Food & Drink Government

Bring Your Own Beer & Wine, Just Not to the Downtown Neighborhoods

The Licensing Board unanimously approved rules and regulations on Wednesday to allow for BYOB (bring your own bottle) in Boston. Restaurants with a sub-30 person capacity in the outer neighborhoods will be able to apply for a BYOB license once the Licensing Board makes an online form. Apparently, that will take a few months (no, I’m not kidding.)

Excluded from the new BYOB licenses are eateries in the North End, Downtown Boston, South End, Bay Village, Fenway, Chinatown, Seaport, West End, Beacon Hill, and Back Bay neighborhoods are not eligible. Downtown restaurants and bars will still have to wait for one of the limited number of alcohol licenses to become available from the Licensing Board or buy one from another establishment. Malt, wine and cordials licenses can cost upwards of $80,000.

BYOB licenses will only allow beer and wine. Hard liquor and cocktails will still require a regular alcohol license from City Hall. As an aside, happy hour drink specials remain prohibited in Massachusetts.

That leaves BYOB licenses to Allston-Brighton, Charlestown, Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Mission Hill, Roslindale, Roxbury, West Roxbury and some parts of South Boston. The new BYOB licenses will cost $400 per year.

“Today’s vote brings us one big step closer to implementing BYOB in Boston,” said City Council President Michelle Wu. “Not only will BYOB give small business owners another tool to boost economic activity, but it will also provide consumers with more dining out options in our neighborhoods. The result will be a more vibrant restaurant scene across the whole city.”

Wine bottles are allowed up to 750 ml with beer bottles up to 16 oz (and a maximum of 64 oz in total). In December 2015, the City Council passed and Mayor Martin J. Walsh signed an ordinance to allow for BYOB to be considered by the Licensing Board.

Below, see the attached regulations for details.