Taking objection an all-alcohol license, 1:00 am closing hour, at Gennaro’s 5 North Square Restaurant, the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) voted 8-21 to oppose the request. The vote splits the two neighborhood groups on the application as the Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) voted to support the all-alcohol license at their last meeting.

Speaking against the upgrade from beer and wine to all-alcohol was North Square abutter, Sandro Carella (Maria the Dressmaker’s son), who explained his recent letter expressing concerns about potential late night bar activity in North Square. Attorney Daniel Toscano responded that the restaurant generally closes around 10:30 pm and has an upscale clientele. Owner Gerry Riccio said that he has no intention of turning 5 North Square into a bar or tavern but wants the 1:00 am closing hour flexibility to serve late night dinner guests, such as celebrities.

A potential proviso to have food served with alcohol was discussed, but not resolved. Attorney Toscano said that is a “lousy provision” because some people like to drink before or after they eat. A request to stipulate that alcohol will only be served with food was not agreed to by the applicant.

Several residents reiterated the concerns expressed earlier in the meeting by Boston Police regarding how expanded late night conditions on alcohol licenses could exacerbate quality of life problems with noise on the streets.

NEWRA ZLC Co-Chair David Kubiak addressed the status of the small bar at the restaurant and also reviewed the latest statistics regarding the density and economic value of alcohol licenses in the North End.

The Licensing Board hearing at City Hall occurred a few weeks ago although the decision was deferred until after the NEWRA meeting. With split votes from the two neighborhood groups, the Licensing Board is expected to make the final ruling in the near future.

Watch the above video for the complete presentation and discussion of this licensing application at the NEWRA meeting held on February 14, 2012 at the Nazzaro Community Center in Boston’s North End.

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50 COMMENTS

  1. Jerry Riccio presently has 3 Liquor Licenses, 2 are in
    the Vittoria, which always operated on 1 Liquor License
    before the Cigar Bar was there, and the other is in
    the Florentine.

    There is another bar upstairs in Gennaro’s, I had a
    drink there, and the license is for Beer, Wine & Cordials,
    not just Beer & Wine.

    What I would like someone to answer is why can’t the
    Cigar Bar be transferred to Gennaro’s and the
    Cigar Bar operate on the Vittoria’s Liquor License liked
    it was years ago? What law is there that says if you
    have a Smoking Area in an Establishment requires a
    Separate Liquor License?

    It is very understandable that any Restaurant Owner
    would want a FULL LIQUOR LICENSE because the
    profit is unbelieveable, but what if this causes a chain
    reaction and all our Restaurants want Full Liquor
    Licenses? Where does this leave the Residents, more
    Drunks, More Vandalism & Less Quality of Life.

    We all do not have the Luxury of living in secluded areas,
    or Rooftop Penthouse Apts. in the North End.

    If the Licensing Board gives Mr. Riccio the okay, then you
    can bet your life, along with your Building that these
    People on the Board DO NOT CARE FOR THE RESIDENTS, only the Revenue these Establishments
    take in. Who the hell voted these People on Liquor License
    & Zoning Boards?

  2. guy wants to serve late night dinner to celebrities? give me a break. who cares about celebrities but themselves, groupies, and wannabees?

  3. I’m compelled to say something in behalf of the Riccio’s, in light of these comments, and to clarify my own position on the matter. My objection to the application as it was framed, was very particular in focus, it was to the threat of late night bar activity in North Square.

    I do not object that they should seek a full alcohol license, to be used in conjunction with their existing business and time of operation. They deserve this, perhaps require it to remain competitive with similar restaurants. Mr. Riccio has shown beyond the shadow of a doubt that he knows how to conduct a respectable business, and will likely continue to do so.

    If Mr. Riccio were to resubmit his petition with a enforceable proviso that prohibited remaining open beyond 11 PM, as he currently does, I do not see any reasonable objection to him obtaining a full liquor license in conjunction with the operation of Gennaro’s 5 North Square, and if the alcohol were served as part of the restaurant-related activity there.

