The Boston Licensing Board today granted liquor licenses to restaurants across the city it determined met a "public need" - and rejected requests from others they ruled did not.
The board rejected all nine requests from the North End, Chinatown and the South Boston waterfront for full liquor licenses, ruling the neighborhoods already have more than enough places where somebody can get a drink. Also failing to make the cut: A proposed Wahlburgers and cineplex in an expanded South Bay mall and a restaurant in the New Balance development in Brighton.
The board had five unrestricted liquor licenses, which can be borrowed against and re-sold, and 20 neighborhood-specific licenses, which can only be used in certain neighborhoods that aren't near the waterfront and which have to be given back when the holder closes shop, to dole out this year - the last of a total of 75 new licenses the state legislature gave Boston in 2014.
The licenses approved today also have to be approved by the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.
In Roslindale, board members agreed that Chris Douglass's Third Rail, now being built in the old substation at Washington Street and Cummins Highway met the "public need" for a full liquor license both because of strong public support and because it would spur economic development, in part through re-use of a dilapidated hulk that had sat unused since 1971.
In Jamaica Plain, the Haven in Hyde Square proved a public need through both public support and the fact that it's the only Scottish restaurant in the state.
Downtown, board members could not say enough good things about plans by Christopher Coombs and Brian Piccini to turn the shuttered Mantra nightclub on Temple Place into their second Boston Chops steakhouse.
Also gaining a license: Anoushella, a proposed Middle Eastern restaurant at 35 W. Newton St. in the South End, which the board said would revitalize a long neglected corner and provide meals that normal people can afford; Mida, a proposed Italian restaurant at 782 Tremont St. on the Roxbury/South End line - which gained Roxbury's first full-service liquor license in years; Renegades Pub at 1004 Bennington St. in East Boston, which board members said would be a great reuse of a long closed space; and Victoria's Diner on Massachusetts Avenue in Newmarket Square, which was seeking to upgrade from its beer-and-wine license.
The board also granted a license to the owners of Paolo's on Main Street in Charlestown so they can expand and create a new bistro called Monument. Board members cited the paucity of restaurants in Charlestown and said part of the public need was also to help the restaurant fend off stiff competition from restaurants across the border in Somerville. "They need all the help they can get," board member Liam Curran said.
And the owners of the Lower Mills Tavern in Dorchester got a beer and wine license fot the taqueria, named Taqueria, they want to open near the tavern on Dorchester Avenue. Board members said the public need was shown by the fact that residents approached the tavern owners with the idea of them opening a second place. In Adams Corner, the board approved a beer and wine license for Molinari's, which serves Italian food without the pizza, citing strong support from the neighborhood. The board used similar logic to approve a liquor license for Kriola, on Hancock Street in Uphams Corner. Also, "It's one of the few Cape Verdean restaurants in the city and also the only one in that area," board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini said.
Also, Related Beal won a liquor license for the 241-seat restaurant it's planning for a hotel now under construction on Beverly Street. Board members cited the fact that revenue from the restaurant is key to financing the affordable apartments going up at the same time. Another restaurant in a building slated for New Street in East Boston also won a license, in part because it would serve a new apartment building and help spur development along the East Boston waterfront, in part because the restaurant operator says he would start a water ferry, initially to Charlestown but possibly eventually to other neighborhoods.
In contrast, the board rejected a request from New Balance for a liquor license for a restaurant in its development off Guest Street because, board members said, so much money is already flowing into that area that a restaurant there would not spur any further economic development.
The board rejected a request for a liquor license for a Wahlburgers proposed in the South Bay expansion, saying the restaurant wouldn't open, at the earliest, for another year. Similarly, the board rejected a request from AMC, which is planning a cineplex there.
Also turned down: Sweet Rice in Charlestown, which the board noted had only been open for about five months and which does much of its business in takeout, Retreat, a proposed restaurant on Sumner Street in Jeffreys Point, East Boston; and Kamakura, a proposed Japanese place on State Street, near all the existing restaurants of Faneuil Hall Marketplace. The board also rejected a request from Cabana Grill on Bennington Street in East Boston, in part because of concerns from Boston Police over past issues at that address.