Board votes to let Brighton McDonald's stay open until 2 a.m., over neighborhood, city objections

The Boston Licensing Board voted today to let the Soldiers Field McDonald's extend its closing time from 11 p.m. until 2 a.m.

At a hearing yesterday, representatives from the mayor's office and the Brighton Allston Improvement Association asked for an earlier closing time.

The mayor's office asked for midnight at the request of Boston Police and the neighborhood association asked for 1 a.m., saying it was concerned about the area being flooded by people getting out of area bars between 1 and 2 a.m.

The restaurant already has a 24-hour drive-thru and is near a 24-hour IHOP. It had originally sought 24-hour operations itself - in fact, was cited last year for opening around the clock without board approval - but scaled back to 2 a.m. after meeting with the BAIA.

Also today, the board voted to let the McDonald's open in the morning at 5 a.m., an hour earlier than previously.



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I don't care what the neighborhood association says on this one. The place isn't within 500 feet of a residence...and more importantly the only residences nearby are SEPARATED FROM IT BY THE PIKE.

This place is the definition of commercial space completely detached from residential space that you can't find nearly ANYWHERE else in the entire city. If you can't run a 24-hour business there (or even a 21 hour business), then there's no hope for Boston.

I completely agree with you

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but you are wrong about one thing, there are many residences on the same side of the Mass Pike as the McDonald's, including in the rectangle created by Western Ave-Everett St-Mass Pike-Birmingham Pkwy. But that's a moot point, there is a 24/7 McDonald's at Twin-City Plaza, which I live right down the street from, and it causes no problems for anyone.

Not nearby

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I was discussing the Mass Pike in relation to the closest homes. The ones past Market St (aka Birmingham) are at least a half mile away.

Pretty much.

If the place ends up causing too many problems--e.g. there are a lot of police calls to the place in the late hours of the night, or early hours of the morning--then the relevant licensing authorities can revisit McD's authorized opening hours, or impose conditions like having to hire a detail officer at certain days and times.

Which should be the way it is in the first place.

And when does that ever happen?

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It doesn't, unless things get really bad. And even then it is just a temporary rollback.

It is obvious the board has decided it will extend hours in Allston Brighton, regardless of need.

Extend them everywhere. Every neighborhood deserves its share of drunks.

There's actually sound logic there

Drunks deserve to be able to stay in their own neighborhoods.

More places open = fewer drunks traveling = less drunk-driving and fewer drunks on the T.

More places open = fewer drunks in any one place = less chance of fights between any two drunks, also less chance that any place makes a nuisance of itself by being a place for drunks from all over the area to congregate.

More places open = more people out-and-about doing legitimate business = less street crime.

Are drunks breeding in your late nite diners?

It is obvious the board has decided it will extend hours in Allston Brighton, regardless of need.

Extend them everywhere. Every neighborhood deserves its share of drunks.

Yes, staying up late at night or having a shifted schedule makes you a drunk.

1956 called - they want their stereotypes back.

Or are you saying that all the night shift workers and public safety folks are drunks, too?

The mythical, starving "shift-worker"

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I work those late hours, and I and the people I work with just want to get home.

And yes, people from the Joshua Tree will get in their cars and drive to the IHOP, and now the McDonalds. Which is more traffic (and drunks) in my neck of the woods. I live very close to this location.

The police have enough to do with the thousands of people who pour onto the streets when bars close, and all the parties in houses.

The Licensing Board is saying yes to all the extensions of hours in Allston Brighton, while they continue to deny requests in other communities. They said no to the Dominos in South Boston.

Mythical Late Night Drunks

Explain exactly how the availability of services late at night = "more drunks". Until you can get people past that basic - and pretty much baseless - assertion, you have no grounds for argument.

Doesn't seem to happen in every other city that I can think of. Sure, there are drunks around, but you make it sound like everyone in the entire city will go out and get smashed every night and descend in hoards on every neighborhood if there is food available past some magic hour of the night.

To answer for anon. I don't

To answer for anon. I don't think it would "create" more drunks. It will attract some. With a new place, it would dilute the number, but it would mean more areas. However, this is next to the IHOP and removed from the neighborhood, so that at least partially negate that point.

I don't think his tone or language hyperbolized that it is every night. But even one or two nights a week (so Fridays and Saturdays at least) can annoy a resident and mark the complaint as real. And enough for me to sympathize though I historically fall on the other side of that line.

Ever Read Kerouac?

The lack of late-night food options is a fairly recent development, even for Boston.

Most of the objections seem to stem from 1)presuppositions about drunks and 2) OMG! Change = Bad!

In a world of cities, Boston is a glaring exception in the way people expect that there is some magic hour that everybody must go inside or bad things will happen. It wasn't always that way, and it is quite easy to look at the experience of other cities around us to get information instead of hypothesizing.

I own a house in an urban area of another city with a theater offering live shows (tends to be same artists as the Somerville Theater), several bars, and two 24-hour eateries within two blocks. Yes, people are out late and do patronize those businesses ... but it doesn't seem to result in huge flocks of drunks spilling into the immediately adjacent residential blocks (save for a few people walking to their homes).

