North End, Chinatown, South Boston waterfront have enough liquor licenses, board rules

The Boston Licensing Board today rejected requests from several North End and Chinatown restaurants to serve hard liquor, saying there's no public need in an area already full of places to get a drink.

The board has five full liquor licenses to dole out this year. Board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini and other board members said they want to ensure the licenses are spread out across the city.

Antico Forno, Terramia, Crudo and Carmelina's on Salem Street and Strega on Hanover Street already have licenses to serve beer and wine. Hot Eastern on Harrison Avenue in Chinatown similarly has a beer and wine license; Joy Luck Restaurant on Washington Street and the Best Little Restaurant on Hudson Street were seeking to add drinks to their menus. Also rejected: Thomas Kershaw, who wanted to open a second 75 restaurant on Congress Street.

The board vote means that if these restaurants want to add hard liquor, they will have to go on the open market to try to buy a license - at prices that could exceed $300,000.

The Salem Street restaurants had argued it was unfair their street has only two full-service liquor licenses and that they are facing stiff competition from restaurants in other parts of the city, notably along the waterfront, that have full licenses.

But board member Keeana Saxon said the North End and Chinatown are "saturated" with places to get a drink. Board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini and board member Liam Curran agreed.

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Comments

Ridiculous

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This shouldn't be about whether the North End and Chinatown have "enough places to buy liquor". That argument makes sense for bars and liquor stores, but is ridiculous in this context. These are existing restaurants that are being hurt by not being able to serve drinks when neighboring restaurants can. People aren't going to them "to buy liquor" - they're going there to eat, but would also like to be able to have a drink with dinner.

The state should allow Boston to decide how many liquor licenses it wants to give out, and then licenses should be determined by whether the individual cases have merit, not by an arbitrary number of licenses.

The state should allow Boston

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The state should allow Boston to decide how many liquor licenses it wants to give out, and then licenses should be determined by whether the individual cases have merit, not by an arbitrary number of licenses.

Actually, the decision whether or not to grant a specific establishment the right to sell liquor should be determined solely on the merits of the particular case, and not bound by an arbitrary maximum number of licenses. And the whole concept of basing the decisions on "public need" is an outdated crock that should be abolished entirely.

That's what I was trying to say

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I didn't not mean that Boston itself should set a limit. I meant that Boston should be able to decide whether it wants to give a particular establishment a license based on its own criteria, not an arbitrary number.

Thanks for the clarification.

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Was thrown off by your initial statement

The state should allow Boston to decide how many liquor licenses it wants to give out,

which implied to me that there still would be an arbitrary limit on licenses.

The secondary market

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A $300k liquor license on the secondary market is proof that there aren't enough of them. We should be granting licenses to all who qualify, not rationing them out as political favors.

sigh...

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...is the Boston Licensing Board elected?

But board member Keeana Saxon said the North End and Chinatown are "saturated" with places to get a drink. Board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini and board ember Liam Curran agreed.

I want to make sure i vote against them.

Awe-inspring intellectual gymnastics

But board member Keeana Saxon said the North End and Chinatown are "saturated" with places to get a drink. Board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini and board member Liam Curran agreed.

That anyone can actually say this with a straight face: "They're in such tight supply that people will pay half a million dollars for one on the open market, but, hey, there are too many of them out there." just staggers the imagination.

Politicians understanding the

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Politicians understanding the laws of economics as explained by anyone other than Marx or Keynes?

Crazy-talk!

Much like zoning can

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Much like zoning can influence the value of a property, this decision can influence the value of a business. For that reason I feel the justification for denial is seriously lacking.

This whole process makes me

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This whole process makes me so angry. Restaurants that cannot get liquor licenses are at a HUGE disadvantage. I've been to Best Little Restaurant in Chinatown a few times now. Their food is awesome, but not being able to get a drink with dinner is quite annoying. The most common request they hear from patrons is "when are you getting a liquor license?"