The laws are expected to boost Boston’s economy
It can be hard for new restaurants to succeed, especially when they need to choose whether to make a hefty investment in a liquor license or forgo alcohol entirely. Both have their costs, but not being permitted to have alcohol on-site is particularly significant because it can force restaurants to reduce potentially lucrative dinner and brunch hours, limit their clientele, and ultimately stunt their growth.
According to city councilor and bill sponsor Michelle Wu, the whole point of lifting the BYO ban is to create a middle ground that increases options for small business owners and their customers:
“The target for BYOB is a restaurant looking to open in a smaller space where it'd be hard to spare refrigerator space for alcohol, restaurants with a niche menu, or new restaurants hoping to get in the pipeline for a liquor license,” she said in a recent interview for BostInno.
“BYOB won't be the right fit for every restaurant, but we want to lift the ban and let entrepreneurs make that decision for themselves. Other cities with BYOB have seen a more vibrant restaurant scene overall, with residents going out to eat more often because there are more affordable options.” That's what we're talking about.
You can't BYOB just anywhere
Obviously, if a restaurant already has a liquor license, you won’t be able to BYOB. The practice will also be restricted to restaurants with 30 seats or fewer, dine-in service, and liquor liability insurance.
Anything downtown is a no-go, since the proposal is primarily designed to spur economic growth in outlying neighborhoods, and help out smaller mom-and-pop places that can’t afford the hefty cost of a liquor license. According to Wu, the goal is to avoid creating competition between restaurants that have invested a lot in maintaining their licenses and local eateries that are just getting started.