    Maybe these are big “ifs”, and whether an enforceable agreement such as this could be engineered is a matter for a lawyer I suppose.

    sandro carella

    • Sandro, I only wish you knew the half of what has been
      going on in this neighborhood, and how much has been
      covered up. The Mayor doesn’t want the Tourist to
      think this is not a Safe Neighborhood. We have had our
      share of big brawls and violence and they did a great job
      of covering this up, trust me.

      There is alot of corruption with the City & State, and as
      Father Claude said at the 9 a.m. Sunday Mass. it
      pertains to GREED. You never find a Brinks Truck
      following the Hearst.

      The State gets 6.25% in Meal Tax and the City gets .75%
      and with all the Establishments in this 1/4 mile sq. radius
      this is called out & out G R E E D.

      The question
      I ask, when is Enough, Enough.

      There are far too many Liquor Licenses in this extremely
      small Neighborhood.

  4. There is nothing wrong with a good small business owner wanting to expand his business. Whoever mentioned the taxes should probably be thanking him so that your government check arrives every month.

    • This website is anti business? Matt simply reports on what happens in the neighborhood meetings. He provides a FREE service to the people in this neighborhood, does not accept ads and makes no money.
      Maybe the “majority” should get more involved in the community and stop being so antagonistic towards people who are concerned about the quality of life in the neighborhood and who have no interest in the North End becoming a late night lounge destination.
      “Majority” should apologize to Matt Conti for the snarky attack. The “true majority” of people in this neighborhood appreciate everything Matt does for us.

      • We all appreciate Matt and by no means is anyone attacking him, Wake Up and smell the coffee. Where the hell are you coming from?

        • I wasn’t singling out Matt, more so the people that always comment about how bad things are with the businesses. I don’t know him and so I will take your word for it. But the comments always seem to be anti-business. This just isn’t right.

          I see the “majority” in the Florentine, Stanza Sigari and Vittoria all the time. If you asked these people, you would hear a different story.

          • What the hell is going on with the Liquor Licenses?

            Why must 1 business have 2 Licenses under
            the same roof when they always operated under 1 Liquor License?.

            Get the Liquor Lic. from the Cigar Bar and apply
            it to Gennaro’s and call it a day. This was the
            Liq. Lic. from the European Rest. on Hanover St.

            Also that Liquor Lic. for Beer, Wiine & Liquers
            can be applied to the new venture on HANOVER ST. where Pomodoro’s is. They will be throwing
            that wonderful, hardworking woman out of her
            business and will be applying that License to
            whatever they are going to call it after Pomodoro’s. OMG, what the hell is happening
            to this cute little community of ours. GREED.

        • I could ask the same question of you. the comment said the website not the people who make comments. Same old story…residents vs business people.

          • This Neighborhood has been Exploited long enough by the sale of Liquor. We are not ANTI-BUSINESS, WE ARE ANTI LIQUOR LICENSES because it has deteriorated the Quality of Life in our very small community. There are a handful of Business Owners who are trying to monopolize all the liquor licenses in this very small community and these people are no way effected by noise & vandalism like the rest of the North End Residents. What is it that you don’t get? THERE ARE FAR TOO MANY LIQUOR LICENSES IN THIS SMALL NEIGHBORHOOD.

            • Clearly there aren’t too many. If there were, places wouldn’t be making any money and they’d close. Seems to be plenty of business to go around.

    • It reflects Quality of Life on all North End Residents,

      unless you are business person looking for a

      license yourself. There are other types of businesses

      besides the sale of Liquor, which is creating the

      Quality of Life in this Neighborhood.

      There are far too many liquor licenses in this Neighborhood, and this is a Fact.

  5. Matt provides an invaluable resource and forum that is unbiased and precious to us all.
    Businesses and their supporters have just as much of an ability and right to post to these comments and articles as do the so-called anti-business folks. It’s a matter of who can make a logical argument that wants to voice it. Perhaps the so-called “anti-business” voice has more supporters, a better argument, and more to say that is based on reality than the “pro-business” types?
    Just a thought….
    For the record, I don’t consider myself anti-business by any means, but I 100% agree that the neighborhood is out of control with unchecked greed and corruption that allows the interests of the businesses to prevail over those of the residents on a consistent regular basis. In almost every instance these issues are related to alcohol and licensing thereof due to the high margins that they afford.

