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Newbury Street clothing stores requesting more and more one-day alcohol licenses for special events; board wonders if it needs to hem them back

An incident during the Marathon at a Newbury Street store that specializes in running shoes and clothing has the Boston Licensing Board rethinking the growing number of one-day alcohol licenses it has been granting to clothing stores along the tony shopping district.

Tracksmith, 285 Newbury St., had applied for and gotten a one-day license to serve beer to customers for this year's Marathon. It's the sort of event they've gotten licenses for at least 30 times since 2013, never with any problems, its attorney, Kristen Scanlon told the board at a hearing this morning.

But this time, around 2:26 p.m. on Oct. 11, BPD licensing detective Eddie Hernandez told the board, he was patrolling Newbury when he spotted several people holding cans of beer in front of the store right on the street. Unlike in other parts of the country, that's illegal in Boston, so he went inside and found owner Matt Taylor, who, he said, said promptly got the people inside and had staff clean up empties.

At the hearing, Taylor said it was actually just one person - one of Boston's "'preeminent cancer doctors" - who apparently spotted another cop he knew and went out to chat with him. The other people Hernandez saw, he said, might have been his customers sitting or standing on the store's stoop or patio - so within its licensed space - or other people wandering by with no connection to the store on a day when family members sometimes pop open beers for runners who have completed the race.

Board Chairwoman Kathleen Joyce, however, said the last thing Boston officers need on a busy day like the Marathon need is to keep herd on people drinking on the street, and said the board's going to have to reexamine how many one-day licenses it issues to Newbury Street clothiers.

"It's of great concern to the board as to the number of requests we're getting" from places that aren't in the bar business and that might not be as familiar with the state's and city's liquor-serving regulations, she said. "These weekends are a big strain on police resources throughout the city."

Referring specifically to the Tracksmith incident, she continued, "from the board's perspective this is very very serious. ... Prominent doctor or not, how did the person leave with a beer?"

Joyce added that when she reviewed the store's request for a one-day license, she thought it was limited to the inside of the store, not to outside areas, such as its steps or patio.

Taylor said that in the future, he would add staff at the door to ensure nobody tries to leave with a beer in hand - even to talk to a cop they know - and that he would have signs posted warning customers not to go beyond those points with a beer in hand.

The board could decide at a meeting Thursday whether Tracksmith warrants any sort of punishment.

Scanlon asked the board to note that the store has never been cited before and that even with the Marathon citation, "there was no unruly party. no report of public intoxication, of noise, of a disturbance or of particuarly egregious behavior."

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Comments

Referring specifically to the Tracksmith incident, she continued, "from the board's perspective this is very very serious. ... Prominent doctor or not, how did the person leave with a beer?"

God forbid the City of Boston Licensing Board actually do anything to support local businesses. What a waste of time and taxpayer dollars this is.

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Voting closed 135

it seems like offering 1-day liquor licenses is a huge support for businesses. the city of boston should consider these for the d.r.m.

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Voting closed 7

It's so stupid that you can't have an open container in public. Imagine wasting all of this time on a hearing because some guy went outside to say hello to a friend while holding a beer.

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Voting closed 111

Most people don't want Newbury Street to become Bourbon St. On the other hand, standing on private commercial property with a beer is not the same as everyone getting a "to go" cup. As Zach says, what a waste of everyone's time to hold a hearing about such a silly infraction. (Why didn't the Detective just say, "Hey guys, no beers outside. Take it back in the building.")

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Voting closed 76

Is Newbury street really going to become Bourbon St? No. Actually if you go to the other end of Bourbon it's quite lovely.

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Voting closed 21

Bourbon St. is only special because open containers are mostly illegal in the US. Europe, with its lax stance, is doing just fine. Go visit, you'll see just how dumb our shit is here.

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Voting closed 24

There are a few dozen other streets in New Orleans that are not Bourbon Street where you can still wander around with a cocktail (I highly recommend Frenchman Street, personally).

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Voting closed 14

(Why didn't the Detective just say, "Hey guys, no beers outside. Take it back in the building.")

let's see....

  1. People like exercising power.
  2. Bureaucracies need to feed themselves.
  3. Overtime pay and a no-heavy-lifting day for showing up a the hearing
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Voting closed 11

I'm in Savannah a few times a year. I have to say, it's nice to put your drink in a to-go cup and stroll outside.

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Voting closed 9

They call that an incident?

Talk about getting your panties in a bunch over nothing.

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Voting closed 75

Maybe it was because I just read that Union Street bouncer story, but I figured there had to be drunken violence involved to warrant a hearing.

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Voting closed 38

.

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Voting closed 28

Odd quote to pull to make your case. Out of the whole story here the only issue I took was with name dropping that the offender was a prominent cancer doctor. As if he was a local 25 year old CVS employee it would be different? Otherwise I agree with you!

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Voting closed 13

How many tax dollars were wasted to (1) have a cop watch a small shoe store give out some beers, (2) carry out a hearing where attorneys were needed because a single individual walked out of said store with a single open beer? Tens of thousands?

I was never in any 'defund' camp... but this makes me wonder if we should defund the City of Boston. What a waste of money.

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Voting closed 20

"Prominent doctor or not, how did the person leave with a beer?"

Madam Chairwoman, and I seriously hope you're reading this, do you really expect anyone to believe that at this many days old you've discovered that people who've been drinking alcohol give exactly zero fishes about traveling with a beverage? Have you never seen empty beer bottles, Truly cans, wine glasses, cored pineapples or sleeves of dirty Solo cups lying about the gutters, doorways or mulchy areas in the streets adjacent to the many bars in this fair city? Please, it's your job.

If you actually read the documents you're charged with reading, and by your own admission this is a fuzzy topic, you'd be an expert on what goes with the territory, what the bouncers are supposed to watching for when customers leave, and most importantly how tell the difference between an actual license violation that warrants punishment vs telling special agent Eddie Hernandez to relax a little bit. His wandering around looking for something to do does not constitute a "a big strain on police resources throughout the city", trust me on that one. If he can't tell the difference between habitual violators and one-day license holders who brag about their c-list clientele, and of course he can, then maybe he needs more than a pair of glasses.

We're also way past the days when Newbury St. could be remotely compared to a party destination. Happy Hour was yesterday's leftover fromage and crudités platter, restaurants close at 11pm and the last T to anywhere is at 12:45am.

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Voting closed 29

Pop-Ups with alcohol are some of the best events during the summer, I can't believe this is being cited as the reason she might vote to deny these type of events next year. This is not even infraction-worthy since it sounded like something the officer could have shot them a warning (while passing by onto more important infractions).

And in my heart I feel like next years events that will be denied off this will be related to weed or hip-hop because Boston.

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Voting closed 34

everyone sucks here

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Voting closed 14

perhaps someday we can have a life-altering surgery and extract the puritan stick from our state's killjoy ass.

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Voting closed 29

Sadly, it appears to be inoperable.

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Voting closed 14

Any government official who describes a person standing in the street holding a beer as "very very serious" needs to find a new hobby.

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Voting closed 14