When do I receive the license after Board approval?
If it is a Common Victualler License with a capacity of forty-nine or less persons, you get the license once the Board approves it and you provide it with an Inspectional Services Department certificate.
If it is a Common Victualler License with a capacity of fifty (50) or more persons, you get the license once the Board approves it and you provide it with an Inspectional Services Department certificate, and a Fire Assembly Permit.
If it is a Common Victualler License with malt and wine, or all alcohol, you will not get the license until such time as the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) approves it. The Board does not control the process at the ABCC and cannot provide you any information about the time it takes the ABCC to approve any applications. After the ABCC approves it, you will get your license from this office once you provide us with proof of liquor liability insurance, an Inspectional Services Department certificate. You must also provide us a Fire Assembly Permit if your occupancy is 50 or more people.
When will I hear the Board’s decision on a citation, permit, application or request?
The Board votes on all matters on a given week’s agenda during their 10:00 a.m. Open Executive Meeting on the Thursday of that week (with the exception that on certain weeks the Board votes on Wednesday). Unless the Board defers to vote on a matter, all issues that were before it that week will be voted and decided on that week.
Can I appeal any decision the Board has taken?
If it is an appeal concerning a liquor license matter, other than hours, you can appeal to the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) within five (5) days of the receipt of the Statement of Reasons issued by this Board.
If it is an appeal concerning a Common Victualler license or operation of hours (for all types of licenses), you can appeal to the Superior Court of Massachusetts pursuant to G. L. c. 30A within thirty (30) days of the receipt of the Board’s decision.
When do I have to submit a floor plan?
When you are seeking a new license, or changing the description of your license to exclude seating, add seating or incorporate a new area (such as a patio).
If I do not contest the facts of the Licensed Premise Inspection Notice, do I still have to show up for the violation hearing?
You do not have to show up to the hearing if you fill out a Waiver of Hearing Form, and send it to the Board prior to the date of the hearing. The Board will accept the form as an admission of the facts as stated on the Boston Police Incident Report and Licensed Premise Inspection Notice, and impose a sanction, if applicable, based solely on those admitted facts. The signing of the form does not waive your rights to appeal the sanction.
Common Victualler License
Can I operate/open a restaurant or take out business if I only have an ISD (Inspectional Services Certificate)?
No. Every food service establishment, including take-out only establishments, with capabilities for cooking, preparing and serving food is required to have a Common Victualler License (“CV”) approved and issued by this Board. The only times you do not need a CV from this Board are if you are a: mobile cart/bus, tavern, bakery that has no seating, and convenience store that has no seating or which gross revenues from the prepared food does not exceed 10% of the annual store revenue.
When do I need to provide legal notice to the direct abutters?
(1) A new Common Victualler license with alcohol, malt, wine, liqueurs or cordials; (2) a new retail liquor license (package store license); (3) extension of premises to an outdoor area/patio; (4) amend the description of your license (alteration of premises); (5) add cordials/liqueurs to your malt and/or wine license; and (6) change the location of the license.
When do I have to contact the local Neighborhood Association and City Councilor for the area?
(1) A new Common Victualler license; (2) new Common Victualler license with all alcohol, malt, wine, liqueurs or cordials; (3) a new retail liquor license (package store license); (4) extension of premises to an outdoor area/patio; (5) amend the description of your license (alteration of premises); (6) transfer a liquor license; and (7) change the type of license.
What do I have to do to obtain approval to have a patio/outdoor seating?
You must submit an application to the Board to amend the description of your license, submit a floor plan, contact the local Neighborhood Association and present your proposal to them prior to the Board’s hearing. If you are seeking to place the patio/outdoor seating in a public area, you must get the approval of the Public Works Department.
What is the annual fee for a Common Victualler 7-Day All-Alcoholic Beverages License?
$2,800.00, plus $1.00 per seat.
What is the fee for a one-day liquor license?
$75.00 for Beer and Wine and $150.00 for All-Alcohol
What time can I start serving alcohol?
8:00 a.m. on Mondays through Saturdays. At noon on Sundays but you can request to serve on Sundays starting at 10:00 a.m.
Can anyone get a one-day liquor license?
Yes. However, all alcohol licenses can only be issued to non-profit organizations or individual persons who are conducting a non-profit event or companies who are holding a non-profit closed to the public event. All others are only eligible for a wine and beer license.
Can I apply for a malt and wine license simultaneously with a liqueurs/cordials permit?
Yes. It is a myth that you must operate a malt and wine license 6 months prior to being able to request a liqueur/cordial permit from this Board.
What is the current price to purchase a liquor license?
The City of Boston does not sell liquor licenses, and therefore, we cannot speak as to this issue. You may be able to obtain this information from brokers, attorneys or other restaurateurs/business owners.
If I am seeking to buy a liquor license do I need to buy one in the area? Example: If I want to open a business in South End, does the liquor license I purchase need to be one that was in the South End?
Can I sell my liquor license?
Yes, as long as you do not hold a restricted license. Restricted licenses are designated with an “R” prior to the number section of your license. Example: MWR000.
Where can I access a copy of the hearing list?
The hearing list or agenda for a particular day is available at least 48 hours prior to on the calendar. Tuesdays are for violation hearings, Wednesdays are for business transactions, and Thursdays are the voting sessions for that week’s Tuesday and Wednesday hearings.
Can I attend the Licensing Board’s hearings?
Yes. All hearings are open to the public.
“Tuesday Hearings,” which concern alleged violations committed by a licensee, the Board will hear from the police officers, any victims, witness to the alleged violation(s) and the licensee.
“Wednesday Hearings,” which concern petitions made by the licensee, the Board will hear from the petitioner and/or licensee, and any witnesses, community members, abutters, neighborhood associations, and governmental representatives who wish to speak in favor or opposition to the petition.
Thursday “Open Executive Meetings,” the Board deliberates and votes on all matters presented to it that week. Although the meeting is open to the public, the Board does not accept any testimony.
If I file a Common Victualler License or a Common Victualler License with malt, wine or all alcohol application, example, today when will the Board put it on for a hearing?
It takes approximately three to four weeks to schedule a hearing because of the process of advertising. When you bring in your application, we will inform you when it will be placed on the schedule.
What are the possible results of a hearing?
The possible results are: Violation, No Violation, Defer, or No Action. If a violation is found, the Board will issue disciplinary action. The businesses receive a Statement of Reasons regarding the Board's findings.
Violations Issued by Police
What does it mean when the police issue my business a violation?
After the police inspect or respond to your premises, they may issue you a Licensed Premise Inspection Notice. This Notice has a section where the police indicate whether he/she found a violation. If they checked off violation, they will list the violation(s) found on the comments section. The fact that the police marked it off as a violation does not mean that you will have to attend a hearing before the Board and/or that if a hearing is held the Board will find a violation.
What happens once the police issue a violation through the Licensed Premise Inspection Notice?
The Board reviews the police report associated to the Notice and will: (a) file it without a hearing (meaning there will be no hearing before the Board or any disciplinary action taken against the business); or (b) schedule the matter for a hearing.
What are the Boston Licensing Board’s office hours
We are open Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, with the exception of holidays observed by the City of Boston.
How do I contact the Boston Licensing Board?
Contact the Boston Licensing Board Using this form.
How do I contact the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC)?