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Boston to seek 151 new liquor licenses

The Charlestown Patriot-Bridge reports Mayor Walsh is looking for help in the legislature to garner Boston 151 new liquor licenses to be doled out over a three-year period.

Like the 75 new licenses Boston got in 2014, Walsh is proposing that most of the new permits be limited to neighborhoods outside Boston Proper and the waterfront.

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Comments

Great. It's so hard to get a drink around here.

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The truth is that liquor licenses have been migrating from residential neighborhoods to more downtown areas for quite a while. The artificial market (state legislature imposed shortage plus inflated cost of ownership of a public license) is something that makes this city worse in my opinion. I've visited friends in Philly and DC who live in residential neighborhoods that have thriving small owner operated restaurants that would never exist if they had to fork out nearly a half-million dollars to get a full liquor license. This city's neighborhoods could be better and more desirable if those types of places were more feasible.

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Wait. He said no to pot because he is an alcoholic but he is pushing booze? We need to elect a pot head for Mayor.

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Sure, I mean why offer more liquor licenses to the Waterfront, Back Bay, or Fenway? It's not like liquor licenses in these ares are going for so much money that only crappy chain restaurants can now afford them. Also, it's not like more competition could help reduce the absurd drink costs in these neighborhoods.

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What has happened before is eligible restaurants that already have regular licenses will sell them and get one of the new ones, which costs much less.

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....created this insane situation a century ago, and now a whole bunch of businesses big and small have either bought into overpriced licenses and are fearful of losing out on their investment or were planning on selling their licenses to help fund retirement.

The state legislature has been unwilling to fix the law and it's something the mayor cannot legally fix without them. So this is a compromise of sorts. We get more licenses, with restrictions that make them less valuable as a commodity but don't gut the value of the unrestricted licenses. Neighborhoods get the restaurants they've been clamoring for, small businesses are able to survive, existing license holders don't see their investments vanish overnight.

Do I like this on every level? No, I'd much rather have a rational liquor licensing scheme that does not have artificial caps or allow for private sales of licenses at irrational prices. I'd like to see licenses tied to either a location or a business entity, so that you can sell the business to a new owner in the same spot, or move the business to a new location, but if you want to divest yourself of just the license alone it goes back to the city. I'd like to see the state get out of our licensing game entirely. But since we apparently can't have nice things, I'll settle for this compromise.

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As a resident of the Back Bay I will say we are stuck with a lot of Mediocre chain restaurants that are the only ones that can afford a full liquor license. I wouldn't eat at most of these places let alone pay for their $15 dollar drinks. I have many chef friends that would like to open in the neighborhood but just cant afford to. The only option for them is to leverage heavily with outside money and decrease ownership. Some have gone that way, most underst5and this is not viable in the long run. Kudos to the small locals like Piattini (who just rebuilt after a fire, support them) and La Voile (greatist place to hang with neighbors) for somehow surviving this screwed up business model we have.

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Issue permits instead of Licenses. Yearly and collect reasonable fees to support the city council and liquor enforcers.

Between this and the BOYB thing, should just do the logical thing. Time to get rid of this racist antique system of a bygone era.

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The license is transferable, like a taxi medallion. Thus, the value. If the City renewed it annually with no 'ownership' of the license, that would be quite different.

Um, racist? Maybe you can explain that one to me...

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The heaviest concentration of licenses is in downtown, Back Bay, Fort Point, and a handful of other primarily-white places. This is at the expense of Dorchester, Mattapan, East Boston, and other historically minority-heavy communities within Boston, which have seen their licenses migrate away for the last twenty years. I don't have any data in front of me, but I'd also bet you twenty crisp new American dollars that if you were to make a histogram of "liquor license owner ethnicity" versus "city ethnicity," you would spot a rather pronounced bias toward white liquor license owners.

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I know a guy, personally, that when I asked, he told me, "Damn thing is worth more than the walls around it."
So, if all those spiffy cool chefs that want to start upscale restaurants downtown want liquor licenses, they go shopping in the outlying districts. They get results.

The City's issuing of non-transferable licenses is a great way to get those licenses in the hands of the local communities.

There. Racist problem solved. Rich white chefs get their licenses, poor (relatively) local business people get their paper, too.

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It's racist that most of the licenses are concentrated where most of the people live/work? What's the difference in licenses in mattapan/roxbury vs. west roxbury/roslindale? Comparing mattapan to Back Bay is foolish.

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The history of Bostons state controlled liquor licensing was set up to keep those immoral Irish from absuing liquor like they always did.

Now a days we typically see licenses moving from the putter neighborhoods, so I'd say it's classist and racists still.

Either way, it's stupid regulation. Meet requirements, pay a fee, stay outta of trouble, get a license.

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You had me right up until you played the race card. Care to expand on that? How the heck is it racist?

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of Boston's liquor licenses after the city elected its first non-WASP mayor, Hugh O'Brien (elected on this day in 1885! http://www.massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=10), an Irishman, because the Yankees (still in control of the state) thought he would turn around and just appoint an army of paddy's to govern the city, which he did not.
Boston's inability to issue its own liquor licenses is a century old punishment of the Irish.
Ain't democracy grand?

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Racist in original intent, because the Brahmin legislature didn't trust Boston's Irish (Catholic) politicians to manage their own affairs regarding alcohol.

Racist in impact today, as minority neighborhoods are harmed by the high costs of acquisition.

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hhahahahhahahah "151" get it? what a college town we live in

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Ask me again at 4:20.

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(not that that's particularly surprising)

As I just pointed out in another thread, the phrase '[City] proper' refers not to the downtown or most densely populated sections of a city, but rather all the land contained within city limits. So - Beacon Hill, Mattapan, Georges Island - all part of 'Boston proper'. Brookline, Cambridge, Somerville - not.

Gary C pointed out that people (mis)use the term all the time, but that doesn't make it right - people just say stuff wrong sometimes. E.g. 'I could care less about this grammar sillness' when they mean they couldn't care less. Sounds ok in their ears...but it's wrong.

"[City] proper" is a formal term of art in city planning and government, not only in the US, but across the world. Using the term incorrectly obscures meaning and creates confusion.

What Adam was describing is probably more accurately termed 'central Boston'.

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