  6. Love this place with the new menu! Can’t wait to have a great martini there! (And yes, I live in the North End)

  7. The problem is with people consuming too much
    liquor. We are NOT against BUSINESSES, BUT we
    do have more than enough liq. lic for the small area.

    If Riccio gets this Liquor License than every Restaurant
    in the North End is entitled to a Full Liquour Licenses and
    that is what we are trying to prevent.

    Fiore transferred his full liquor lic. from the Cantina to
    Fiore’s, and the Cantina serves Martinis which consists
    of Flavored Vodkas that are 40 Proof, not 80 Proof,
    all of which is Legal.

    Riccio should transfer his Cigar Bar License to Gennaro’s
    and operate the Vittoria on 1 Liquor Lic. like he did in
    the Past, and for those of us who like Martinis you can
    have all you want.

    The appointed people on the Lic. Board are frequent
    customers of alot of establishments and they have
    made it very easy for people to obtain liquor licenses
    and do not care about the residents and their quality of
    life, they DO NOT LIVE HERE. The Bottom Line is
    Greed, the more they have the more they want.
    We are by no means dealing with people coming from
    hunger, it is definitely GREED, they can never have
    enough, and a handful are trying to monopolize this
    neighborhood, this is a FACT.

  8. We should all apply for Liquor Licenses and opens Bars,
    regardless what our Neighbors think,

    If this is the game that is being Played, then we have
    to hold the City & State Officials responsible.

    People only get away with what you allow them to get
    away.

    The No. End has become a Playground for Drunks of
    all ages, not just college kids.

    There have been a lot of unreported, liquor related incidents, and why,
    for the Love Of Money.

    If you think you are losing sleep now, just wait until the
    weekend of March 15, restaurant week, Drop Kick Murphy
    Concert at the Garden. I hope the Mayor comes to the
    North End and enjoys all the Fun.

    • every neigborhood in boston has its fair share of drunks on weekends because it is a major city and it has large drinking-age demographic. if you think the north end is out of control, go visit allston/brighton.

      • I know all about Brighton & Allston, but this is suppose

        to be the so-called Hidden Jewel, and if it was the

        City Dump, it is not suppose to be happening anywhere.

        There are plenty of cities in & out of the country that
        refuse to put up with any of this crap, and rules were
        made and they have been enforced.

        Enforcement makes the world of difference.

        There isn’t a person on the face of the earth that is going
        to convince me otherwise.

        • There is nothing “hidden” about the North End….read a tourist guide and see where it says you should head to dinner when you’re in Boston. Does our neighborhood have more people out drinking/eating than the South End? Beacon Hill? Back Bay? No.

          What major cities have regulations restricting the amount of competition current establishments can face? NYC? Chicago? San Francisco? LA? Dallas? Please, give examples.

  9. You can have a martini there now… you dont need full liquor to make martinis. You are allowed to use flavored vodkas, flavored whiskys etc… theres tons of drinks you can make and get drunk with without a full liquor license as is..

  10. What would happen to the North End if an asteriod landed?

    Where would these poor tourist go?

    I think the So. End., Beacon Hill, Back Bay and
    Charlestown, South Boston could handle it just fine,
    without the madness that takes place in the North End..

    The North End became a Little Italy like N.Y.C., but the
    best restaurants are not in that area, if you have ever
    been to N.Y.C. It is not on Mulberry St. and the
    surrounding streets, it is away from there and away
    from the madness.

    Anyone who has ever been to N.Y.C. or lived in N.Y.C.
    can honestly tell you the maps are not where it is at.,
    they are only Tourist Traps

    • Actually if we are talking facts if an asteroid hit the North End I’m pretty sure the So. End., Beacon Hill, Back Bay, Charlestown, and South Boston would be wiped out as well so that is a pointless arguement

      • The So. End, Bea. Hill, Bk, Bay & Charlestown &
        So. Boston would not have to be effected, it could
        be a small asteriod just enough to wipe out the
        corruption & greed in the neighborhood.

        There is no place in this country with as many liquor
        licenses in a small area like the North End.

