In one of those only-in-Boston things, plans for some licensing musical chairs in which a longtime Charlestown bar would sell its full liquor license to a Dominican restaurant in Roslindale, so it could in turn sell its beer and wine license to a coffeehouse in a boutique hotel in Downtown Crossing hit a last-minute snag today.
It turns out Old Sully's, 56 Union St. in Charlestown, has 14 shareholders, and not all of them approved the plans to shut the place and sell its liquor license to Guira & Tambora, 4014 Washington St. in Roslindale.
Until that's settled, the Roslindale restaurant won't sell its beer and wine license to George Howell Coffee, in the Godfrey Hotel at 505 Washington St. downtown. George Howell says it wants to offer a small selection of wines from "lesser known" vineyard and craft beers - including one beer made with coffee - to the post-dinner, post-theater crowd that "wants to have a conversation at a normal level," as its attorney, Joseph Devlin said.
All this emerged at Boston Licensing Board hearings this morning. In fact, the board was set to adjourn for the day, when Joe Sullivan, treasurer of the corporation that owns Old Sully's, rose to ask the sale be postponed.
Sullivan said the sale of the liquor license was never brought before a formal meeting of the corporation, and that the earliest that could happen is April 7, when the president returns north from Florida. Daniel Sullivan, one of the 14 shareholders, said it appeared 12 of the 14 are in favor of the sale.
The board is supposed to vote tomorrow on the liquor-license sales, but could defer action to let everybody come to a solution
That this is an issue at all is due to the way the number of liquor licenses in Boston is limited by the state legislature. With more demand than available licenses, restaurant and bar owners who want to serve alcohol have to go onto the open market, where licenses can go for high five figures for beer and wine licenses to low to mid six figures for full liquor licenses.