City councilors want liquor licenses for Dudley Square

City Councilors Ayanna Pressley (at large) and Tito Jackson (Roxbury) say the city needs to figure out how to get liquor licenses to restaurants in Dudley Square, in a city where licenses increasingly go to pricey chains in areas such as the waterfront and downtown.

Pressley, who has been pressing for more liquor licenses for the city in general, and Jackson say the sort of culinary entrepreneurs that might want to set up shop in what could be a rebounding Dudley need the boost that liquor sales could give them:

Many smaller 'mom and pop' restaurants common throughout many Boston neighborhoods already struggle to stay open without the benefit of a liquor license and studies have shown such establishments could see a 25% increase in total business through the availability of a license.

The council votes today on their request for a hearing to figure out how to ensure the Dudley area can get licenses.

The total number of liquor licenses in Boston is set by the state Legislature; prices on the open market for a full-service liquor license have reached as high as $325,000.

The last time the legislature approved an increase in the number of liquor licenses in Boston, the process led to the extortion conviction of then state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson.



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Greater interactivity at Boston City Council

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It's difficult interacting with Boston City Council. Over 100 staff have failed to setup a mechanism on the web for greater interactivity. For example, the stenographic record of Public Meetings of Boston City Council can be put online. Your favorite City Councilor's remarks can be grabbed and your comment, feedback, questions, suggestions can be added and sent. Boston City Council could get up to speed and allow a greater interactive mechanism. Councilors' campaigns could include their remarks from the stenographic record.

I'm shocked!

You mean a fascist (even if unintended) policy hurts small business and caters to the rich and well connected?! *gasp* Maybe the solution is... remove the limit on licensing! *clutches pearls* Oh, but heavens, no! We wouldn't want people to... dare I say it... start their own business, be competive, or simply be able to enjoy themselves at a local pub, do we?

Easy. A few options: (1)

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Easy. A few options:

(1) Remove the liquor license cap.
(2) Tie licenses to the original owner so they cannot be resold. When the business is closed, the license is returned to the city.
(3) Designate a certain number of licenses per neighborhood and require them to stay in that neighborhood.

Not Easy

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This is not as easy as it seems;

The State controls the liquor licenses number for Boston, which is set at a fixed cap outside of legislation which must be passed at the State level for the purposes of each new license or for an increase on the cap. This is an issue that requires action by the State Reps and Senators. Get on their case to ask for Home Rule and get a system similar to Cambridge or Provincetown. Boston has 1 license per 500 people, Cambridge 1/250, PTown 1/40.

What are the arguments

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What are the arguments against the state devolving liquor licensing to Boston? I honestly can't think of any good reason not too let the city government have control. The state should even get more revenue out of it, since more booze sold in Boston = more booze taxed = more revenue for the state.

This isn't Cancun

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where anybody who wants to serve alcohol opens up a joint and calls it a bar. There is an unfair distribution of alcohol licenses throughout the City, with the majority of them in Southie and the Seaport.
Something will change when the gangbangers, wiseguys and hookers start acting up in these areas.
Sorry, the answer isn't create more licenses.

Why not?

'where anybody who wants to serve alcohol opens up a joint and calls it a bar'

why can't Boston become 'more like Cancun,' where if you want to open a bar or restaurant, obtaining a liquor license isn't an obstacle?

Enlighten us please

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I've never been to Cancun - please explain the problem?

What would be wrong with Boston having the number of bars and restaurants it naturally supports?

Thanks for the insults, but

Thanks for the insults, but you're wrong on both counts. I just wanted clarification on why Boston couldn't become more like Cancun, in regards to liquor license. I would never want Boston to become Cancun, I just think an artificial limit on liquor licenses hurts Boston's small-restaurants and citizens who enjoy bars.

Giant Corporate Douchebars

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Let's see - we have a city that breeds giant corporate douchebars where douchebags get loaded up and get in fights with poorly supervised thug bouncers ... and yet the system is rigged to breed exactly that.

Hooray for Pressley and Jackson! Having spent a bit of time in other cities, the little places are far saner and more controlled.

prices on the open market for

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prices on the open market for a full-service liquor license have reached as high as $325,000

(sarcasm) I have NO IDEA what you're talking about! Licenses are granted to businesses on a case-by-case basis, and can't be bought or sold! Certainly not on an open market! (/sarcasm)

Seriously, the liquor license scam is the most easily identifiable version of corruption in our city and state government. (Isn't it nice how the politicians set it up so both city and state officials have to be in your pocket to get anything done?) It's about time for a political outsider to come in and start governing with some common sense.

There are some liquor licenses that can't be sold

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I'm not sure how many there are or how they get designated, but there are some licenses that are tied to a specific location (this was an issue when Townsends in Hyde Park shut down and the owner refused to give up the license - the landlord legally couldn't get another restaurant in there because state law prohibits having two licenses for the same address).

There are also some licenses set away for zones designated as economically disadvantaged - this was an issue in Allston when Stone Hearth Pizza tried opening up on some Harvard land with one of these and then the Allston Civic Association president discovered the pizza place would be across the street from the "disadvantaged" land (basically, the housing project), which forced the owners to obtain a license on the open market (nowhere near for $325,000, though, in part because, hey, Allston, but also because they only wanted a beer-and-wine license, which is more common and so which commands a lower price).

Otherwise, though, license owners are free to try to sell their licenses, with the caveat that the board is free to reject the "transfers" if, say, the purchaser has a criminal record or fails to show a "public need" for the license wherever it is he wants to use it.

wtf more liquor, more

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wtf more liquor, more accidents, deaths need i say more . Why not invest in education or focus on lifting the cap oncharter schools . Its a dam shame that i could walk to any corner and get liquor but gotta travel around the city and back just to buy groceries . But who cares i know its all about money and thats one less vote they can all count on . Calm down of course they'll get it back soon after the behind the scenes hustle it' will "be resolved".