Restoration Hardware hammered for not using liquor license

The Boston Licensing Board today warned the lawyer for the fancy home-furnishing chain that if it doesn't start serving the wine and beer for which it won a license at its Back Bay store last year, it could have that license taken away.

Restoration Hardware lawyer Howard Wayne told the board it's been unable to win ISD approval for the kitchen, restrooms and other facilities it needs to open a wine bar in its historic new location between Boylston and Newbury streets.

Wayne said the store wants to eventually open a wine bar, but if it can't, it would sell the license.

Board Chairwoman Nicole Murati Ferrer, who voted against giving the store a license last year, literally threw her hands up in the air in anger. She said at a hearing last year, Restoration Hardware said it wanted to open a sort of cafe to serve "small bites" along with wine to customers browsing expensive home furnishings, not a wine bar.

She told Wayne she was upset that Restoration Hardware had "misrepresented" what it wanted to do in the space. "If your client's intent is to change (the nature of the wine and beer sales), I think they need to have the courtesy to tell us, because I'm comfortable at this point revoking the license," she said.

She added Restoration Hardware spent vast amounts of money and took a long time gutting and restoring the inside of the old Louis Boston and that she was finding it hard to believe the store was unable to carve out any space for a kitchen during that time.

Wayne said this was all news to him. He said he only took over as Restoration Hardware lawyer last year. At the board's license hearing, it was represented by go-to licensing lawyer Dennis Quilty.

Unless the store quickly begins serving beer and wine, the board will hold a hearing to consider taking back the license.

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    Comments

    So a yuppie DIY store can get

    By on

    So a yuppie DIY store can get a license but new restaurants have to struggle or pay a ton? Hope they lose it and it goes to something more deserving.

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    deserving? who are you to judge?

    By on

    This Restoration Hardware is a furniture and home decor showroom, not a DIY store. RH is out of my price range, but the staff is friendly and it's an incredible historic building with beautiful views. It's fun to grab a coffee, go up the stunning elevator and look out the windows on a snowy night. Emmanuel church across the street is beautiful and you don't often get to see from this vantage. If you're not a fan of architecture, I can see why you could care less about this building.
    If they sold wine, which they do have a bar already built on the top or near top floor, that would be even better. Hope they iron out the issues and start selling beer/wine asap. The more options for a drink the better, besides this makes a nice cheap date night -- $10 glass of wine in a lovely building.
    Rumor has it that the Room & Board being built at Mass. Ave. and Newbury St. is also planning to sell wine, so prepare to be even more irate, anon (not verified) on Tue, 03/04/2014 - 2:32pm!

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    An overpriced store catering

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    An overpriced store catering to snobs can get a license they barely will use and neighborhood restaurants cannot. That is the issue. Establishments which could be social and economic centers of their communities get shafted so the gentry can sip some sherry while looking at fricken COFFEE TABLES.

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    thanks for the tip, db

    By on

    Drinking wine and appreciating old buildings makes one a snob?? Damn! I must be clutching my pearls as well! Didn't even know I had them... lucky me.

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    Well someones panties are in

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    Well someones panties are in a bunch. I have furniture from Restoration Hardware and I am not a snob. I work hard for my money and like to have nice things in my life. I am well past the age of browsing the aisles of ikea and sitting on my floor for hours putting together cheap particle board furniture that will just fall apart after a few years. In the real world quality has a price, if you dont want to pay it fine, but don't just blanket statement us all as snobs who want to look at "overpriced furniture"

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    17

    Right...

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    Because those are the only two options. Nothing in between. Expert point-dodging as well.

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    10

    If you know of any middle-of

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    If you know of any middle-of-the-road furniture stores, please let me know.

    All I've come across is Ikea, stores with cheap particleboard junk of worse quality (like Target), stores with overpriced particleboard junk, and stores with insanely overpriced real wood furniture. Hence I get my stuff from Ikea, since I don't want to spend $10k on a couch.

    It wasn't a gift

    Per Adam's link to the original story, Restoration Hardware bought their license from a closed restaurant just like any other establishment would have to.

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    15

    I'm assuming Restoration

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    I'm assuming Restoration Hardware paid a ton for their license. It's easy for a big chain to make the investment in a liquor license.

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    11

    Yup

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    That's why nearly every new place that opens in Boston is a chain (how many new Legal's opening this year, 2?), or part of restaurant group.

    Meanwhile, better-connected owners

    sit on unused licenses for three and four years at a time. See Todd English and Joe Cimino for nearby examples. Restoration has only been squatting on theirs for a year.

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    Don't forget

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    45 Province...are they still squatting on their license? Its only been 5 years or so.