North End reaches a tippling point

NorthEndWaterfront.com reports the North End/Waterfront Residents' Association has put its foot down and is saying no more liquor licenses for the North End.

With 91 restaurants and bars already pouring libations, the group voted recently to oppose any new pouring licenses. It will refuse to meet with anybody seeking a new license and will instead file an automatic letter of opposition with the Boston Licensing Board.

The licensing board requires applicants for liquor licenses to try to meet with neighborhood groups but is not bound by local recommendations. In May, board Chairwoman Nicole Murati Ferrer said she would no longer automatically comply with a similar moratorium request from the Back Bay.

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Comments

Short-sighted

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On one hand, it's not like there aren't plenty of restaurants and bars in the N End, or within a 5 minutes' walk.

But is seems kinda ham-fisted to say 91 is it, and no more. What if some amazing restauranteur has an incredible plan for a new place, supported by everyone in the neighborhood?

Seems like all the Residents' Ass'n is doing is taking themselves out of the process. Now applicants will just skip by them and go to the Licensing Board directly.

I'm ok with this

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We currently live in a system of limited licensing. Since our number of licenses so infrequently goes up, making licenses limitingly expensive, the continued sequestration of the licenses to places like Back Bay and the North End takes away from further-out neighborhood options in places like Dorchester and Brighton.

If licenses were handed out to anyone who met basic requirements and there was no artificial limit, then this automatic refusal would be obstructive to the market, but as it stands, it might actually be a good solution to the continuing concentration of licenses to those neighborhoods that can most afford them..and away from the lower rent areas of town.

Perhaps but...

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In order to recover the insane costs of a liquor license currently, you need to open up in an area which guarantees a lot of customers.

So, I think it's more likely that potential licensees will simply give up or continue to try pushing their way into the popular markets, rather than opening up in a less well-served area.

I would like to see better dispersal of the licenses as well, mostly so that people are able to walk to a local neighborhood pub instead of feeling like they must drive to one of the hot spots. But so long as the stakes are kept ridiculously high by the licensing limit, it's not going to happen.

Supply and demand

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If fewer people are buying because they can't recoup the high cost of the exclusive license, more licenses from out-of-business restaurants will either decrease in price until they find a buyer who would be one of the local pub varieties not looking to recoup such a high entry cost or return to the city to be handed out at face value alone.