The Boston Licensing Board voted today to extend the liquor license of Bazaar on Cambridge Street from beer and wine to harder stuff - with the provision it only sell imported European spirts, not common stuff like Seagrams 7 or Four Roses.
The store, at 424 Cambridge St., caters to the neighborhood's eastern European residents, in particular elderly Russian Jews, looking for a taste of home.
Board Chairman Daniel Pokaski said at a hearing yesterday the board is reluctant to grant any sort of liquor licenses to "convenience stores," especially in an area like Allston, where he said they tend to become "just another avenue for students to get beer."
But the board was convinced by the store's argument that it would sell only items such as "very unusual vodka" and cognac from Georgia (the country), rather than cheap booze for tightfisted college students. The board will write its license to limit sales to such items.
The store already has an outlet with a full liquor license in Brookline, but that location has no parking. Joan Pasquale, a Comm. Ave. resident and store customer, spoke in favor of extending the license, in part because it would benefit "the ease of the elderly neighbors" but also because she said the store is very well run - and very discreet in its existing beer and wine sales.
Even Allston Civic Association President Paul Berkeley, who normally plays the role of Mikey in the Life cereal commercials, spoke in favor. He said customers came on a bus to an association meeting to show their support, something he said had never happened before.