A task force formed by Mayor Marty Walsh has come up with recommendations for improving nightlife in Boston, among them that some downtown bars should be able to stay open later.
The group of two-dozen appointees also said some restaurants should be able to serve food and alcohol later, rules on outdoor drinks and live music should be loosened and the license process should be streamlined, according to an announcement released Wednesday.
Walsh said in a statement he would “look forward to further exploring” the suggestions.
“ In the City of Boston we have an opportunity to create the kind of nightlife that visitors expect in a world-class city," Walsh said in a statement. “I look forward to further exploring these recommendations to make Boston even more enjoyable for everyone."
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Bob Luz, who heads the Massachusetts Restaurant Association – which tends to support efforts to let restaurants stay open later and to increase nightlife traffic – was included in the statement. He said he “applauds” the effort.
"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,” Luz said in a statement. “All neighborhoods of Boston benefit from increased restaurant vibrancy and occupancy.
The task force did not bring up the MBTA’s late-night service in its recommendations.
Rory Cuddyer, one of two task force co-chairs, told Metro the group did not offer input on the T because the talks currently underway – an oversight board has signaled it plans to cut the service due to low ridership – hadn’t started yet when its members were discussing the issues.
“We were operating under the assumption that late night T service would be around,” Cuddyer said, adding, “As a whole we would love to see late night T service continue.”
The 24 appointees were restaurant and bar owners, students, law enforcement and business leaders.
The task force also recommended that a pilot program letting bars stay open later be restricted to downtown Boston.
“We want to do that in areas that aren’t residential – aren’t as residential as a Savin Hill or an Allston/Brighton,” said Cuddyer, who is the startup manager for the City of Boston.
The group recommended that other updates happen citywide.
The recommendations, word-for-word:
- Extended Hours
- Extend liquor license hours within designated downtown area with the proper hearing;
- Allow restaurants thathave 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.