Food & Drink Government

Mayor’s Late Night Task Force Makes Recommendations

News from Boston City Hall on recommendations by Mayor Walsh’s Late Night Task Force:

Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced a set of recommendations made by his Late Night Task Force to help foster and grow a safe and vibrant late night culture in the City of Boston. The task force, which formally concluded its work in 2015, was comprised of a diverse group of students, restaurants and bar owners, law enforcement and business leaders from across the city.

“In the City of Boston we have an opportunity to create the kind of nightlife that visitors expect in a world-class city,” said Mayor Walsh in a press release. “I thank all the members of the task force who came together over the course of several months to help us think about how to make Boston a more exciting and engaging place to live, work and play. I look forward to further exploring these recommendations to make Boston even more enjoyable for everyone.”

“The MRA applauds the efforts of the Mayor and the City of Boston in moving forward these initiatives,” said Bob Luz, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. “Common sense approaches, such as allowing small operators to serve food after 10PM and removing unnecessary regulations on downtown operators will continue to make Boston flourish. All neighborhoods of Boston benefit from increased restaurant vibrancy and occupancy. When the Mayor was first elected, he pledged to streamline the regulatory process and he has delivered on that promise.”

Recommendations include:

Extended Hours

  • Extend liquor license hours within designated downtown area with the proper hearing;
  • Allow restaurants that have 10pm or 11pm license citywide to extend to midnight with proper hearing and community process;
  • Activate pilot areas throughout downtown Boston to extend liquor license hours. This option requires legislative action.


  • Establishments should be allowed to serve drinks on a patio or deck without the requirement to serve food, unless otherwise stipulated at hearing;
  • In an effort to make it easier for operators to renew their Certificate of Inspection (CI), inspections should be automatically scheduled by the proper departments once their invoice is paid for the new CI;
  • Streamline all licensing requirements to eliminate redundant licenses and requirements.


  • Live entertainment and music played on patios should be able to extend later in the evening if local residents are not disturbed.

The Late Night Task Force was established in May 2014 with the goal of examining business districts and neighborhoods that are favorable for later closing hours; public safety requirements of expanded late night hours; existing liquor license restrictions; entertainment license expansion; late night transportation access; and how to effectively launch the expanded services. Rory Cuddyer, former Advisor to the Mayor’s Chief of Staff and current startup manager, and John Fitzgerald, Deputy Director of Imagine Boston 2030, served as co-chairs of the task force, along with 24 individuals who were appointed by the Mayor.

19 Replies to “Mayor’s Late Night Task Force Makes Recommendations

  1. I never understood the requirement to purchase food on patios if you are drinking, that one specifically makes sense to me.

  2. I think that Mayor Walsh needs to get his priorities straight, and concern himself with the people who live in these neighborhoods not tourists and business owners. And explain to me how extended alcohol / restaurant hours are going to make Boston a world class city! I think we are already a world class city.

  3. Berna, Walsh is trying to milk the Golden Goose [the North End] as much as he possibly can to bring more revenue{and problems] to the city.

  4. I think it is a mistake to extend liquor and music hours. How does this make us more of a world class city?

  5. We’ll never be a world class city while maintaining a parking space saver mentality. Therein lies the paradox.

  6. Boston is a world class city? Have you people been to other big cities? Go to Miami, New York, LA, or Chicago then see how you feel. There is very little to do in terms of night life in Boston because of these rules and regulations. And whoever is calling the north end the “golden egg” must be misinformed. Business is down in the north end because we cannot compete with places such as the seaport and some areas of downtown because the residents of this neighborhood are ignorant. There’s a reason why you have seen 2 chains move into the neighborhood in the past year and that reason is people can’t support paying the high rent of the neighborhood when the residents oppose every liquor license and anything open past 11 o’clock. The north end is no longer the “golden egg” that it once was. People are sick of pre cooked pasta and going to places where you can’t have a drink

    1. The North End has always been a residential neighborhood with a vibrant business community Many of these places are owned by fellow residents, who care deeply about the North End and support our many neighborhood charities, events and programs. I value the dedication that these establishments and owners have to our neighborhood. However, I do not support turning the neighborhood into the a new version of the Seaport or Dowtown Crossing.

      Our businesses must realize that they are a welcome part of the neighborhood, but one that is and must remain primarily a residential community. People are raising families here, we have a large elderly population and we are investing millions of dollars into our property. We too have a voice, an important voice as to what goes on in a neighborhood we call home.

      I support many of the businesses in the North End, and I was happyto see that a few received a recent upgrade from a beer/wine to all alcohol license, however I will not support any additional 2AM closings. Residents should not be cajoled or even called upon to support such endeavors simply beacuse some folks decide it will be more profitable to to open a late night bar until 2AM.

      Boston is a World Class City because of its historic importance to this nation, our outstanding medical and educational institutions, our diverese cultural identity, our museums, harbor and yes our great restaurants. I think those who think otherwise are the ignorant” ones.

      ps – Richie, please feel free to move to the Seaport or anywhere else you can order al dente macaroni and a cocktail, no one is forcing you to stay here.


