Next Score View the next score

    Coming soon to some neighborhoods: BYOB restaurants


    Here’s to this weekend, Boston! As of Friday, qualifying restaurants can apply for a “bring your own bottle” permit from the Licensing Board, which, if granted, would allow patrons to bring certain sizes of malt beverages or wine into the establishments without penalty.

    The initiative, originally sponsored by City Council President Michelle Wu and supported by Mayor Martin J. Walsh, puts the city in step with other large metro areas, many of which have long supported BYOB restaurants.

    “I’m excited to see Boston officially open license applications for BYOB, creating a new way for neighborhood restaurants to thrive and more options for consumers to dine local,” Wu said.


    Boston’s permits don’t allow restaurant patrons to bring “hard alcohol,” such as distilled spirits, liqueurs, and cordials, to imbibe alongside their meals. But as much as 64 ounces of beer and 750 milliliters of wine per person (about 25.4 ounces) are allowed.

    Get Metro Headlines in your inbox:
    The 10 top local news stories from metro Boston and around New England delivered daily.
    Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

    Locally, the plan is seen as a low-cost way to boost the economy and help small businesses that can’t afford a pricey full liquor license, which can run up to $450,000 for a city restaurant to serve drinks from a full bar.

    Nationally, the rule helps chip away at Boston’s no-fun reputation — particularly when it comes to alcohol regulations and late-night revelry. For newcomers and tourists, the dearth of late-night public transit options, the early closing times for bars and clubs, and the lack of “happy hour” drink discounts can be a dismaying reality.

    In recent years, politicians, including Walsh, have attempted to breathe new life into a city notorious for being steeped in its traditions.

    “This measure will bring increased economic opportunity to Boston’s neighborhood restaurants and help our city’s economic growth overall,” Walsh said in a statement.


    Applications can be found online. The Licensing Board will begin prodcessing them Monday. After the application is processed, an establishment will have a hearing to determine eligibility.

    Only restaurants in residential neighborhoods can apply. Those in the downtown, North End, South End, Bay Village, Fenway, Chinatown, Seaport, West End, Beacon Hill, and Back Bay neighborhoods are not eligible.

    Astead W. Herndon
    can be reached at