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Selectmen Postpone BYOB Vote

No decision has been made regarding local carry-in alcohol license regulations.

At their meeting at Abbot Hall Wednesday night, the Board of Selectmen opted to postpone their planned vote on the most recent draft of carry-in alcohol license regulations after making several key changes.

Prior to the vote, board members sat down with Assistant Town Counsel Lisa Mead to discuss the regulations, which were pushed to the forefront last month when Marblehead's new Mexican restaurant, Casa Corona, filed a request for permission to allow patrons to bringing along their own alcohol beverages.

Key Changes Discussed Wednesday 

  • Approved alcoholic beverages will be limited to beer and wine only
  • If a local business has been awarded a carry-in license, and a beer or wine license suddenly becomes available in town, that business doesn't necessarily have to apply
  • The annual cost of the carry-in liquor license will be $400

Why only beer and wine?

At a meeting earlier this month, board members unanimously agreed that permitting patrons to bring a limited amount of hard alcohol along with them would be fair to business owners. The issue there, Mead said, was that the hard alcohol containers couldn't legally be re-sealed and taken from the bar if they were unfinished. She also pointed out that she couldn't find any other carry-in licenses in Massachusetts that allowed hard alcohol.

Why not make them apply when a full liquor license becomes available?

In Marblehead, there are 20 full liquor licenses and 5 beer and wine licenses and they're all accounted for. The number of licenses available is based on population size. (The full liquor licenses cost $1,500 per year; beer and wine costs $750 annually.) Though no final decision was made regarding this issue, all of the board members agreed that forcing business owners to apply if licenses become available would be unfair.

Why increase the price from $50 to $400?

At the initial meeting, the idea behind offering the carry-in licenses for $50 was to ease the burden on the business owner because board members recognized that they wouldn't be profiting from the alcohol.

At the meeting Wednesday, however, Mead pointed out that the cost of a one-day liquor license was also $50 - and that the cost of a year-round permit "has to cover what it costs the town to manage the license."

"The cost for public safety, the cost to review the facility, the bigger cost on a community - if you're worried about making it $50 because it's a quick license, it's bigger than that," Mead said, adding, "You would have a lot of leeway here to validate a charge for this."

The $400 figure was agreed upon after it was established that is what the town of Winthrop charges for their carry-in licenses.

What does this mean for Casa Corona?

If the final draft of the regulations is approved at the board's next meeting, Casa Corona owners Felix and Jose Bracamontes will be called in to discuss their application; and, if all goes according to plan, patrons could be enjoying their own beverages at the Smith Street restaurant by the end of November.

Other Proposed Regulations:

  • Alcohol can be sold during a restaurant's regular business hours
  • A BYOB license can be requested as soon as a Common Victualler's license has been awarded
  • The Board of Selectmen can take away a license if they determine it is being abused
  • The Marblehead Police Department must sign-off on all applications
  • The amount of alcohol each patron can bring with them will be regulated
  • It is the responsibility of the restaurant to be sure patrons don't over-serve themselves
  • All alcoholic beverage containers brought into the restaurant must be brought out by one of the patrons
  • If a drink isn't finished, it must be taken away in a sealed clear plastic bag
  • Wait staff may not assist with alcoholic beverages unless they are over 18 and TIPS certified

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The new Mexican restaurant opened last month in the space next to Evan's New York Style Deli, which was formerly occupied by Trattoria Sablone.

Skip October 26, 2012 at 11:04 AM
This place will not be open in November!!! Just give them the BYOB license now. Marblehead supporting small business.
Sharon Thibodeau October 26, 2012 at 12:59 PM
if this business closes because of this delay, it will be a shame on Marblehead. Talk the talk, but walk the walk for local businesses. Pass this asap.
kathleen October 26, 2012 at 01:12 PM
It's hard enough to stay in business. It's a great idea to limit it to wine and beer. Give them the BYOB license now! Why does every permit in this town take so long? Ridiculous.
John Buba October 26, 2012 at 01:33 PM
This is a disgrace! These self aggrandizing Selectmen need to be replaced – the whole lot! Without Tony telling them WHAT to do and WHEN to do it they are like deer in the headlights of an oncoming logging truck. $400 for a piece of paper that gets filed in a file cabinet; how can it possibly cost that much? They are the poster children for term limits. Stop jerking these small business owners around.
MHH101 October 26, 2012 at 02:19 PM
I remember when Ranaldos (after the bigger restaurant upstairs at Village Plaza was sold) opened up a smaller restaurant across the street, where BYOB was allowed. They and other BYOB places had a service charge of $3 per person (e.g. for providing uncorking, glassware etc.).
ps October 26, 2012 at 02:41 PM
nips have always been my solution to this problem......
Chris Tosh October 26, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Seem to be the solution for most of the motorists in Marbelhead too....
The Kid October 26, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Typical red-tape, "cya" selectmen, making sure they dot their "i's" and cross their "t's" and taking 2-3x as long to do it. Common sense and basic diligence should have initially limited BYOB to beer and wine but nope, they had to spin their wheels and waste time because of bush league advice. And I agree, $400 for a BYOBB license? That is A LOT of paper pushing, stapling and greasing of the file cabinet.
IrishGuy October 27, 2012 at 03:20 AM
Disgraceful! And despite all the liquor licenses being currently taken, does anyone think the the "high-end" restaurant that will go into the new Warwick building won't, somehow, be able to obtain one?
J.Q. Adams October 27, 2012 at 07:35 AM
Is there a reason this "license" was not granted at the time of application? Shouldn't the rules and fees at that time apply to this hard working young family? The food is outstanding. Time to get in line!
Beachmaster October 27, 2012 at 02:27 PM
I agree. something is fishy here. there's no reason they shouldn't have a license. hopefully they can hold on long enough. maybe if enough folks to show up at the next meeting to support them it would help
mary p. ayer December 10, 2012 at 02:52 PM
I agree---give them the license --now--so they may stay in business. Why make them wait ----this is the season they need to make $$$!
mary p. ayer December 10, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Great idea! How about vodka in a water bottle too? This is unbelievable ----you would think these selectmen were the Supreme court! I think $400 is crazy too. I feel bad for these people trying to make a go of it.
mary p. ayer December 10, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Let's all of us ,who care, go for dinner to show our support! You bet the new "high end" new restaurant ata the Warwick will have NO problem. How does the selectmen explain that? A BIG show of support is needed here.

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