Boston Bars Cited for Not Serving Food

Universal Hub rBar food and drinkseports that the Boston Licensing Board is getting tough with bars with food-serving permits (common victuals licenses) that are not currently serving food.  In some cases the bars have not been serving food for years.

At January hearings, bar owners and managers owned up and said they’d stopped serving food because their patrons would rather have food delivered to the bar from nearby restaurants – the Eagle on Tremont Street in the South End – or because the state ban on smoking killed their dinner business – the Drinking Fountain in Jamaica Plain.

State alcohol regulations do appear to require bars to serve food in order to operate.  Rather the board’s concern is over the fact that food-serving licenses held by these establishments are not being used. The Boston Licensing Board, in addition to liquor licenses, also issues food-serving licenses to all places having food service in the city.

The agenda for this Boston Licensing Board hearing mentions that the establishments cited by police for not serving food were in violation of section 64 of the Massachusetts Liquor Control Act (Chapter 138).  A reading of this section of the law does not mention anything about the serving of food, but does mention that establishments can be penalized for violating any terms of their licenses.

The licensing authorities after notice to the licensee and reasonable opportunity for him to be heard by them, may modify, suspend, revoke or cancel his license upon satisfactory proof that he has violated or permitted a violation of any condition thereof, or any law of the commonwealth.

The Universal Hub piece on this hearing generated a good number of comments and discussion. People clearly feel strongly about this issue and there is some genuine confusion on how these regulations govern the operation of restaurants and bars in Boston.

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