic forced them to close, she said it was 440 days before she could re-open, and things got pretty “desperate” for awhile. But the customers rallied behind her, holding auctions and fundraisers to help keep the bar open.
“They helped us out a lot,” she said. “They really did.”
In the main barroom of The Liberty Taphouse, which is currently undergoing renovations, Hisman described Tee’s as roughly half the size. This made it a challenge to host live events, and there was only space available for two pool tables, though she spoke of holding a small wedding there before. Hisman said she attempted to purchase the Elks Lodge in Clinton as a means of expansion, but this didn’t work out.
“So from that moment on, I wanted nothing more than a function hall,” she said.
It’s a goal that the space in Athol is well suited for. Beneath the main barroom at the Liberty Taphouse is a large function room, and Hisman said she has all sorts of ideas, much of which will be family-oriented, from weddings and karaoke to live music and a pool hall, the last of which would be “near and dear to my heart.”
Hisman is a longtime member of the amateur’s league of the APA and her skills have taken her to tournaments in Las Vegas. She said being a location for regional tournaments is among her plans. She also wants to start a youth pool league, adding that she’s seen one in western Massachusetts close down. In January, the APA announced it would be closing its juniors league this year indefinitely.
Hisman said that she hopes within seven months, both the bar and venue will be at “full force,” after which she’ll give thought to establishing a kitchen.
“I am huge giver,” Hisman said. “I’m going to have meat raffles, I’m hoping to bring a little bit of nightlife to the town.”
Max Bowen can be reached at 413-930-4074 or at mbowen@ recorder.com.