Board has more than two dozen applications for just five unrestricted liquor licenses

Christine Pulgini and liquor-license requests

Board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini and today's applications.

The Boston Licensing Board today held 14 hearings on requests from restaurants that want one of the five all-alcohol licenses that state legislature graced on the city that became available this month - and holds a similar number of hearings next week.

Board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini said the board will defer any decisions on who gets the new licenses - which can be resold for six-figure amounts - until after all the hearings are done, so it can decide which five made the best "public need" cases.

In addition, the board held hearings today on four restricted licenses, which can only be used in certain neighborhoods and which have to be returned to the board if the restaurant closes or moves. Among the groups applying for these licenses, intended to help culinary entrepreneurs in traditionally under-served neighborhoods: Wahlburgers, which wants to open a burger place in the large new South Bay expansion.

Councilor Sal LaMattina, who supported every single proposal in his North End/Charlestown/East Boston district, said the hearings show why Boston officials have to try again to convince the legislature to let the city take full control of liquor licenses, because otherwise, you wind up with neighborhoods fighting against each other - or, in his case, even neighboring streets competing for the licenses.

Here are the applicants and their cases, arranged by neighborhood:

Brighton

Unnamed restaurant, 94 Guest St. Part of the New Balance mega-project, this proposed restaurant by Beauport Hospitality of Gloucester is "an extremely important location in the city of Boston, especially in the Allston/Brighton neighborhood," given how important the New Balance project is, attorney Dennis Qulity argued. It meets "every aspect of public need one could imagine" as a lynchpin of the 15-acre New Balance project, which is completely revitalizing a formerly desolate industrial wasteland along the Worcester Line and the turnpike, he said. The local civic association strongly supports the proposal as well.

Charlestown

Sweet Rice, 187 Main St. This Thai restaurant has been open for about five months. Owner Pichai Chairatthanawanit says the public need is that "there are not a lot of restaurants in the Charlestown area and not a lot of full liquor licenses." Councilor Sal LaMattina rose to support that argument.

Downtown

Kamaura, 150 State St. The burgeoning residential neighborhood needs a quality Japanese restaurant - and it would re-activate a long vacant builing - its attorney said.

East Boston

Renegades Pub, 1004 Bennington St. Public need: Would re-activate a former pub space turned eyesore that has been vacant for years, LaMattina and the mayor's office say.

The Retreat, 303 Sumner St. Public need: Jeffreys Point needs an upscale neighborhood restaurant with "high quality food and drinks," not to mention a scratch kitchen. LaMattina supported the request.

Unnamed restaurant, 6 New St. See separate story.

North End

Antico Forno, 93 Salem St. and Terramia Ristorante, 98 Salem St. Carla Gomes, who owns both restaurants, deserves at least one full license to regain dining and function business lost to waterfront resstaurants with full licenses, attorney Albert DeNapoli said. Also, Gomes - supported by a number of North End residents - supports diabetes and North End groups. And it's a bit unfair that Hanover Street has 15 full liquor licenses, but Salem Street has only two, he said. LaMattina called her "a great, great business woman in the North End."

Crudo, 78 Salem St. The public need is simple: Crudo is the North End's only Japanese restaurant and people come from around the world to eat there, attorney Daniel Toscano said. Narrowing down the Salem Street argument even more, he said there is not a single full-service liquor license on the restaurant's block. LaMattina said he has seen people walk out of Crudo when told they couldn't get a non-sugary drink - of the sort you'd want with Japanese food.

Carmelina's, 124 Salem St. Owner Damien DiPaola plans to move Carmelina's from Hanover to a larger space on Salem Street. LaMattina praised DiPaola for his public service - he is always helping to clean up the neighborhood and has even been known to get on the case of other restaurant owners who are not quite so fastidious.

Strega, 379 Hanover St. The first of Nick Varano's Strega restaurants, where the public need, supporters said, is due in part to Varano's well known generosity in the neighborhood.

