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Plans for Nubian Square jazz cafe could advance next week with zoning hearing

The partners behind a proposed jazz cafe in the Ferdinand storefront part of the Bolling Building are scheduled for a hearing before the Zoning Board of Appeal on Tuesday for the permission they need to open a spot for local and national performers - and to serve up local food.

Berklee Professor Bill Banfield, Darryl's Corner Kitchen & Bar owner Nia Grace and entrepreneur Turahn Dorsey need board permission to offer live entertainment and takeout at their Jazz Urbane Cafe. The board would also have to approve a variance for the proposal because the building has no parking.

The city, which owns the Bolling Building, including the shell of the former Ferdinand furniture store, awarded the three a lease to the 7,800-square-foot space in 2018. They'd hoped to be open before now, but the pandemic slowed everything down.

The cafe will feature artists from Banfield's Jazz Urbane record label; the three say they also hope to use the space for community events.

The hearing on the cafe is one of several scheduled for 10:30 a.m.; however, zoning hearings typically start later than their scheduled time.

In addition to the zoning board, the cafe will also need permission from the Boston Licensing Board to serve food and to obtain a liquor license. If, as is likely, there are no liquor licenses available, they would have to seek one on the open market.

For several years, Boston city councilors have tried, without success, to win approval for the state legislature for several single-complex licenses that would allow for one license to cover more than one restaurant or bar in a building like the Bolling. The city currently has one such overall license, for Logan Airport.



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Did you mean Berklee?

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I've fixed the amazingly stupid mistake.

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Whyyyy does it need parking? Why does anything need parking? Why does this require a variance?

Wouldn't it make more sense to require that places that serve alcohol don't allow people to drive there? (And no, I'm not seriously suggesting that they actually ban and enforce 100% of patrons not driving, but...)

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