Hey, there! Log in / Register

Councilors to licensing board: MYOB and allow BYOB

At-large City Councilors Michelle Wu and Steve Murphy are proposing a change in city ordinances to let smaller restaurants offer BYOB service.

In a proposal to go before the council tomorrow - assuming the council meets - the councilors will propose ending the city's current BYOB ban for restaurants that cannot afford one of the city's pricey liquor licenses or which are not located in the areas for which the state legislature gave the city new licenses. State law prohibits BYOB for restaurants with liquor licenses, but leaves the issue up to local authorities for restaurants without them.

In their request for a hearing on the issue, the two write:

A regulated “Bring Your Own Bottle” (BYOB) system in Boston would give restaurateurs the choice to create an environment where patrons bring their own wine and beer, offering more flexibility in business models and alleviating some of the disadvantage from scarce liquor licenses.

BYOB would also let patrons enjoy their dining experience with their own selection of wine and drink at certain restaurants, encouraging residents and visitors to dine out due to greater options and a better consumer experience.

The two note that New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and even Brookline allow BYOB at restaurants without liquor licenses and that they are confident the Boston Licensing Board could come up with regulations that would not result in neighborhood chaos, for example, by requiring licenses for BYOB service.

The council's regular meeting starts at noon in its fifth-floor chambers in City Hall.

Neighborhoods: 
AttachmentSize
PDF icon BYOB proposal50.47 KB

Ad:
Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!

Comments

I'd be a pretty big fan of this.

up
Voting closed 0

The entire concept is absurd. Let restaurant’s sell booze to adults. We aren’t children, stop treating us as such. This isn’t progress, this is a bunch of fools trying to maintain power over businesses and citizens for no valid reason.

Let restaurants without known problems sell alcohol, and drop this pointless charade going to a 15% solution and simply go 100% already. Nobody deserves a monopoly on this, and no paying for an expensive license is not a valid reason to maintain the status quo.

Also get off my lawn.

up
Voting closed 0

I'm not aware of any specific problems that arise from this, so hopefully MA can join the 20th century on this one?

I don't see any reason that places with liquor licenses also shouldn't be able to permit BYOB as well, but I'll take this as a good start.

up
Voting closed 0

So are the places I've been to in the city that are BYOB...they aren't legal?

up
Voting closed 0

And the BPD licensing unit has taken to scanning Yelp reviews for restaurants that offer BYOB and then swooping down with their citation books in hand. Grasshopper in Allston (or is it Brighton?) was scheduled for its second BYOB violation hearing today in a month (hearing was postponed due to the snow).

up
Voting closed 0

Shut yer goddamned Yelper yap about places that allow BYOB in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Watertown, where it is still illegal. You're going to ruin the party for everyone, dumbasses.

up
Voting closed 0

This is allowed in MA, some cities like Brookline already do it. Boston should see the light and allow it. It lets small restaurants open up and thrive without needing the crazy connections or big money the restaurant chains have. Exisiting restaurants with the licenses wont be hurt since the money in many restaurants is from liquor and at BYOB they obviously dont make any money from the liquor, and many people will always like being able to buy there. The places BYOB scares is the substandard restaurants whose food is terrible but they have a good location and sell alcohol. BYOB will up the game in Boston for restaurants. In philly, some of the best places in town are BYOB, the food has to be good, otherwise no one will go.

up
Voting closed 0

I'm not clear on what that means, but that's besides the point.

I think this is a GREAT idea. Which probably means City Council won't pass it.

up
Voting closed 0

Hopefully a step in the right direction for 7 star.

up
Voting closed 0

Mind your own business!

up
Voting closed 0

Mind Your Own Business and allow the pulbic to Bring Your Own Bottle

up
Voting closed 0

already have a malt/wine or full liquor license.

While consumers will obviously favor it, you can expect a lot of pushback from Boston restaurateurs who have recently plunked down $250K-$450K for a full license.

up
Voting closed 0

The good news is that this is a settled area of law. We have no legal duty to preserve the value of their licenses. Licenses should be issued to anyone who can meet a minimum standard. This town needs to stop propping up incumbent interests.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_River_Bridge_v._Warren_Bridge

up
Voting closed 0

that they will not go quietly with a move to unrestricted licensing. One difference between capped liquor licensing and medallion taxis vs. Uber/Lyft is that it's not like the incumbent liquor-license holders have abused their monopoly by providing horrific service for many years and thus richly deserve a competitive beat-down.

I for one think that the Boston liquor-licensing system is antiquated and unfair, and even without reform there would love to be able to bring my own wine to a place that wasn't licensed. But the absurdities of the current system are far graver. They make it difficult for the innovative chef/owners who are among our dining scene's best to compete with deep-pocketed chains for six-figure licenses. The result is that many talented young indie chef/owners now set up shop in Cambridge, Somerville, Watertown, Brookline and Newton, while Boston has the friggin' Seaport.