        You have to be one of these people benefiting by
        the liquor licenses, and could careless about the
        Residents, therefore you have to be consumed with
        Greed, like the certain handful, who are not effected
        like most of us, who do not have the Luxury of living
        in secluded areas of the City and are not effected
        by the Madness that is going on down here.

        • Actually there is no way an asteroid could be that small to only wipe out the north end…I think you have been watching to many of the super hero movies…an no I don’t benefit from these liquor licenses as I very rarely go out in the North end so you are wrong on two fronts.

          I don’t see how every one is so up in arms over the liquor licenses. Your so call noise problem that turns the north end into the village of the damned is because people getting smashed in the north end…there is plenty of other places for that to happen with in walking distance.

          • There are plenty of bars in walking distance
            and I am not watching too many movies, I
            am talking facts from No. End establishment
            bartenders who have witnessed these fights.

  11. I find all of the liquor license complaining somewhat absurd. Yes, there are a lot of licenses but very few are used beyond restaurant service. People go out to a restaurant and have a few drinks with their food, and then go on their way.

    We do not really have a “Bar Scene” [yeah you can have a few drinks at Bricco, Vito’s Sports Bar, Florentine Cafe, and a few others] but for the most part, it’s food & drink together. In fact, most of these places close down or are pretty quiet by 11 or 12pm.

    It’s not like we have a Fanuil Hall/Union Street thing going on here. People leave the neighborhood to go out elsewhere around the city and then come home late. That is the nature of city living.

    If you don’t like it, take your real estate profits created by young urban professionals moving to “your” neighborhood, and move to Medford.

  12. There are plenty of unreported No.End Liquor related
    incidents that took place in our local Restaurants & Bars,
    and they have been covered up very nicely for the
    sake of Tourism.

    By the way, you may want to move yourself, but the
    place I am recommending is not Medford, it is way
    down under and it is NOT Australia.

    • I’d love to see/hear more about the “unreported liquor related incidents” that have been “covered up.” Seriously, you should let people know about them for our own safety and knowledge. Until then, I think you sound like the boy who cried wolf.

      • I don’t cry Wolf for any reason. I am talking facts.

        One Rest/Bar had a fight between a couple, where
        the woman chased the guy down the street hitting
        him.

        Damiano’s had an incident where they were urinating
        outside of the Rest. and they were coming from a
        local No. End Bar.

        Monica’s on Richmond St., they burnt his trash barrel
        and they came fron another Bar from the No. End.

        The worst incident of all is when Guys that work in the
        No. End chased a Young Guy, which was a friend of
        another No. End Young guy into a restaurant, knocked
        all the bar stools over, chase the guy into the office
        of this establlishment, kicked the office door in and
        then knocked out the young guy’s teeth. The owner
        got an apology the next day, Big Deal, what about
        the repairs that were made, and most of all what about
        the poor guy who had his teeth knocked out.

        The cops said therre were 42 No. End incidents, I just
        named 4. The other thing is the police mentioned
        another place wants to serve food until 3 a.m. and
        another establishment wants to open a Nite Club
        where people can dance. The Village of the Damned
        seems like a compliment, we need an Exorcism down
        here. Just for the record, years ago there was a big
        brawl that took place in a Hanover St. Coffee Shop
        that later went into a Charlestown Rest. that lead
        to a Massacre. There are plenty more stories, but
        you might want to check with the Boston Police for
        the rest of the unreported incidents.

  13. I have been going to neighborhood meetings for some time now, hasn’t there been a license cap in this neighborhood for the past 20 years?? The noise in this neighborhood has certainly increased, but it has to be something else then just the liquor licenses if we have been at the same number of license well before the noise increased!

  14. it is evident that this issue is a result of the exploitation of a once pridefull neighborhood to call home for lifelong residents of this historic section of Boston.
    This is not a rebellion against commerce by residents.
    This is about salvaging a few shreds of morality in our community.
    Does anyone clearly see the road we are travelling down, let me rephrase that.
    Can anyone not see how GREED has intoxicated the city of Boston and a few chameleons in our community.
    I am all for commerce, there many other types of business
    endeavors.
    Our Neighborhood has deteriorated rapidly from the sale and consumption of alcohol.
    The results of YES! a collaboration of the city,tourist board,and the proprietors of these restaurants.
    I do not blame the proprietors, why would’nt you jump on the band wagon. but we have a few who are monopolizing this indusrty at the residents expense, at societys expense!
    I am not lashing out at restaurant owners, but the exploitation of quality of life for residents in this historic neighborhood, and greed of all parties involved.
    The city is the true ciulprit,
    Restaurants have always been part of the fabric and culture of our community, they have played an instrumental part in the growth and development of the North End.