      1. Jason: Beautiful and intelligent comment. I am ‘in accord’ with you 100%. The last paragraph, which begins with ‘Boston is a World Class City’, resonated with me and touched me to the ‘quick’. It encapsulates our city — this one paragraph which should be remembered by all……the one paragraph that says it all.

    2. It is the pinnacle of ignorance to consider a world class city one that has a certain kind of nightlife. Boston is an international powerhouse. For those living in finance, technology, life sciences, biotech, pharma and so many more industries, Boston stands with the kings. Very few people making things happen from Palo Alto/SF/Silicon Valley to Boston-Cambridge to Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill/Research Triangle (RTP) give a hoot what happens after 9 p.m. L.A. rises early to keep pace with the East Coast. L.A. is not Holllywood and nightlife, a city that closes starting at 12:30 a.m. It is a major port and an international center of commerce.

      The vast majority of cosmopolitan cities and world class destinations roll up at 1 a.m. sharp. It is the mark of rampant immaturity to think that having nightlife that extends past certain hours defines a city. Next, who will support these hours? The kids hoping for it might milk the hours after their wad is already shot, driving up operational costs to bars and clubs, which will be reflected in door and drink prices. I have no problem with 24/7 clubs to be frank. I just think that loft/club districts are more apt for that. What makes Boston great is charm and character. I don’t want to see that go because some students and a few local club heads want longer nights.

      Most of those clamoring for such, in my direct conversational experience, have very little to feed into the life of those hours besides occupying a stool or a spot on the floor. Miami and Boston? That’s comparing apples and oranges. Miami could go away tomorrow and it would have zero impact on what really matters in this world. If it were up to me, Boston would close at 1 a.m. every single night.

  7. I wonder how many of those in favor of extending the hours for drinking are those noisy patrons stumbling out of the bars and lounges now at 1:00 am- 2:00 am disturbing the peacefulness of the majority at home and in bed. I would very much enjoy seeing the results of any scientific polling of visitors to Boston who would wish to be allowed to drink past 2:00 am and why does allowing drinking past 2:00 am make Boston world class?

    1. It doesn’t Bob. 4 AM bar closing times and skyscrapers are not what make a world class city. It is the cultural institutions, well maintained public spaces, businesses, and diverse population that makes NY a world class city.

      AS USUAL, Jason is 200% correct.

      So Richie, there are thousands of apartments being built in the seaport district . I am sure you can find one that suits your need for whiskey and pre-cooked (they all do it unless it is fresh pasta which only takes 2 to 3 min to cook) pasta in that neighborhood. Ciao

  8. Lets set the record straight. People who frequent the NE at 1,2 or 3AM aren’t tourists there college or college age males & females who spillover from other bars & dives in the City.If “business is down in the NE” as someone claimed it’s because there are far too many restaurants

  9. Jason, I agree with your comment 100%. I like to know why the Mayor did not ask any residents to be on this task force along with students, restaurants and bar owners, law enforcement and business leaders from across the city. I’m sure we could have come up with a few good recommendations.

  10. For the record, I don’t believe they have any intentions of this affecting the North End. I believe they have said they would only look at non-residential areas like Downtown, Theater District, and the Seaport (although it is getting more residential)….

  11. KUDOS Berna & Jason, I agree with both of you. It is positively sickening to keep on hearing about
    these liquor licenses. There are far too many bars & restaurants for this extremely small neighborhood
    and extending liquor licenses only creates more problems, one of which is NOISE. The police are not able to handle the
    problems we have had in the past, which have been very nicely covered up. Most of these owners do
    NOT live in the No. End and the ones that do, are in secluded or gated areas. We have had serious
    fist fights that have taken place in our bars & end up on our Neighborhood Streets. There was a fight
    3 or 4 Saturday Nights ago, the police showed, but no arrests were made, once again. We do
    not have enough police protection for an area with over 100 establishments & they are still trying to
    shove these liquor licenses down our throats. We are above all, a Residential Area, and it is about
    time, the Mayor & other City Officials get it. I believe in Capitalism, but not at every Residents’
    expense. Enough is Enough. Every week & not necessarily a weekend night, cars are going
    around, blasting their car radios at 3 A.M. in the morning, looking for parking spaces. Where are these Police Cruisers then?
    If Boston is considered a 1st Class City, it has absolutely nothing to do with Liquor Licenses, it has
    a History of the making of this Country. In my opinion, there is Not one starving restaurant in the
    area. The Restaurants are jam packed, especially on weekend nights & also let me add, some of
    which make over $50,000 on a Saturday Night, alone. There are plenty of people that don’t even
    make that for a yearly salary. If this city isn’t making enough money off these No. End establishments,
    I suggest they branch out in other areas of the City and give the No. End a break.

  12. Mike.. Even if what your saying is true we all know how things like this go. It will be only those areas for a while before the trickle down affect begins. This neighborhood wasn’t supposed to get 2:00 licenses either but give it to one establishment and before you know it …….

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