The owner of Lenox Sophia, 87 A St. in South Boston, today asked the Boston Licensing Board to allow guests to bring in their own bottles of beer or wine to go with his "casual fine dining" fare.
The board had earlier voted that Shi Mei's restaurant qualified for a regular beer-and-wine license, but that it had none to give him. Faced with a high five-figure cost of acquiring one on the open market, Mei went before the board today seeking a BYOB license, which the board can give out in unlimited numbers, but which few restaurants have ever applied for. The total number of regular alcohol licenses in Boston is set by the state legislature, which has created that expensive open market as Boston has boomed.
Under the board's BYOB regulations, restaurants with fewer than 30 seats outside Boston Proper, the Seaport and the South End can let patrons bring in up to 64 oz. of beer or 750 mL of wine per person.
Lenox Sophia has 20 seats.
Mei said that either he or one of his two servers would provide stemware for guests. He promised to cut off any patrons who appear to be "overenjoying themselves" with alcohol.
The board could vote tomorrow on whether to grant Mei a BYOB license.