It’s as American as the fedora and the double-play ball, and once as common as either in cities and towns from Boston to Seattle. The speakeasy, in existence well before the era of Prohibition, operated under the radar if not actually underground. It was a place where laws governing the sale and use of alcohol could be stretched, skirted, or frankly ignored.
Eighty years later, alcohol may be widely available but it’s still tightly regulated by states. In Massachusetts, the retailer or restaurateur with a new idea for connecting with customers quickly learns there’s precious little latitude for innovation. So, when Kerri Platt, 35, the co-owner of The Wine Bottega, a North End wine shop with a hipster vibe and clientele to match, decided to host a pop-up wine bar, she knew that before she figured out how to make it fun, she needed to determine how to make it legal. She had no intention of taking it underground.