The Boston Licensing Board today gave Modern Relik the right to serve drinks to patrons of the small cafe it now has its store at 485 Harrison Ave. in the South End.
In the likely event the city has no beer-and-wine licenses to dole out, however, the board agreed to try to work with the store to get it a BYOB license. Unlike liquor licenses, subject to artificial scarcity caused by a state Legislature that has never given up the idea of telling Boston what to do, BYOB licenses are unlimited, although customers are restricted to just one bottle of wine per visit.
At a hearing yesterday, owner Meg Kimball said she hopes to add wine and champagne to the breakfast, lunch and weekend-brunch menus at the store's cafe.
Board Chairwoman Kathleen Joyce said today that Kimball had proven the required "public need" for a beer-and-wine license through her "unique concept" marrying "a high-end furniture store" with a place to eat. "I don't see anything else in that neighborhood that offers such an amenity," she said.
This would not be the first time a furniture store has won the right to serve alcohol in Boston, although the last ended in failure.
In 2013, Restoration Hardware bought a liquor license for its new store on Boylston Street, which it used for its grand opening, which was quickly shut by the Fire Department when too many people showed up. It then rarely used the license, causing the licensing board to threaten to take it away. It eventually sold the license.