The Boston Licensing Board on Thursday considers whether to effectively prohibit city bars from offering a game that's played like beer pong, only with water.
The board will not be drafting a new regulation, but instead deciding whether to sanction Goodbar, a State Street bar cited by police on Nov. 19 for putting out a series of cups filled with water on a small table into which competing players tried to bounce ping-pong balls.
Unlike in beer pong, in which the loser has to chug down any cups his opponent gets the ball into, losing players were observed taking swigs from beer bottles they were holding, Det. William Gallagher told the board at a hearing this morning. Gallagher was at the bar that night for a routine inspection.
Bar manager Ann Marie King and attorney Carolyn Conway said there's really no comparison between water pong and beer pong. In fact, King said the water pong her bar - and, she said, most other bars in Boston - offer is more akin to backgammon, foosball or ring toss than the drinking man's drinking game, because only water is involved.
"I know it seems like a frat-house, Neanderthal game, but it's really silly," King said.
A skeptical board Chairwoman Nicole Murati Ferrer, however, said the distinction between a game in which players chug from a ball-filled cup and one in which they chug from their own beer bottles escaped her.
Board member Suzanne Ianella expressed no opinion on the matter. The third board member, Milton Wright, was not present.