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.