Boston Liquors, 225-227 Cambridge St. in Allston, had the first of two hearings before the Boston Licensing Board this morning on the issue of whether a 24-hour service that delivers snacks, napkins and other convenience-store wares should be allowed to keep using its basement.
Boston Police cited the liquor store twice, on April 20 and April 27, first for "premise operating 24-hour deliver service (food) out of basement" and then for all the cars double parking outside the place at all hours of the night. Both are related to the liquor store's contract with GoPuff, a company that hopes to succeed where first-gen dotcom Kozmo.com failed - delivering convenience-store products around the clock to college students too busy to make a 7-Eleven run and other local insomniacs.
Boston Liquors attorney Caroline Conway told the board that Allston Liquors is a part of the GoPuff network both because it had space in its basement the start-up could use as a distribution center and because GoPuff will deliver booze from the store - but only up until 10:30 p.m., a half hour before the liquor store itself closes, Conway emphasized.
Conway said Allston Liquors should not have been cited for the 24-hour operation because the law used to haul it before the licensing board refers to "innholders and common victuallers" who prepare food on premises, and neither Allston Liquors nor GoPuff prepare any food on premises, or anywhere else.
But BPD Sgt. Det. William Gallagher said the issue is not so much as food preparation as whether the basement - which is licensed specifically to Allston Liquors for use as part of its liquor sales - can be used by another company for the service.
He added that police learned about the operation when officers on patrol started noticing lots of cars double parked on Cambridge Street throughout the night. Conway said those were individuals side hustling as delivery drivers for GoPuff.
Gallagher said he is concerned with the issue of liquor deliveries in a neighborhood filled with college students. He said Boston College has had problems with another GoPuff affiliate making deliveries on its campus.
The board decides Thursday whether Allston Liquors is in violation of the 24-hour-delivery-service rule and, if so, what to do about it. The hearing next week is about the double parking.