Proposed Allston pizza place finds somebody to sell it a beer and wine license

The Boston Licensing Board next week considers a request from Stone Hearth Pizza to buy the beer-and-wine license from the owners of a closed Roxbury restaurant for its proposed outlet at Barry's Corner.

The licensing board had granted Stone Hearth a special license available only to eateries in urban-renewal zones, but had to rescind that after Allston Civic Association President Paul Berkeley, who said he not only opposed a liquor license but the entire idea of a pizzeria at what is now a shuttered gas station, discovered the proposed location was just outside the urban-renewal zone originally set up for the housing project across the street.

The board's hearing on the proposed license transfer from Mississippi's to Stone Hearth is on Wednesday, Feb. 23, in the board's eighth-floor hearing room at City Hall.

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Comments

When is Boston going to end the liquor license mess

Only in Boston is there a cap on the number of liquor licenses available for the entire city. Any other city can issue as few or as many liquor licenses as they want. In Boston the cap is just an excuse for corruption.

A la...

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Wilkerson and Turner.

Hey Berkeley - get your next pathetic, passive-aggressive excuse ready. God forbid the ACA approve something family-oriented.

Liquor-license limits

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While it's true Boston is the only place in the state where the number of liquor licenses is set by the legislature, which inevitably leads to Dianne Wilkerson, the other 350 cities and towns can't just issue licenses like there's no tomorrow. In those places the number is capped by state law - it's based on some population formula (for every 10,000 people, a town gets X licenses).

Look wider

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I wonder if the person meant Massachusetts in general? Only half of the states limit the number of liquor licenses in general; why not just allow them to any business owner who goes through the steps, just like every other business license? We aren't limiting the number of plumbers or manicurists.

Public safety?

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I realize liquor licenses are somewhat like cab medallions - they help protect the holders' profits - but most plumbers' customers aren't likely to go out and get arrested for OUI.

And?

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Most bar customers aren't likely to go out and get arrested for OUI either.

True

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But the odds, while small, are higher than those of somebody leaving a plumbing supply store. And the licensing board holds regular Tuesday hearings on drunken fights at our local watering holes.

Maybe it was nitpicking

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But your earlier justification was just ill-founded in my mind. I fully recognize that bars are where drunks come from (whether they fight, drive, or whatever afterwards). I just wanted it to be clearer that the problem isn't that there are too many places to get drunk.

Basically, though, if you're not going to run a completely dry town, then why limit them at all?

Imagine a scenario where there's only ONE licensed bar in the entire city and it's big enough to satisfy all of the clientele that wants to go out and get drunk on any given night. You'd still have people leaving there and doing stupid and/or illegal things. So, why does it matter if there's one place or 5,000 places? It's not like an increase in places means an increase in drunks getting into trouble. If they didn't go to one place, they'd go to another instead...still get drunk and still get into fights.

Governments love fun

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The fact of the matter is, alcohol is a drug, and any governmental body is going to get squeamish at the idea of letting people use an intoxicating substance, legal or not. While its use in conjunction with activities that could result in harm should certainly be regulated somehow, it is as you say: the vast majority of liquor store patrons are not necessarily going to be engaging in these types of behavior. But that doesn't change the fact that governments thrive on obscurant notions like policing people's choices of entertainment. In summary, down with the system!

Governments

You say this as if the local "obscurant" oddities around alcohol and nightlife were a universal feature of all governments.

They aren't.

Some places expect people to act like adults, behave themselves, make their own decisions and then deal with them when they do not. Some decide that if you meet certain basic evidence-driven safety criteria for entertainment or dispensing alcohol, the nature of your business is your business.

And I applaud those places

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And I applaud those places for it; "live and let live" is how it ought to be. But my statement had more to do with large-scale governmental practices of limit and control than how one town or state handles things versus another. Scores of countries have attempted prohibition because governments tend to make knee-jerk decisions and assume the worst of their populace; you see how that turns out. But they don't like ceding control of things too often, because too much swing in that direction and the authority loses its efficacy. I acknowledge what you're saying, but the macroscopic view says that those in power aren't your friends. They're not really one of you, and more often than not they don't empathize.

Speaking of Stone Hearth

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I found myself in Belmont the other night (my goal was to pick up beer for the Super Bowl at Craft Beer Cellar (you should go there if you like good beer). I had dinner next door at Stone Hearth for the first time.

The idea that anyone would act like it was some sort of example of Harvard treating Allstonians like "Homer Simpson", or that serving alcohol there was the equivalent of drunken student bars, or anything else that the ACA could come up with to dismiss the restaurant's application...it's appalling to the point of actually becoming repulsive.

First of all, the place was PACKED on a Saturday night and we waited 25 minutes just to get a table. The service was excellent considering the lack of space at that location. I didn't even have a beer ("D'oh!"). The pizzas are more art than science and the variety and quality of toppings were top-notch. There was kids' artwork on the walls as part of the decor for crying out loud! Allston should be BEGGING for these kinds of places to even show an interest in opening so that they could have REAL food instead of half of the other cardboard plain-jane pizza options they have right now. Let *those* go out of business...but don't turn away a quality restaurant like Stone Hearth, geez.

Lower Allston Residents

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The ACA does not represent the neighborhood, they are very out of touch. In lower Allston we are not college students, we are middle aged blue collar people and yuppies. My husband and I would love Stone Heath to come to the neighborhood. Anything to get rid of the crumbling industrial buildings and empty lots.

Hearing Time?

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Adam, do you know what time next Wednesday's hearing is? I am an Allston resident and have been following this story closely. If I can go to this I would like to. I haven't been able to find the time on the city's website. (By the way, how did you even hear about this development in the first place?) Anyway, thanks!

Kinda kicking myself - had an

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Kinda kicking myself - had an chance to invest in Stone Hearth in 2005, passed on it, boo on me!

Then again, not that big a fan of high hat gentrified pizza but hey, whattyagonnado.

As for Licker license caps, I would have agreed with folks in regards it to somehow quashing our rights or big government or whatever came out of SwirlyGash's corn hole, but now with kids, I can see why there are limits. Sure, other cities don't have laws like that (for example, LA) - but there you can have a nudie bar, a best buy, a chuck e cheese and two bars in the same strip mall.

Ridiculous

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what a waste of time! Trying to decide if a pizza place can sell beer and wine. Are there not real problems to solve in this city beyond this nonsense...?