Rafters Sports Bar and Restaurant in Amherst closes as Herbology Group prepares to open marijuana store

AMHERST — Rafters Sports Bar and Restaurant closed Wednesday, marking the next step as the Herbology Group prepares to open a marijuana shop at the 422 Amity St. location the restaurant called home for 28 years.


Herbology Group plans to operate a business offering medical and recreational marijuana sales.


Rafters had a lease that ran out in November 2018. Former property owner Laird B. Summerlin, who opened the restaurant in 1991, sold the property to Herbology for $2 million in 2016.


The restaurant is currently owned by Amherst residents Gerald R. and Dolly G. Jolly, who were the previous managers under Summerlin’s ownership and had rented the building from him.


In a news release, Rafters management highlighted decades of charity work. For 25 years it hosted The Rafters College Towne Classik Road Race to raise money for the Jimmy Fund and the Amherst Police Relief Association, among other events.


“We are extremely grateful for the dedication of the Rafters staff and managers who have helped to organize these events. Special thanks to Yvette Rowan Stern who organized St. Baldrick’s head shaving event that raised money for researching a cure for Children’s Cancer and Tara Lashway who has led the team at Rafter’s for 25 years and was recently a finalist for a Howdy Hospitality Award of Western Massachusetts.”

The announcement on the restaurant’s Facebook page unleashed a flood of memories from former UMass students. The bar was popular after sports events.


Dolly and Gerald Jolly also own and will continue to operate The Pub at 15 E. Pleasant St. in Amherst and have hinted publicly about plans for another restaurant.