The Boston Licensing Board decides tomorrow whether to let the new owners of a bar in Dorchester Lower Mills transfer their liquor license to the bar they want to open in the South End's new Ink Block complex.
But fans of the former Lower Mills Pub shouldn't fret: The board also decides tomorrow whether to grant its new owners one of its fresh supply of neighborhood liquor licenses, which can only be granted in Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury and a number of "Main Street" districts in neighborhoods that aren't the South End, downtown or the waterfront.
The move makes the South End bar possible by saving the owners the $300,000 or so it would otherwise cost to buy a full liquor license on the open market.
A state law that went into effect in 2014 has meant 50 new liquor licenses for Boston - with another 25 to come next fall - as a way to encourage food entrepreneurs to start up restaurants, bars and liquor stores in areas that had seen their liquor licenses snapped up by well funded chains in areas such as the South Boston Waterfront and downtown. The focus of the law - first proposed by at-large City Councilor Ayanna Pressley - was Dorchester, Mattapan and Roxbury, although the licenses are also available in "Main Street" districts in other neighborhoods outside Boston Proper.
At hearings today, one of the new owners, Brian O'Donnell, said the new Scofflaw would be a small cocktail bar and restaurant that would cater primarily to the residents of 300 Harrison Ave.
His attorney, Dennis Quilty, said the "public need" for an establishment there is that the once dormant area hard by the Expressway is now seeing "hundreds, if not thousands of new residents," who would like more eating and drinking options.
Both proposals were supported by the mayor's office and the offices of at-large City Councilors Michelle Wu and Michael Flaherty. City Councilor Bill Linehan's office supported the Scofflaw request; City Councilor Frank Baker supported the Lower Mills Tavern request.