The Boston Licensing Board yesterday deferred any action on revoking the liquor licenses for Townsends on Fairmount Avenue and Drifter's Restaurant and Lounge on Hyde Park Avenue, both of which have been shut for several months now.
The owners of both licenses failed to show at cancellation hearings on Tuesday. The board yesterday scheduled new hearings - Nov. 13 for Townsends and Dec. 11 for Drifters.
At the Tuesday hearing on Townsends, its landlord, the mayor's office, the office of City Councilor Rob Consalvo and Hyde Park Main Streets all urged the board to immediately revoke its liquor license so that the landlord could move to fill the space with a new restaurant.
Because the law prohibits the issuance of two liquor licenses for the same space, and because the Tallons have yet to try to move their restaurant to another location, nearly nine months after it was shut, landlord John Button can't sign a lease with another liquor-serving restaurant. The elected officials and Hyde Park Main Streets say it's unfair to both Button and the neighborhood to let the prominent space in what was once an up-and-coming part of the neighborhood's main commercial strip simply sit vacant for so long.
State law also prohibits holders of liquor licenses from simply sitting on them without using them in actual restaurants or bars. It's an especially critical issue in Boston, where demand for licenses exceeds the city's state-restricted supply.
Unlike Townsends, which had been open for several years, Drifter's lasted barely a few months before shutting down. It had replaced one of Hyde Park Avenue's hole-in-the-wall bars.
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