North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) President Ford Cavallari called out the “elephant in the room” at the group’s February meeting, referring to the new all-alcohol licenses recently granted by the Boston Licensing Board. [See All-Alcohol License Upgrades Granted to Three North End Restaurants]
“Royal Rumble” and “gifts of up to $350,000” were the terms used by NEWRA executives to describe the process by which the licensing board awarded the licenses within 30 days of its authorization. This accelerated timeframe did not allow the Residents Association to hear and vote on the licenses, according to NEWRA executives. The new licenses are ‘upgrades’ for existing beer and wine licenses, the latter of which will be returned to the city and eventually re-granted to other establishments.
In the North End, new all-alcohol licenses were awarded to Cantina Italiana, Mare and Monica’s Trattoria. With only a limited number of licenses available, the Licensing Board denied the all-alcohol upgrade requests by North End applicants Antico Forno, Strega Ristorante and Ducali Pizzeria and Bar. Antico Forno intended to subsequently transfer its beer/wine license to Caffe ‘Lil Italy. After the initial round of license awards, Carmelina’s on Hanover Street was also passed over for an all-alcohol license upgrade at a subsequent hearing. Deferred by the Licensing Board was Scopa Restaurant on Hanover Street who separately applied for a beer and wine license. Applicants can re-apply month-to-month in hopes that more licenses become available.
Support for the North End applicants was shown at the January meeting of the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) as well as an abutter’s meeting hosted by the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services.
View the NEWRA discussion on the alcohol licenses in the above video from the February 11, 2016 meeting at the Nazzaro Community Center in Boston’s North End.