Glory be: Boston to start accepting BYOB requests from small restaurants in outer neighborhoods
Small restaurants in outer neighborhoods could soon be letting their customers bring a bottle of wine or some beer with them to enjoy with their meals.
On Monday, the Boston Licensing Board begins accepting applications for BYOB permits for restaurants with fewer than 30 seats that don't already have liquor licenses. The board will then schedule public hearings on the permit requests.
City officials hope BYOB will help out restaurants in a city where even a beer-and-wine license can go for $60,000 due to state-imposed quotas on licenses - and bring new life to neighborhoods not overrun by national chains that can afford the even more expensive full-liquor licenses. Restaurants downtown and in the North End, the South End, Bay Village, Fenway, Chinatown, the Seaport, the West End, Beacon Hill and Back Bay are not eligible.
Restaurants that win a BYOB permit will face a series of restrictions: Customers can't bring in more than a single 750-ml bottle of wine or 64-oz. container of beer - and can't go out during a meal to get more; new servers will have to undergo an alcohol training program; no spirits or liqueurs allowed; no corkage fees permitted; and restaurants can only offer BYOB between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m.
However, restaurants will be allowed to provide glassware and bottle openers to BYOBing customers.
The board approved the BYOB concept earlier this month - some two years after city councilors Michelle Wu and Steve Murphy first proposed it.
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Crawl before you walk Boston
This is a step in the absolute right direction.
So if my pizzeria wants this, I have to pay for the permit and THEN have a public hearing? And I'm guessing that all it will take is one NIMBY to squash it. Still sounds onerous but I guess it's better than nothing.
I don't think it's quite that bad
The BYOB licenses are $400/year, which is a song compared to what regular licenses are selling for. I also don't see anything about the fee being due at application time; just of the annual cost. And while it's possible that a determined NIMBY group could squash an application, I've seen the wind blowing the other way in recent years: every application that's gone before the board in JP has been met with rousing neighborhood, because (who would have guessed?!) people really like having neighborhood restaurants where they can get a glass of wine with dinner. Bars still get people's dander up, but I've seen remarkably little blowback directed at restaurants looking for liquor licenses.
So you pay an annual cost...
...for something that brings you no revenue.
The measure is to entice more people to eat at your restaurant, which would increase revenue.
As far as I'm concerned, I'll wait to hear from restaurant owners how business changes (i.e. revenue) after they successfully procure a BYOB license.
oh, it brings in revenue
Most of the places I lived in the south allowed BYO (some allowed only BYO). First, it absolutely has an appeal-- sometimes I'd rather bring my own choice of beer or wine, even when I have the option of ordering a drink from the restaurant. Second, sometimes the difference between going to a restaurant or picking another depends on a liquor license; for example, I love El Oriental, but when I have a group going out to dinner, I take them somewhere else so that whoever wants a drink can get one. That's business lost that they could regain, cheaper than a full license.
If a restaurant wants to, they can add corking fees, set-up fees, mixer fees, and so on. Even without that, though, I bet a lot of places will recoup $400 very quickly.
And $400 is cheap. I love my beer and wine, but I won't deny alcohol causes an increased burden on police and maintaining public spaces; the disadvantage of corking is that the restaurant has less control over how much the patron drinks, and on what the patron does with empties or undrunk bottles.
As lbb states, a liquor license brings in revenue. A BYOB license does not. A $400 annual fee is stupid.
Not directly, but sure it does
With BYOB, small neighborhood restaurants can now attract customers who want some wine or beer with their meal who might otherwise go to a larger place. It works in other places, no reason it shouldn't work in Boston.
Compare $400 to the $60,000 (or more) price of a regular beer-and-wine license.
Sure, but it is relatively
Sure, but it is relatively small. A restaurant with an average meal cost of $20 and margin of 3% (which quick googling gave me to be average numbers) has to sell 667 more meals over the course of the year or 2 per night to make this back.
I think it seems reasonable to on average more than 1 couple will come to your restaurant every night because they can drink a bottle of wine or beer.
Good Christ...WTF is the big
Good Christ...WTF is the big deal about BYOB?
Cheap wine for $6 a glass
No thank you! BYOB is a great idea, especially for people that are on a budget and just want to have a little table wine with their meal without breaking the bank.
Good for seniors too. Walk to the restaurant though, NO drinking and driving.
I wish my neighborhood had
I wish my neighborhood had BYOB... however, apparently my neighborhood is too close to downtown so the smaller independent restaurants do not qualify for BYOB which is total BS. If a wine/beer license is unavailable and/or smaller indie restaurants do not have the 6-figures to shell out for one, then they all eventually go out of business. Basically, only chain restaurants are welcome in what's considered downtown Boston and the smaller startup restaurants are unfairly discriminated against. It's a scam.
Thank God for government
I wasn't going to spend these tax dollars on something for myself or bettering my own life. I'm glad I get to pay somebody to be on a commission on bringing wine to a restaurant.
Do you personally pay for that comission a year?
We all pay
One cent is too many. It's more than one cent if I divide the 100 grand they make by the, what, 300,000 Bostonians who pay taxes?
And why don't you sign up already? Trolling and pedantry is so much easier when you don't have to fill out two extra fields. Get some, Jedi.
One cent isnt too much.
You claimed that it's holding you back from bettering your life. So one cent is holding you back? Man, I remember being one cent away from being able to pay for college. Go look in your couch cushions and stop blaming everyone else for your lack of success. And btw, you don't know what a troll is.
IIRC, at a BYOB restaurant in the western suburbs, they charged a $5 "decorking" fee. Whether that was/is reasonable or not, it didn't seem to bother anyone dining at the restaurant. I don't know if there was a charge to open a beer bottle or two.