I do feel bad for the small operators in Boston who played the game by the existing rules and would see one of their biggest assets, on which investor funding is often predicated, hugely devalued. Del Goddamned Frisco's can swallow the pain; I'm not sure how many Boston indies, especially ones that bought licenses in the past year or two, would survive it.

up
Voting closed 0

BYOB helps places without a license but unless you have a license you can't make revenue from alcohol part of your business model. Only places with licenses would have that advantage.

up
Voting closed 0

I have no problem refunding current license holders in whole or in part over the course of several years if it would mean loosening our insane liquor laws

up
Voting closed 0

Stenographic Record of the most recent Public Meeting of Boston City Council Wednesday 4 February 2015
http://anopenbostoncitycouncil.blogspot.com
https://muckrock.s3.amazonaws.com/foia_files/cc02042015.SGSTN

Dictionary File needed for more accurate Plain Text Stenographic Record. City Contract Article 2.3 provides for Dictionary File to convert token abbreviations/acronyms . Include this information in request at
http://www.cityofboston.gov/contact/?id=12

Videos of Boston City Council Public Meetings at
https://www.youtube.com/user/BostonCityCouncil/videos

Full Text of Captions for hard of hearing, deaf, ESL English as a Second Language folks from webcasts/cablecasts of Public Meetings of Boston City Council, request at
http://main.wgbh.org/wgbh/pages/mag/

Boston Board of Elections Public Meeting Thursday 21 January Minutes
https://muckrock.s3.amazonaws.com/foia_files/2-4-15_MR4859_RES.pdf

up
Voting closed 0

byob to Burger King?

up
Voting closed 0

Just keep it in a brown paper bag.

Like the ones the licensing board requires Harpoon to put their growlers in.

up
Voting closed 0

I thought that was already SOP?

up
Voting closed 0

Our Dumb Corrupt Licensing Board

What possible logical reason could there be to ban BYOB? How does that "protect" the public?

up
Voting closed 0

Prohibiting BYOB is protecting the current license donators. Er, holders.

up
Voting closed 0

I still am not sure how such places will earn enough money to stay open. Ultimately a full liquor license is the only thing that will bring actual profit, let alone solvency, to most restaurants. Their only other option would be to mark the hell up their food, which they can't really do because nobody is going to overpay for food THAT much when you can't even get a drink AT said establishment. I can't even imagine who would go to a BYOB restaurant unless maybe... maybe it was directly adjacent to a full liquor store, and even then I certainly wouldn't.

up
Voting closed 0

There are already BYOB in MA in the cities that allow it, and in big cities like Philly where its legal. BYOB restaurants survive fine if their food is good, it doesn't have to be overpriced any more than current restaurants that dont serve any alcohol get by on serving good food, rather than just being a place that shovels reheated Sysco food with an alcohol license.

up
Voting closed 0

Actually, go ahead and write to U-Hub, but then, please, please, call or email your city councilor to express your support for reasonable proposals like this.

Please write them.

Please.

up
Voting closed 0

I guess hell really did freeze over, our city gov is going to trust us with our own booze?!

up
Voting closed 0

How to request the Minutes of the most recent Public Meeting of the Licensing Board... send "By email please send the Minutes of the most recent Public Meeting of the Licensing Board." at
http://www.cityofboston.gov/contact/?id=105

City of Boston
Boards & Commissions

Select a Board or Commission from the drop down list provided.
Policy Area:
Board:
Department: Licensing Board for the City of Boston
Contact Jean Lorizio
email LBCB at cityofboston.gov
Authority: State
Term: 6--staggered
Stipend: $0.00
Seats: 0
is charged with the issuance and oversight of food and alcohol licenses, innholder licenses, fortune teller licenses, bowling alley licenses, billiard licenses, dormitory and lodging house licenses.

Member..... Appointed.... Expires...... Status....
Lisa Maki....12/3/2014.... 6/1/2016.... Active
Christine Pulgini.... 12/3/2014.... 6/1/2020.... Active
Keeana Saxon....... 12/3/2014.... 6/1/2018.... Active
http://www.cityofboston.gov/boardsandcommissions/

Walsh replaces all Boston Licensing Board members
by andrew.ryan at globe.com
http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/12/03/mayor-walsh-sweeps-out-bosto...

up
Voting closed 0

Are they BYOB? If so, brown bag or no?

up
Voting closed 0

It has been workng in parts of Berkshire County for 40 or so years. No problem with establishments that has liquor licenses.

Anyway, my opinion of liquor licenses is that they belong to the city, not the restaurant. When a license expires, surrendered or transferred, it should be relegated back to the licensing authority who would then re-issue it, if appropriate. You can't sell your driver's or many other licenses, why should a liquor license become property of an individual?

up
Voting closed 0