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How To Get A Liquor License in Boston

12/05/2008 12:01:00 AM
This is one thing that I've never understood about Boston. Why is it so hard to get a liquor license? Why keep supply so low that these things get resold for $300K? I feel like this makes it really difficult for new restaurants to get off the ground. One of my dreams is to own a restaurant, but if liquor license alone costs that much, it's going to take a long, long time to realize that dream.

A Globe article this week talks about the liquor license situation in Boston and how folks go about getting one. The short answer: they hire a law firm.

The majority of the license recipients hired the same firm, McDermott, Quilty & Miller. The firm's clients won 13 of the 20 new licenses, or 65 percent.

Three restaurant owners who did speak with the Globe said they paid the firm in the range of $7,500 to handle their applications.

Some restaurant owners who have gone through the licensing application process said it needs an overhaul. Nancy Cushman - who hired McDermott, Quilty & Miller and received one of the new licenses last year - said the process should be streamlined and the cap on licenses removed.

I agree. Overhaul the process and let those who would like a license to be able to get one. Lower the barrier to entry for new restaurateurs and hopefully the competition will make Boston's restaurant scene even better. I would feel a little bad, though, for the folks that had to pay $300K for their licenses. If the cap were to go away, the value of the license would obviously plummet.

Click (here) to read the Globe article.

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1 Response to "How To Get A Liquor License in Boston"

  1. fibrowitch Said,

    In most of the state the number of liquor licenses available is linked to the number of people in the town. The larger the town the more liquor licenses available.

    Boston is different. The State capped the number of liquor licenses the city was allowed. In order to open a new restaurant or bar, the owner has to find a liquor license for sale, in their section of the city.

    The fastest way to solve this problem would be to change the laws in Boston to reflect the laws in the rest of the state. Then more liquor licenses would be available and this problem would be over.

    Posted on 12/6/08, 7:27 PM


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