Back in December, we reported that the old Ashmont Grill would be replaced with something new via The Lobzter King. We have some new details to report, thanks to an article in the Boston Globe about how ridiculously hard it is to obtain a liquor license in the city – especially in neighborhoods of color.
Jarvis Adams, aka the Lobster King, along with his business partners Levi Samedi and Rufus Faulk, leased the space that once was home to the Ashmont Grill, which closed last year after almost 20 years in business. The new restaurant will be called The Mix where they mix things up with items other than lobster. Think lobster and steak or catfish and grits. Also on the horizon is brunch with chicken and waffles.
They are giving the interior of the 120-seat restaurant with new furniture and 40-60 seats on two outdoor patios. They are hoping to have a spring opening, but here’s the hitch…they need a liquor license.
According to the Globe, because of a 91-year-old state law, Boston is at or near its quota of full liquor licenses, roughly around 820. So, for new restaurants and bars looking to open in the city, you have to purchase a full license from someone else – a private sale with pricing ranging from $400,00 to $600,00. Yikes. If you want just a beer and wine license, it’s the same situation. You buy it from a private market for $100,000 – $120,000.
So what about the old Ashmont Grill license, you ask? Well, it was sold in July to the Cactus Club Café on Boylston Street in the Back Bay for $555,000. Yes, liquor licenses are transferable between neighborhoods.
So now the new owners of The Mix are sort of stuck – unless they can shell out half a million dollars for a full liquor license – which they can’t. So, they are waiting on a new bill the City Council has proposed to the state to create 250 non-transferable liquor licenses attached to neighborhoods.
The Globe goes on to report that the bill’s 250 nontransferable neighborhood licenses “would be issued five per year for five years in each of 10 ZIP codes – mostly in the city’s south and southwest neighborhoods. If a license-holder goes out of business, the license would revert to the city for reissue, again in the same neighborhood.”
So, as of now, the fate of the liquor license for The Mix is hanging in the balance of this bill. Fingers crossed.
To read about this whole liquor license in Boston situation, visit here.