Hey, there! Log in / Register

Fields Corner pho place in the soup; gets three-day suspension for repeatedly staying open too late

The Boston Licensing Board yesterday slapped Pho So 1, 223 Adams St., with a three-day suspension for staying open way past its 10 p.m. closing time on two days in August and September.

The restaurant faces another possible three-day suspension for a third-late night citation in September. The board has yet to hold a hearing on that incident.

At a hearing on Tuesday, a restaurant lawyer said owner Hoang Anh Nguyen didn't understand that the 10 p.m. closing time applied to family and friends as well as paying customers and that there was a cultural misunderstanding between restaurant practices in Vietnam - where family and friends of a restaurant owner gather for after-hours relaxation. Nguyen was also cited for the karaoke system Boston Police detectives found on visits around midnight, because he doesn't have a city license for it.

But board members did not buy the cultural misunderstanding argument - or another argument that Nguyen's English wasn't that good.

They said that Nguyen had been before the board earlier in the year for the same violation. "He gave no understanding [then] that he didn't understand us," board member Liam Curran said.

Under the board's rules, similar citations incur an extra day for each occurrence. So the restaurant had its license suspended for one day for the August violation and two for the September one. Should the board find the restaurant in violation for the next September case, it would get a three-day suspension.

Neighborhoods: 
Topics: 

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

Comments

for a karaoke machine

christ thats embarrassing

so is not being allowed to have a private party in a business you own

up
Voting closed 0

You just can't do it after hours.

On the one hand, yeah, it sucks. On the other hand, it's not like it's a surprise - you have to agree to conditions like that when you go for a license in Boston.

up
Voting closed 0

during regular business hours, what are the chances they would be hauled before the Licensing Board anyway because they weren't open to the public?

up
Voting closed 0

Restaurants are allowed to close for private events.

Where they would get in trouble is if they weren't serving food at all, although this is usually just an issue for bars that get a food-serving license, then stop serving food. Why the city cares that you're paying for a license that you're not using when there's no shortage of those licenses is something I've never understood, but every year, it seems several bars get dinged for this (and then fix the problem by either installing a popcorn machine or hot-dog roller thing or by applying to convert their liquor license into one that doesn't require food service).

up
Voting closed 0

I gave it an award this summer.

up
Voting closed 0

In plenty of restaurants, the owner, chef, staff (etc) may have a drink after closing time, or while they are getting the place set for the next day. They might be playing music (for which they probably do have a permit) and might end up just hanging out over drinks and conversation. Sounds a lot like what the lawyer says is happening at this Pho place.

up
Voting closed 0

The problem is the law provides no exceptions: If your license has a 10 p.m. closing time, that means food/beverage service has to stop by 10 and everybody has to be out by 10:30 (they do give you a bit of leeway, amazingly enough), except for workers cleaning up, counting up money and the like. The law has no exceptions for private parties.

Over the years, restaurants in Boston have also gotten cited for drinking after hours and in almost all cases, it's something similar - staffers unwinding after a long night, with the doors locked and the signs turned off. Again, doesn't matter - the cops cite them and the board issues a warning (or, as in this case, takes sterner measures when it keeps happening).

I'm not saying I agree with this, but if you really don't like this, you need to find like minded people and start an effort to change the law.

up
Voting closed 0

Sure changing the law is one option.

But WTF are cops wasting their time with this garbage?

Theres really no other pressing need at 10pm?

up
Voting closed 0

But those bad guys are mean and scary, and restaurants are safe and warm...

up
Voting closed 0

This restaurant is just about behind C-11, the cops drive by it all day/night. I don't understand what the big deal is, there are businesses across from the place. I dont know if the condos next door have any tenants yet. Maybe there is an apt above the business? Let them have their karaoke! There is certainly a "need" for it in the area!

up
Voting closed 0

They check bars and restaurants to make sure they're safe (no bolted or blocked emergency exits, for example), that underage college students aren't getting their drink on and, yes, that license holders are complying with the conditions they agreed to on their licenses - including hours (10 p.m. seems kind of early, but there are a lot of places next to residences with 1 and 2 a.m. licenses).

That's three full-time officers in a department with roughly 1,200 personnel.

up
Voting closed 0

Trying to re-write rules to allow "post-closing activities" would be amazingly complicated. Who can be there? Can anyone new join? What if drinks are being given out for free? Is a CD player OK as long as people don't try to sing along?

I think as long as the place doesn't "appear to be open", the doors are closed and locked and new people are not being allowed to enter, the establishment should be able to do pretty much whatever they want inside.

up
Voting closed 0

Pretty sure this situation is against the rules too for another reason. Last time I read the licensing regs front to back it was for Cambridge, but I believe this is the case for Boston as well, neither an owner nor an employee may consume alcoholic beverages at their licensed premise. Nobody may be served after the allowed hours, according to the law. And, all open drinks served prior to closing hours have to be consumed and thrown out within 30 minutes of closing hours. The time honored service industry tradition of a shift drink is technically illegal in Mass, although I have never seen it enforced.

up
Voting closed 0

Why even have rules like this? I don't see the benefit except for people who want Boston to go to bed early, and those people are going to lose their war in the end.

up
Voting closed 0