Back Bay residents like their sleep: Neighborhood group opposes 1 a.m. closing for Newbury Street restaurant

The Boston Licensing Board decides tomorrow whether to let an Italian restaurant open on Newbury Street at Fairfield - and if so, whether to let it stay open until 1 a.m. like its owners want, or midnight, like the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay wants.

Serafina was before the board this morning to ask permission to buy the beer-and-wine license owned by the now closed Scoozi at 235A Newbury St. It also asked the board to let it stay open until 1 a.m. - 11 p.m. for its patio - to add a bar and to serve alcohol with brunch starting at 10 a.m. on Sundays.

NABB's Elliott Laffer urged the board to limit the restaurant's closing time to midnight indoors and 10 p.m. outdoors. He said that because the restaurant is on the north side of Newbury, noise from its operations could both Commonwealth Avenue residents whose properties face out on the back of Newbury Street businesses.

NABB was joined by City Councilor Josh Zakim (Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway, Mission Hill), who sent an aide to the hearing to oppose the license transfer because of the closing times.

Serafina attorney Joseph Hanley - who had the backing of the mayor's office - argued that 1 a.m. fits in with the nature of Newbury Street these days and that there are already restaurants on the north side of the street that have 1 a.m. closing time, including Sonsie. He added that Serafina's has never had problems at existing High Street location.

Hanley said that at the request of the mayor's office, Serafina invited direct abutters to a meeting on the proposal - and that just one person showed up, which he said indicated that the people most likely to be affected by a 1 a.m. closing were not concerned.

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Simple solution

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Let the restaurant stay open until 1 am for a trail period - say six months - and see if there are any issues.

Oh wait, that would make too much sense. Better to deny the request based on the narrow minded opinion of a snooty neighborhood association instead.

What makes you think they are snooty?

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I've been a member for over 20 years and spent 10 years on the board. Protective of the RESIDENTIAL quality of the neighborhood - absolutely (that's their charter - i.e. reason for being). I know most people consider Newbury commercial - but it's actually quite residential plus you have residents abutting the alleys.

Snooty - have literally never seen anything "snooty". Snooty people tend not to participate in NABB activities. Way too lowbrow to do the gruntwork of a neighborhood association groveling in front of city officials for snooty people to bother with.

I'm not positive - but I think what they usually do in these situations is grant 10 pm/midnight closings - if you prove to be a responsible neighbor - you can apply for expanded hours at a later time - kind of the inverse of the "trial period" you recommend. I don't think the neighborhood ever approves patio activities past 10 pm - but again not positive.

For the record - Elliott and his wife are very good friends - and about the most "unsnooty" people you'd ever meet.

I'm more experienced than biased

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I live behind a Newbury Street restaurant - used to be Joe's before they moved and they were a nightmare (apparently still are according to some neighbors). Met Bar moved in and we couldn't ask for a more pleasant neighbor.

Grit Overrated

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Having lived in Manhattan in the late eighties/early nineties, let me be the first to say, thank God for that.

"Grit"

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Is saying you have "grit" just a way to make yourself better for being a chump, putting up with unnecessary shit and asking for more?

Okay

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Then maybe you shouldn't live in an active commercial zone in the city if you can't use earplugs.

Good for the Back Bay residents

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if you want late night, party places put them in the Theater District, Financial District, Allston and around Fenway Park and TD Garden.

Not residential areas.

Huh?

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I'd bet there are more people who live around TD Garden now than live on all of Newbury St.

Yes but they knew they were

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Yes but they knew they were moving next to a sports venue that brings in thousands of obnoxious suburban sports fans.

of course, i would be all for moving TD Garden out to the burbs so residents near North Station don't have to deal with them.

Go Senators! Go Bulls!

You'd be surprised

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There are actually a large number of residences on Newbury especially as you get closer to Mass Ave.

More to the point, these restaurants back on to Comm Ave and it's not really the patrons on the street that are the noise concern. It's the 2 am bottle dumping, the 3 am duct cleaning and the 4 am trash pick up that is the problem. All of this goes on in the alleys that are like block long echo chambers that magnify sound. I'm mostly immune to these although the bottles are loud and my wife is the only one I know that can sleep through duct cleaning. (Imagine a jet engine about 75 feet from your pillow)

These are longstanding rules/guidelines. You get standard hours when you open. If you are a good neighbor you can expand operations -longer hours, patio, take-out etc. If they are a good operator, in about a year I think they can apply for expanded hours. The system mostly works.

You forgot

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You forgot the 5 am deposit bottle scroungers who fill up metal shopping carts with glass bottles and then trundle them along uneven pavement.

And

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There a large number of apartments around TD Garden. Thousands.

Midnight seems late enough

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If this is really a "restaurant" then people should be done eating by midnight. If what they really plan to open is a bar that also serves food, then they should say so.

BINGO

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just tryin to sneak ni under the line, inch by inch.

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