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Nubian Square jazz cafe wins approval; bill providing for a liquor license goes to governor

The Zoning Board of Appeal today unanimously approved plans for Jazz Urbane Cafe, a 200-seat performance space and restaurant in Nubian Square's Bolling Building.

Separately, a bill that would give Boston five new liquor licenses - four for the Bolling Building and one for the Strand Theatre in Uphams Corner, could soon be signed by Gov. Baker, Jazz Urbane attorney Lesley Delaney Hawkins said today.

"Some of us love jazz, so this is a good thing," board Chairman Mark Erlich, in which is likely his last meeting on the board, said.

Hawkins told the zoning board that her clients - Berklee Professor Bill Banfield, Darryl's Corner Kitchen & Bar owner Nia Grace and entrepreneur Turahn Dorsey - hope to open in June and begin bringing local, national and international performers to Nubian Square. The three signed an agreement with the city, which owns Bolling Building, in 2019, and had hoped to be open by now, but then the pandemic hit.

The 7,800-square-foot space, in the Ferdinand section of the building, with an entrance at Washington and Warren streets, will feature a round stage surrounded by tables, a lounge, a 10-seat bar and a private dining room.

Hawkins said that Jazz Urbane will be open for both lunch and dinner and will offer brunch on Sundays. Plans call for a 2 a.m. closing time.

The current plans do not include any dedicated parking spaces, but Hawkins said the cafe is looking at possible valet parking.

The proposal needed zoning-board approval both so it could offer takeout and because of the lack of dedicated off-street parking.

Jazz Urbane now needs to go before the Boston Licensing Board for food and liquor licenses and the Mayor's Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing for an entertainment license.


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