Home-furnishings store gets beer and wine license

Restoration Hardware is betting it can entice you to buy patio sets by helping you enjoy some adult beverages as you lounge around on floor models at its impending store on Berkeley Street in the Back Bay.

The Boston Licensing Board yesterday granted Restoration Hardware permission to buy a beer-and-wine license for the store from the Channel Cafe on Summer Street. The chain hopes to open its extensively renovated store next month.

At a hearing Wednesday, the chain's local attorney, Dennis Quilty, told the board Restoration Hardware will pair beer and wine and "small bites" types of food with outdoor furniture on the store's third floor. Customers "will be able to sit on the furniture that hopefully they will be interested in buying," he said.

Although the store will close at 7 p.m., the board approved a license that will let it keep serving until midnight, for the functions Restoration Hardware hopes to hold from time to time, Quilty said that nationally, the chain is becoming more of a destination than simply a store - some Restoration Hardwares are even adding on hotels.

Board Chairwoman Nicole Murati Ferrer and member Suzanne Ianella expressed some concern about letting a store have a beer-and-wine license for what isn't really a restaurant when there are so many full-service restaurants that seek one of the city's limited number of licenses.

Ferrer said she was concerned that people who just wanted to sample the crab cakes or whatever it is Restoration Hardware will serve that the store staff might be rude to them once they realized they were just there for the food and not the home furnishings.

"Absolutely not," store manager Ellen Barry assured her. The store will have "dedicated professionals, who will understand how to operate [the license] correctly."

Quilty noted that in its previous incarnation as Louis of Boston, the historic building had a full-service liquor license.

City officials approved the plan. The Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay voted to not oppose the proposal (like Mikey, NABB never formally likes anything).

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Comments

Ha.

Do they know how few of us in the city have any space for any outdoor furniture beyond a couple of plastic chairs on a fire escape? The vast majority of us inner-city folk will have to enjoy the patio furniture in the store before returning to our cramped, indoors-only apartments. It would be nice if they put some lounge chairs, tables, and a few grills around the perimeter of the building since there's a lot of land. Then we could all pretend we have those rare, penthouse outdoor spaces and grill an occasional kabab.

All Restoration Hardware does

All Restoration Hardware does is take items form other stores and manufacturers, take on a layer of pretentious snobbery, and charge 2000% the original price.

Virtually everything in their catalog can be purchased elsewhere or directly from the manufacturer at much lower prices.

They survive gouging clueless rich people and being shamelessly smug about it.

Bummed

Bummed that I won't be able to get a beer or glass of wine at the Channel Cafe anymore. But I hope they made a killing on the license sale.

Ugh...

We don't have enough licenses in our fucked-up system of alcohol licensing...but let's give one to a hardware/furniture store.

Because the $300,000+ threshold to buy some failure's bid to stay solventlicense doesn't already make it hard enough to open a restaurant in the city.

There are liquor licenses and there are liquor licenses

The all-alcohol licenses are the really hard ones to get, with the high prices (although they've come down, possibly because license holders at Logan Airport have been selling theirs off thanks to some legislative deal under which Logan gets a single master license that covers all restaurants and bars there).

The city has a lot more beer and wine licenses. The number's finite, obviously, but their prices are a lot lower.