    We have to take a good hard look at the over development of this industry in our neighborhood.
    This is truly a moral issue, we have a society of substance abuse. People will get alcohol whether it is sold legally, or prohibited.
    The bottom line is that as a society we will always reap the ill effects of substance/alcohol abuse. Residents will be the ones who truly pay for the unihibited and unruly behavior of intoxicated people/tourist in our streets, and the more we let local government or business owners concentrate the sale of alcohol in such tiny perimeters, the faster our quality of life will deteriorate in our historic neighborhood.

    I would like to make a comment to a post!
    You can MOVE to Medford!!
    You either have your head in the sand, or your hand in the till!
    Most restaurant owners who thrive in this industry, do not live in the North End, so they are not effected by the patrons they serve alcohol too.

    this is not a personal attack on any indivual, this frustration with greed and exploitation of ones community and home.

      • these people raving about the degradation of society due to a liquor license are about one step removed from unabomber manifesto status.

        the obvious reason the north end has rising property values are (1) the big dig is done; (2) it is the safest/closest to financial district neighborhood that is still somewhat affordable; and (3) restaurants and neighborhood culture.

        it will never be 1995 again, so get over it. the city is doing extremely well financially and we, the residents, would be absolutely stupid to get in the way of letting our neighborhood capitalize on this financial growth.

        the fact is that we are at a turning point and can either sit back and let South Boston take the largest slice of the financial growth (Seaport) or we can revamp and renovate the North End to compete. It’s that simple. I applaud non-neighborhood places joining the landscape (thinking cup, tenoch mexican, pinkberry) – i think it is healthy competition for those who have rested too long on their laurels.

        • Does everyone realize that getting people to come to the North End restaurants will be harder once the Blackstone Market is built? they are going to put in 21st century restaurants and amenities – Hanover Street may start to look like a ghost town after that.

          • Hmmm – potentially, but I think the intention of the architects at least was to create a seamless integration of the fanuel area into the north end. There are plenty of 21st century establishments in the city, adding one other area isn’t going to serve as a net to stop people from coming a block over.

          • north end will remain a tourist trap for the foreseeable future becuase few tourists know any better. tourists still flock to quincy market, which has not been authentic or unique for years. the lack of fresh, unique offerings is more a disservice to north end residents. ultimately, it will prevent worth residents and instead it will become a student housing haven.

          • Hanover St. will never look like a Ghost Town,
            the No. End is a Tourist Trap, just like Little
            Italy in N.Y.C.

        • I don’t know what street you are living on in the North
          End, but hopefully it is secluded and you don’t have
          to walk out to Dog Crap, Urine Specimens,
          Broken Bottles and God Knows What Else.
          The Residents of the North End are in
          favor of all of the above Establshments you mentioned, they got voted in by both committees and the Residents feel good about them coming to
          this Neighborhood.

          We don’t need anymore liq.lic. then we already have,
          that is the agrument, plain & simple. You, being a
          Rest. Owner will probably never agree with me,
          because maybe someday you hope to obtain a full
          liq. lic. and you don’t feel as though this is a problem.
          We the Residents have been at the effects of what
          Liquor has done to this Neighborhood and it is not
          a Pretty Site. I think it is great that other sections of
          Boston are developing, the Innovation District is a
          Perfect Place for Bars & Restaurants and I am
          glad to see Dorchester developing as well.

          There is a lot of Money Being Spent all over this
          City and the North End, like Little Italy in N.Y.C
          will always be a Tourist Trap, and fortunately there
          is Enough Money To Go Around For All, but let us not
          confuse Prosperity with Greed. There is Far Too
          Much Greed out there, and it is Frightening.

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