The Boston Licensing Board today rejected requests from several North End and Chinatown restaurants to serve hard liquor, saying there's no public need in an area already full of places to get a drink.
The board has five full liquor licenses to dole out this year. Board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini and other board members said they want to ensure the licenses are spread out across the city.
Antico Forno, Terramia, Crudo and Carmelina's on Salem Street and Strega on Hanover Street already have licenses to serve beer and wine. Hot Eastern on Harrison Avenue in Chinatown similarly has a beer and wine license; Joy Luck Restaurant on Washington Street and the Best Little Restaurant on Hudson Street were seeking to add drinks to their menus. Also rejected: Thomas Kershaw, who wanted to open a second 75 restaurant on Congress Street.
The board vote means that if these restaurants want to add hard liquor, they will have to go on the open market to try to buy a license - at prices that could exceed $300,000.
The Salem Street restaurants had argued it was unfair their street has only two full-service liquor licenses and that they are facing stiff competition from restaurants in other parts of the city, notably along the waterfront, that have full licenses.
But board member Keeana Saxon said the North End and Chinatown are "saturated" with places to get a drink. Board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini and board member Liam Curran agreed.