Roxbury

Mida, 782 Tremont St. Although owner Douglass Williams could apply for one of the restricted neighborhood licenses, he went for a full license, which is actually an important reason to give him one, City Councilor Tito Jackson (Roxbury) says. Jackson noted that the whole reason behind the 75 total new licenses Boston got in 2014 was to spur restaurant development in underserved neighborhoods such as Roxbury. But none of the 10 unrestricted licenses doled out earlier this year went to Roxbury. And as cool as the limited licenses are, they have no inherent value, unlike the unrestricted ones, which immedidately become valuable assets. Such assets become one way the city can help alleviate the continuing huge differences between the assets held by white and black Boston residents, by "spreading the wealth around the city," he said. Douglass himself said distilled spirits would prove valuable to customers with various digestive ailments who might be attracted to his menu - which is Italian, but heavy on vegetables and meats, rather than sugars and wheat, a menu he said he drew up in part based on his own experience with Crohn's Disease.

South Boston waterfront

75 on Seaport Square, 60 Seaport Blvd. Thomas Kershaw's latest proposed 75 restaurant - he already has one on Beacon Hill and one on Liberty Wharf, would provide another option for the fast-growing, hard-charging seaport area.

Neighborhoods: 

Topics: 

Free tagging: 

Comments

Wow, that's a lot of paper...

By on

Wow, that's a lot of paper... I wonder how many trees have to die for these liquor licenses

up
Voting is closed. 10

Why should people who own

By on

Why should people who own multiple establishments and can hardly be considered small business owners get such a valuable freebie from the City? It is instructive to see who scored the last time around. This reeks!

up
Voting is closed. 22

Why do other towns get to

By on

Why do other towns get to decide how many licenses they hand out and Boston has such a limited supply?? It's a totally false scarcity.

up
Voting is closed. 35

Its a perfect example of the

By on

Its a perfect example of the state government killing small businesses in Boston. Only the rich will prosper when they are the only ones who can afford a liquor license.

up
Voting is closed. 37

Well ...

By on

Yes, the licenses are now issued by the city of Boston (until 2014, they were issued by a board appointed by the governor). But the state legislature has limited the number of licenses Boston can issue, because, of course, we are not to be trusted.

up
Voting is closed. 39

It goes way back...

By on

...to the late 1800's when the Irish were taking over Boston and the Brahmins that still ran the state didn't think they could be trusted to govern --- especially when it came to liquor!

up
Voting is closed. 18

this is the reason

By on

every townie, hack, life-long politician has an uncle who was a drunken mess. so they all think alcohol is evil and have all these outdated laws to "stop" the "next uncle".

attention townie hacks: there is a whole population out there that doesn't have relatives that are drunks.

file this under reason number 91,235,323 on why we should not elect townies. Boston needs outside blood. ...people that come from a world class city.

up
Voting is closed. 12

With every post...

... you betray your total lack of knowledge of actual (as opposed to made up in your own head) Boston history.

up
Voting is closed. 15

Of course

By on

Since the politicians in Revere, Everett, Medford, Somerville, Springfield and all of the 350 municipalities not called Boston are all models of good governance.

up
Voting is closed. 9

nick varano's well-known

By on

nick varano's well-known generosity in the neighborhood? ahahahhahahahhahahaha. this guy is a total buffoon though it does seem to make him a lot of money.

up
Voting is closed. 18

It was so generous of him to

By on

It was so generous of him to take down the huge billboard in the North End that was just a picture of his ugly mug.

up
Voting is closed. 22

Almost all of those needs

By on

sounds like a bunch of horse-hockey.

Down town doesn't have enough restaurants to serve the ballooning residential population? Really?

The need for more liquor licenses in the N. End is that the owner sweeps up the sidewalk? Good for him, but c'mon.

PS- Not a knock on these restaurants. More on the political spin/BS/hoops they're being forced to jump through.

up
Voting is closed. 12

Give Tom Kershaw Another Liquor License?

On moral grounds, please no.

