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Boston Neighborhoods Remain Unable to Obtain Liquor Licenses

In August 2014, a law was passed granting 75 new liquor licenses to be issued over a three-year period in neighborhoods outside Boston’s central restaurant and entertainment districts. It’s been just over a year since the law was passed and data shows that the law hasn’t met its objectives in neighborhoods that need it most.

In an open market, a liquor license costs about $250,00 favoring established and well-funded restaurants within the entertainment districts. Under the new law, smaller, less established and less funded restaurants can purchase liquor licenses for just $3,000. The problem is that some of the restaurants in neighborhoods that would most benefit from the new law, do not have the capital for $3,000 much less the funding to invest in training and equipment to then start to serve alcoholic beverages. Consequently, in the last year only 20 liquor licenses have been issued under this new law when there should have been 25.

Of the 20 restaurants that have obtained liquor licenses under the new law, at least three of them are in areas that were not hurting to begin with. These include the neighborhoods of Chinatown, Jamaica Plain and East Boston. Neighborhoods that have started to benefit from the new law include: South End, Roxbury, Roslindale, Hyde Park, Allston and most predominantly, Dorchester. Neighborhoods that were the initial drive for the law still lack liquor licenses in most of their restaurants.

City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, who advocated the law, is pushing for more permanent, local control over liquor license distribution. She is now advocating for additional city support for restaurant and small-business owners in neighborhoods that were the initial motivation for the passing of the law. For now though, she is celebrating the first year of the laws passing by touring some of the restaurants that have obtained their new liquor licenses.

At Metro Boston Insurance Agency, we understand how important your restaurant’s success is. Call us today for information on our Restaurant Liquor Liability policies. 617.884.5480
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