Representatives of both the mayor's office and City Councilor Mark Ciommo agreed that Douglas Bacon is a fine restaurateur who runs quality restaurants. And yet both told the Boston Licensing Board today they oppose Bacon's request to extend the hours of his Avenue Bar and Grill in Allston an hour, to 2 a.m.
Why? Because they always oppose requests in Allston to extend liquor-serving hours to 2 a.m., no matter the number of existing 2 a.m. closing times or the fact that Bacon has racked up no violations in the year since he bought the place and turned it into an upscale establishment with a tough code of conduct for patrons.. In a later hearing, the mayor's office supported a 2 a.m. closing for a restaurant proposed for the area on top of the existing Hillstone restaurant next to Faneuil Hall.
The licensing board votes tomorrow on whether to grant Bacon's request for the Avenue, 1249 Commonwealth Ave.
Bacon told the board most of his late-night customers are locals just getting off work who are looking for a place to grab a late meal or snack - he would keep his kitchen open through closing. He noted the McDonald's nearby is open until 2 a.m., as are several nearby bars.
Several nearby residents attended the 10 a.m. hearing to support Bacon. Zachary Smith, who works a late shift, said he appreciates the "very respectable environment" at the Avenue, as well as the food, and would like not to be so rushed when he gets there late.
Two residents of the neighboring 1255 Commonwealth Ave. opposed the later hours, saying it would just give drunks more time to tank up and raise hell under their windows and objected to having a bar next to a residential building.
Board Chairwoman Nicole Murati Ferrer, however, noted that all the bars along Comm. Ave. are near - or in - residential buildings, and asked the two if they had any proof the hellions they hear are from the Avenue.
"They could be from anywhere, that's true," one of the two allowed. "But the Avenue is the closest place. The neighborhood is crawling with drunk people."
Board member Suzanne Ianella said she plans to vote to let the Avenue stay open later, because it's run up no violations in the past year, because Bacon has an outstanding record and because nobody from the Allston Civic Association - which voted 7-4 to oppose the extra hour - attended the hearing.
A liaison from Council President Steve Murphy's office said Murphy supports Bacon's request.