Watertown to Allow BYOB in 2016

The City of Watertown became the latest municipality to green-light the bring your own bottle (“BYOB” ) concept. Permits will be made available to unlicensed, full-service dining establishments starting in April 2016.

The initial BYOB proposal was made over a year before last month’s vote to allow BYOB in Watertown. See http://watertown.wickedlocal.com/article/20140908/News/140907282

Ultimately, the Council approved BYOB with a $1,000 annual fee, while limiting the permit to full-service indoor dining establishments. A patron wishing to participate in BYOB must order food, and may only consume beer and wine on the premises.  Further, in accordance with public safety standards, servers must undergo alcohol server training, check IDs, and not serve impaired patrons.

The Watertown Licensing Board has provided itself with some time to draft regulations, which will not go into effect until April 1, 2016. Ultimately the Licensing Board has discretion as to the issuance of BYOB permits, which may include restrictions on how much alcohol patrons are allowed to bring into establishments. New restaurants will have to wait six months before they are eligible to apply for a BYOB permit, and any establishment that has had its previously issued Chapter 138 license suspended or revoked will not be eligible for BYOB permit.