Boston gets its first legal BYOB restaurant

The Boston Licensing Board today approved its first license for a restaurant to let patrons bring their own beer and wine - to Seven Star Street Bistro on Belgrade Avenue in Roslindale.

Next week, the board considers a BYOB request from My Sisters Crawfish on Adams Street in Fields Corner.

City Councilor Michelle Wu (at large) and then Councilor Steve Murphy began pushing for BYOB two years ago as a way to help smaller restaurants in outer neighborhoods attract customers in a city where a set number of liquor licenses has driven their price out of reach for all but the larger chains and operators. Mayor Walsh and the entire council signed off on the idea last fall; the licensing board then approved formal regulations in January.

Seven Star owner Chris Lin said he hopes to start letting patrons bring their bottles into his 16-seat restaurant as soon as possible - most of his staff already have training in dealing with alcohol service, which is one of the requirements of the new regulations.

Once up and running, Seven Star customers over 21 will be able to bring in one bottle of wine or up to 64 ounces of beer each, between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. (they won't be able to go out to refill their supplies, though).

BYOB licenses, which cost $400 - compared to high five-figures for a full beer and wine license - are available to restaurants with fewer than 30 seats and no alcohol license outside of the North End, the South End, Bay Village, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway, Chinatown, the Seaport and the West End.

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Comments

I applaud this, but here's the weird thing...

By on

Other than 7-Star, I can't think of another place in the "Parkway" area that would benefit from this. Every sit-down place for dinner in that area already has at least beer & wine. All the other places, which are mostly takeout, wouldn't benefit from this. I think this will help NEW places that might now open because they feel like being BYOB, plus their hopefully wonderful food, will be enough to bring people in.

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Voting is closed. 17

What about Sticky Rice, for example?

By on

Sure they do lots of take out - but so do a lot of places. But most evenings they're also near capacity with their far-less-than 30 seats.

I'm sure I could list another half dozen easy, but it's late. Gnite fellow Uhubbers.

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Voting is closed. 3

Maybe, but I doubt it

By on

I think of Sticky Rice as similar to Comella's in that it's mainly take-out but some people do sit there. Comella's DOES have a beer and wine license, but you hardly see anyone drinking. Would Sticky RIce INCREASE their business with BYOB enough to cover the $400 permit and other minor costs? Like I said, maybe, but I doubt it.

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Voting is closed. 2

New restaurants

By on

Seems like it is better for encouraging new restaurants that couldn't afford a liquor license but might offer great food and service. I'm hoping for more creative new places.

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Voting is closed. 0

Well

By on

Fenway and The Garden been BYOP (Pint) for years!

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Voting is closed. 0

So are a certain number of places in Chinatown, but it

wasn't and isn't legal in Boston, except for the places that get these new licenses. (Don't ask me where this happens without enforcement: I'm afraid scrutiny would spoil the party.)

I can imagine some places not taking the chance at a BYOB license. I suspect you're still required to get TIPS training on responsible alcohol service, which costs $40 a head for every server, and there are other costs (wine-service training, corkscrews, dishwashing, stained linens, breakage, etc.) Servers have to be 18 to pour, too.

I'm not certain, but I believe there's one exception: from the time you apply for a license to the time it is approved or denied, it's allowed.

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Voting is closed. 0

I'm pleased, but...

I've never been able to figure out why somebody would do this. A license to sell liquor makes sense often enough, because a dine in patron is worth quite a bit more than a take-out patron assuming there is a bar bill. But how does BYOB enhance revenue?

Not that I'm complaining, I'll definitely stop by on Ramen night fairly soon with some supplies from the Beer Cellar. Still, I don't get it.

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Voting is closed. 18