This is a man who made millions off of the happenstance that a couple of producers decided to create a sitcom and set in his bar also happens to be the man that went public within a very few days of 9/11, after the airlines were suggesting a bailout because they are the lifeblood of commerce in the country, saying that he needed a bailout as well, because I guess because t-shirts of a Bull and Finch are just as important to the nation's commerce as United or Delta.

Many were kind of shocked when he kept pushing for it while fires were still burning in Lower Manhattan. He even kept up with it when Jack Thomas at the Globe tried to give him a soft focus story in late 2001.

Tom, please go with what you got and be happy.

up
Voting is closed. 14

Yes, the airlines screamed on

By on

Yes, the airlines screamed on 9/11 how they needed free money from taxpayers to survive, and Congress obliged with a $5 billion cash giveaway.

If the US government is going to borrow money from my kids and hand out to random people, I'd put out my hand too.

up
Voting is closed. 14

Would you rather

By on

The airlines fail? We go back to train services to cross the country?

up
Voting is closed. 8

I'd rather

We limit the growth of the human population so that a pilot can make a fair living while an airline passenger lives a life where a plane ticket is comfortably within their means.

up
Voting is closed. 9

Giving away something free that can be later sold??

By on

I bet even a child detective could trace the money flow in this scam. Keep it simple: If you get the license for free, then you can't sell it to someone else. If you pay market rate for the license, then you can. why is the city handing out golden tickets?

up
Voting is closed. 27

Victory Pub

By on

"Renegades Pub, 1004 Bennington St. Public need: Would re-activate a former pub space turned eyesore that has been vacant for years, LaMattina and the mayor's office say."

To be fair, that location was an eyesore when it was occupied.

Little Asia is a pretty good spot a short walk away for good drinks. I'm, unfortunately, seeing something Ed Hardyish when I see the name "Renegades", but I'd be curious to see the theme.

up
Voting is closed. 10

Toronto Airport

Must be why a friend tagged me in a picture from one of their locations in a foreign airport.

up
Voting is closed. 9

okay

By on

Okay, that is still basically what I expected.

up
Voting is closed. 7

Nice

I was always a little annoyed when I lived in Poets' Corner about the lack of a local.

up
Voting is closed. 13

Poets' Corner

By on

Was this your own name for the area? I've always wondered when realtors would name the area from Wood Island to Orient Heights "Poets' Point".

up
Voting is closed. 8

hmm

By on

Was it a realtor perchance?

up
Voting is closed. 7

This is why neighborhood watering holes are endangered

By on

First there's the astronomical market rate for these licenses, which are always going to migrate towards higher income areas (Back Bay, Downtown, Seaport for unrestricted licenses, the better-off neighborhoods for the restricted ones).

But imagine having to pay a lawyer to assemble all the documents and attend all the hearings, with no certainty that you will end up with a license at the end of the day (which can easily kill a restaurant).

This artificially low number of licenses hurts consumers and small business-owners while benefiting almost no one except the chains who jump through these hoops easily and/or have already bought into the system.

up
Voting is closed. 23

Not to mention it hurts

By on

Not to mention it hurts neighborhoods because, as you mentioned, (relatively) sleepy places like Roslindale and Ashmont have to compete with Back Bay on an open market for liquor licenses. You couldn't design a better system to put a drag on a neighborhood economy.

up
Voting is closed. 20

But don't forget ...

By on

The 60 neighborhood-only licenses designed to counteract that. There's been some funny stuff with them, but Roslindale Square could get a cool new place in the substation because of them (plus the place where Derna's used to be, if it ever opens), Hyde Park got a couple, even Dorchester and Roxbury have gotten some.

up
Voting is closed. 12

Pfft

She works three (expletive) days a week!

up
Voting is closed. 14

Just .... wow.

"... distilled spirits would prove valuable to customers with various digestive ailments ..."

up
Voting is closed. 14

Blame the board that is

By on

Blame the board that is asking for reasons they should issue liquor licenses. A reasonable response is because it will help my business succeed, but the board does not want to hear that, they want to hear that you are a special snowflake that loves Boston more than all the other guys.

up
Voting is closed. 11