Boston's response is especially counterproductive

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You're right Swirly. It's the result of a moralist attitude problem that refuses to accept that it is wrong. Call it Puritanism, stubbornness, parochialism or whatever.

I bet a large amount of the problems come because of the extreme approach Boston takes towards late night activity. Common sense says that flushing a large number of people out of what they were doing and onto the street is going to create problems. Trying to herd them like cattle back home is quixotic.

But instead you see the typical boneheaded responses from the police and other apologists: "DURRR - DRINKING IS BAD MMKAY." Or they try to act like a bunch of tough motherfuckers "hey it's rough out there what the police have to deal with."

Yeah, it's a problem created by their own response.

Instead of using brains to try and think of subtle solutions which actually resolve the problems between neighbors and noise, they flail around pretending like they're accomplishing anything by "acting tough on bars" and chest-thumping a lot. And nobody's happy as a result.

Here's a simple suggestion: if noise is a problem then go after noise! Bars that keep their patrons indoors aren't a problem. Bars that keep things orderly aren't a problem. Let's take advantage of that. And if the bars do cause a problem then get the police involved, get the board involved.

That means giving up this ridiculous 2 a.m. law that's based in nothing but empty rhetoric. I'd much rather have people hanging out at bars -- a well-monitored environment -- and filtering out as they get tired, rather than dumping them all on the street at once.

People eating food is not a problem, it's a good thing. Whether it's night shift workers, or people who were at a bar, they're filling their stomachs with food. What could be bad about that? Plus, a restaurant is a monitored environment.

The police don't have enough resources to deal with late night activity? Well maybe if the stakes weren't so fucked up at 2 a.m. it wouldn't be so stressful. That's a policy mistake. And secondly, we have this system for ensuring that police and safety workers have the resources that they need, it's called taxes and licensing fees. Use em.

Licenses shouldn't be a commodity which you pay some shady fuck hundreds of thousands of dollars for. They should be a certificate from the licensing board, non-transferable, that certifies that the holder follows the laws AND pays the external costs of keeping their business running. That means the police and emergency services get funded from revenue generated by the bars and restaurants in their district. Then more bars equals more police and emergency service resources. Simple and effective!

So simple and effective that I'm sure the only thing keeping the currently fucked up system in place is a bunch of corrupt fucking politicos, police and other elites who benefit from it. And they're helped along by a bunch of religious extremists by which our country is cursed, who hate freedom, and who hate alcohol and anything that might involve fun of any kind.

Oh look

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A troll is crying on the Internet over language.

Here's some crocodile tears for you.

Admittedly, my friends and I

Admittedly, my friends and I had done the late night of drinking at the bars, clubs, or homes and then manage to find someone sober to drive us all to eat at IHOP and we were not the only drunk group of kids.

That anecdote indicates two things. The distance from the bars is not that major of a detriment. Plenty of us made the trip.

And second, he has some grounded basis of his complaint. Thus, I find your response flippant and snarky. Actually, even if the IHOP was only used by night shift workers and public safety people, I still find the way you responded unlikable. But the fact he has some truth validates his point even more.

Does this mean McDonalds shouldn't be open? No. The demographic of college kids (who go both drunk and sober) deserve places too. And the location is removed enough that it won't disrupt residents directly. Personally, there's a number of places I prefer over McDonalds if out with some friends that late, but the principle remains.

Good point Rhonin.

There are basically 4 issues here that keep coming up over and over on these threads:

-Boston won't let bars stay open late, but other cities do.
-Boston will let some food places stay open but not others.
-Letting places stay open will attract drunks.
-People shouldn't be able to complain about drunks because they live in the city and other cities have this and there doesn't seem to be an issue there.

Area bars?

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There aren't any bars even remotely near there. Do they really think drunk college kids are mobbing out of Joshua Tree to the McDonald's that's two miles away from anything fun?

area bars

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not sure if its still there but there used to be a pub in the days in motel right next door. also the pancake house next door has been opened all night for the drunks for years. as for local bars it not so much that but its the way home for a lot of suburbanites that drink in allson and live in newton waltham watertown etc....

Area bars? Just how big of an area are we considering?

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Area bars? Just what do we consider "in the area"? I can't think of a single bar within walking distance of there (excepting, maybe, Hogan's Run, and that's a pretty good hike).

And if we're not necessarily worried about walking distance, then nearly every place in the city is "close" to "area bars".

By the way, has the State Police barracks on Soldier's Field road shut down yet? If not, what, if anything, did they have to say about this? After all, they're about as close as the "area bars".

Also, Kaz in on the money about no residences within sight or earshot.

People will drive there

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Of course people will drive there, like they drive everywhere. The T shuts down early, how else will you get home from a night of partying.

What did they object to?

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I'd really like to know if the Brighton Allston Improvement Assoc. is just a bunch of NIMBY shut-ins. This is about as isolated an area you will find anywhere in the city. If it were any more isolated it would be in the middle of the Charles. Not only that, the franchisee owner or owners seems to have their act together. The place is clean and well-kept, the employees are well-trained and professional. Honestly, if a neighborhood association can't be bothered to support a totally benign local business, they should just call it a day and shut down. We don't need yet another organization/lobby group that restricts any and all economic activity for any reason in this state.


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Don't say that, or they'll ban soda and Happy Meals!