Third Round of Boston's New Neighborhood Restricted & Unrestricted Licenses: Where They've Gone So Far

Back in February, I shared with you where the 10 new unrestricted liquor licenses went, along with the location of the 40 restricted neighborhood alcohol licenses granted since the State Legislature had amended the Economic Development Bill originally passed in August 2014.  This bill allowed the City of Boston to issue 75 new liquor licenses over the course of 3 years (starting in 2014, 25 each year).  As you may recall, the restricted neighborhood licenses are limited to 7 neighborhoods (Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Mission Hill and Roxbury), plus the city’s  Main Streets Districts.

Pursuant to the legislation, one last round of 25 licenses became available as of September 1, 2016, including 20 neighborhood restricted licenses (15 all-alcohol and 5 beer & wine) and 5 unrestricted all-alcohol licenses.

As of today’s date and out of the last round of 25, 14 neighborhood restricted and 3 unrestricted licenses have been granted by the Boston Licensing Board. Similar to the first two rounds, Dorchester has benefited most from the neighborhood restricted licenses. This year, however, we are seeing Roxbury and East Boston move up on the list along with the Main Streets Districts. So far, no licenses have been granted in Mission Hill, Hyde Park, or Mattapan in this cycle.

I have updated the map since the 2015 cycle, showing the locations of all the businesses that have benefited from the 2014 legislation. Click HERE  for a map of all of the Neighborhood Restricted Licenses (red markers) and Unrestricted Licenses (green markers) granted over the past three years. Additionally, please note the 2 restricted licenses (blue markers) granted to hotels per the Acts of 2006 amidst the granting of the 2014 legislative licenses.* 

Below is a tally showing how the licenses have panned out over Boston’s neighborhoods since the passing of the 2014 legislation meant to spur economic development (6 restricted and 2 unrestricted licenses remain as of today's date):  

Dorchester: 19
Main Streets: 12
Roxbury: 8
East Boston: 6
Jamaica Plain: 5
Mission Hill: 2
Hyde Park: 2
Mattapan: 0
Unrestricted: 13 - spread across Seaport, North End, Fort Point, Back Bay, South End, Beacon Hill, West Roxbury, West End, Charlestown and Downtown Crossing.

Below is a tally of the 17 licenses that have so far been granted as part of the 2016 cycle:

Dorchester (5 total)
All Alcohol (1): Taqueria
Beer & Wine (4): Kriola Bar & Restaurant, Molinaris, Pollo Centro, Anh Hong Restaurant

Main Streets Districts (3 total)
West Roxbury: Himalayan Bistro (All Alcohol)
Roslindale: Third Rail (All Alcohol)
South End: Anoushella (Beer & Wine)

Roxbury (3 total) 
All Alcohol: Mida, Residence Inn by Marriott, Victoria’s Diner (Upgrade from Beer & Wine)

East Boston (2 total) 
All Alcohol: Renegades Pub, New Street Restaurant

Jamaica Plain (1 total) 
All Alcohol: The Haven

UNRESTRICTED: Downtown Crossing - All Alcohol: Boston ChopsCharlestown - All Alcohol: Monument, and West End - All Alcohol: Hotel Indigo Boston



*[2 Innholder All-Alcohol licenses granted per the 2006 Acts of ch. 383: AC Hotel by Marriott South End and Beverly Street Hotel]



10 Lucky Recipients of the New Liquor Licenses in Boston: Where They Went

In early January 2016, we learned that the State Legislature had amended the Economic Development Bill originally passed in August 2014, which allowed the City of Boston to issue 75 new liquor licenses over the next 3 years (starting in 2014, 25 each year).

60 of these licenses (20 each year) were/are reserved for "restricted" neighborhoods: Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Mission Hill, Roxbury and Main Street Districts as designated by the Boston Redevelopment Authority (“BRA”). See The Department of Neighborhood Development's map of Main Streets Districts here.  Each of these licenses, once issued, cannot be transferred to a different neighborhood or area in which it was originally issued and cannot be transferred to any other person or entity. 

The remaining 15 licenses (or 5 each year) were originally intended to be full-value, unrestricted all alcoholic beverage licenses; however, those licenses had not previously been issued in the 2014 and 2015 cycles due to inconsistencies in the legislation which still needed to be addressed.

Recognizing the inconsistency in the language of the law, the legislature ultimately revisited and amended the law in late 2015, effectually "releasing" the 10 full-value, unrestricted all-alcoholic beverages licenses that were originally intended to have been released in 2014 and 2015.

So began the mad dash to the Licensing Board for the City of Boston as word quickly traveled during the first few days of the new year.  Dozens of businesses, both existing and new, lined up at a chance to get a hold of one of these $400,000 assets for free.

As many of you know, the Licensing Board holds transactional hearings on Wednesday mornings. Over several weeks, the Board heard many applicants make their case for "public need" (a legal standard I'll explain in an upcoming post).  Ultimately, the Board approved the last of the 10 lucky applicants yesterday.  Here's where they went:


Scorpion Bar & The Grand by Big Night Entertainment Group: Set to open in 2017, this will be a 20,000sf Mexican restaurant, nightclub and event space in the new Seaport Square development spanning 3 floors.

Fort Point:

Lolita Cocina & Tequila Bar: second location from the guys who brought Lolita to Dartmouth St., and most recently Yvonne's to the old Locke-Ober space in Downtown Crossing.

Back Bay:

Earl's Kitchen + Bar. Slated to open in the Prudential Center in late 2016, Earl's is a Canadian company which has been setting up shop in the US over the past few years. You may be familiar with their only other MA location at Assembly Row in Somerville.

Piattini.  Open since 2001, a Newbury St. restaurant with an existing beer & wine license.

South End:

Fuji @ Ink Block - a Japanese inspired restaurant with sister locations throughout Boston

North End:

Cucina Italiana



all existing Italian restaurants with previous beer & wine licenses.

Beacon Hill:

Antonio's: located on Cambridge St. for the past 20 years, an Italian restaurant with an existing beer & wine license.

West Roxbury:

Al-Wadi - an existing Lebanese restaurant located on VFW Parkway, and previous holder of a beer & wine license.