Slow start to BYOB in Boston

Only one restaurant has so far applied for the city’s new, bring-your-own-bottle permit, marking a slow start to a long-anticipated and heralded program.

The city only has a certain number of liquor licenses for restaurants, and they’ve been very expensive in the past. Supporters of BYOB, which has been sucessful in other cities, have aruged this is a more affordable way for restaurants to attract diners who want to imbibe with their meals.

City Council president Michelle Wu, who spearheaded efforts to bring BYOB to Boston, cautioned the new licenses are geared mostly toward new dining establishments.

“We were not anticipating that existing restaurants would jump at the chance,” said Wu, adding that new restaurants could eventually serve as an example for the program’s success for existing establishments.


The sole applicant is Chris Lin, owner of Seven Star Street Bistro in Roslindale. He applied for the $400 BYOB license on Feb. 13.

Lin said he paid $40,000 for a city liquor licenses in 2015 and after he sold it, “the dining room has gone from full to nearly empty,” he said.

Lin’s application is currently “in the administrative process,” according to the mayor’s office.

Under the current regulations, the earliest restaurants will be able to implement BYOB would be this Spring. The BYOB licenses cost $400.

“I will consider this a success if even just one restaurant has a full dining room on what would have otherwise been a quiet night,” Wu said. “If this creates one new restaurant in a neighborhood, I will consider BYOB a success.”

Maddie Kilgannon can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @MaddieKilgannon.