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They're getting the old gang back together: Pour House on Boylston Street could re-open, between Lir and McGreevy's, which could also re-open

Boston Restaurant Talk pours out the news: The owners of the Pour House, which closed at the start of the pandemic, are looking to turn the place over to a new group to re-open the Boylston Street watering hole.

The Boston Licensing Board has scheduled a hearing for this coming Wednesday on the proposal to sell the license to Back Bay landlord Charles Talanian, who would then lease the space to a group led by Charles Hitchcock, the former manager of the neighboring McGreevy's.

Talanian is also the owner of the neighboring 903 Boylston St., where Lir used to be - and for which Talanian recently won approval to buy the shuttered Marliave's liquor license with the goal of finding an operator to re-open that space as well.

At an October hearing on the Lir proposal, Talanian said that he decided to go into the liquor-license business because he has the assets to purchase the expensive permits - which can go for close to $400,000 on the open market - while most non-chain restaurateurs would have trouble raising the cash. By building the cost of the licenses into leases, he said, he could get the bars in his buildings opened that much faster.

The third bar on that stretch of Boylston, McGreevy's, could also soon re-open under new management as well, although as an upscale farm to table scratch kitchen rather than a sports-themed bar, and likely with a different name.

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Comments

All for it. The Pour House made happy memories to many. We were super sad when it closed. Customer since late 80s back when Division 16 was its neighbor. Wild and crazy nights. The Pour House helped me the next morning.

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Voting closed 35

When some of these places closed down during the pandemic my first thought was that it was obvious that they were some of the restaurants that had backing with enough money in their pocket to ride it out. Lease ends, liquor license is still owned by the former tenant and bullshit laws in MA make the market for other potential full service restaurant tenants extremely thin.

It's a good business move by a local venture backed restaurant group to flex a bit of muscle given those circumstances to negotiate a ten year lease that will save them money, but it is also a glaring example of how the state control of liquor licenses in Boston is an abomination and crushes the potential of the restaurant scene here.

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Voting closed 39

What a great time to be Mr. Talanian. He gets to snap up the names, the liquor licenses and advertise that he got some great turn-key deals ready for business. Just sign right here and tell all your friends that you're a bar owner on fabled Boylston St. Imagine the lines of people on weekend nights, the full bar on important game days, packed to gills on Marathon Monday and all that extra foot traffic from shopping holidays, championship parades, Newbury Street walkers' paradise, awesome pub crawls and the endless walkathons. And don't forget graduation season with all those families looking for a table.

Of course most of that is in the past. Baby boomers are on a fixed income now and the places they made famous have faded and closed. Red Sox fans are now in-and-out suburbanites who give most of their money to Mr. Henry who delivers the safest, mostly antiseptic, encapsulated experience they can handle. You can't count on the college kids for anything. Thanks to social media, their views and tastes have expanded and become very fickle. Good luck investing half a million dollars on a concept with a 12-month lifespan. Mating rituals, sports and gambling are available on every pocket phone, your coke and weed dealers deliver safely to your home or hotel room and Amazon has your retail shopping covered so there's very little actual need for most of these places unless you're tired of cooking and a $17 burger made by someone who'd never eat one sounds like a good time. A community gathering place they are not.

Those lucky enough to remain in the Back Bay have matured and aren't into spending much time in the same dump they did in college. Those who've moved in recently have other tastes and priorities. Just look at the cars now parked on residential streets and you'll see what I mean. It's a very different neighborhood than it was twenty years ago. Those people in the new luxury buildings? They're not hanging out at the Pour House when they'll have to breathe in bathroom fumes and pay $12 for a vodka soda. Trust me on that one.

But hey, if you're one of the lucky ones selected by Mr. Talanian to operate one of his businesses for him, know that your silent albeit majority business partner is the one to reap the benefits of both his real estate and liquor license appreciation, you're going to have to pay him both his rent and cut of the business revenue every month rain or shine and when you get on the wrong side of his money, which you will, the business itself will be worthless and you'll be back out on the street talking up your pedigree and new "concepts" while Mr. Talanian changes the name of the GM and goes back to counting his money.

Before you label me a cynic and tell me that it's busier than ever out there or that baseball attendance is on the rebound, ask yourself why all the places have closed for good and nobody in their right mind is going all in for what's left of them? It's the very last of the tail end of a forty-year retail boom and it's just vultures and suckers looking to squeeze out what's left.

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Voting closed 14

Not exactly. He has to pay full price for those liquor licenses, which currently are in the six figures (like between $300,000 and $400,000), although it wouldn't surprise me if he got the Pour House license at least in part to settle the previous owner's lease. But he definitely had to go on the open market to buy one for Lir (which is how we know Marliave downtown will not be re-opening, since he bought theirs), because the people who were renting the Lir space from him owned the liquor license and sold it to somebody else when they shut down.

I'm sure he's not doing this out of the goodness of his heart, and you're right about the ownership of the licenses, which are typically the only thing of value when a bar or restaurant shuts down, but it's not like he has no financial exposure here.

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Voting closed 22

There are more kinds of people in an urban neighborhood than just residents and tourists. The Pour House was popular with the many hourly retail workers in the area right up until the day it closed; a group of people that famously has very little money to spare, but still values being able to get a drink in between the job they hate and the apartment with roommates they also hate in a place that's within walking distance of both.

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Voting closed 26

"college kids wont drink at a bar because of the dreaded SOCIAL MEDIA" is a new one for me

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Voting closed 23

/s

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Voting closed 22

…kōKane. Enter holiday promo code “Blowvember” and we’ll wave your first delivery charge.

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Voting closed 19

The Pour House was the only place in Boston where I could order a coffee regular and a shot of bourbon without the waitstaff blinking an eye.

@JayF you are a cynic. I'm not labeling you by the way.

Also Rihanna loves to go there when she's in town.

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Voting closed 10

That's a pretty long-winded way to say "I don't know anything about anyone under the age of 50 and I don't care to learn".

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Voting closed 17