Managers at restaurants in the South End and a Faneuil Hall-area hotel had to explain to the Boston Licensing Board today why they got caught with patrons chilling with unattended bottles of tequila in ice-filled buckets at their tables when neither have licenses for bottle service, but even if they did, Boston's not the sort of place where patrons are allowed to be alone with bottles of hard liquor.
Both Stephen Chan, co-owner of Bootleg Special, 400 Tremont St. and Alex Decarvalho, manager of the Millennium Boston Hotel, who oversees its 26 North restaurant at 60 North St., apologized and said it won't happen again.
Chan acknowledged his restaurant's license does not allow bottle service and said he has never offered it to patrons. He said he had brought in his own personal bottle of tequila on the night of July 22 and put it in a chilling bucket on the table at which he and others were celebrating a friend's birthday. He said he had just left for a bit, to pick something up for the restaurant, which is when two detectives from the BPD licensing unit walked in for a random inspection.
Board Chairwoman Kathleen Joyce told Chan, who acknowledged bringing in personal bottles like that in the past, said he can't do that, especially since even if his license allowed for bottle service, in Boston, bottles always have to be attended to by a server, including pouring drinks - guests are not allowed to have self-service booze.
Decarvalho, now in L.A., pleaded similar ignorance, on the part of the restaurant's manager the night of Sept. 4. He said the company encourages its managers to be creative and take initiative and that the manager, a new arrival from a club somewhere not in Boston, decided to try to create club-like environment, like the ones she was used to in places that are more liberal with their rules for hard liquor at tables.
"She was not aware we do not provide bottle service," he told the board, adding, "I had no idea they were turning the restaurant into a club."
He said that immediately after getting the citation, the hotel closed the restaurant for extensive retraining. "We have no interest in running a nightclub or a scene," he said.
The board decides Thursday whether either incident warrants punishment, and if so, what sort.