An event at a Boston hotel bar that welcomes people and their pets for after-work drinks and appetizers is back on Wednesday after briefly going to the dogs this week.
The Liberty Hotel, which has hosted “Yappier Hour” for nine seasons at its private outdoor patio The Yard, said the event was scrapped Monday by city officials due to worries about having dogs and cocktails in the same place.
“Due to unforeseen circumstances, today’s Yappier Hour has been cancelled,” the hotel said in a tweet Monday. “The City of Boston is concerned with serving drinks when there are dogs present, and we are now working collaboratively with the City to address those concerns.”
In a follow-up tweet, the hotel said it hoped to bring back the event, which runs from spring through fall, as soon as possible. The hotel said it would keep people updated on any progress through social media.
“Thank you for your understanding!” the tweet read.
1/2 Due to unforeseen circumstances, today's Yappier Hour has been cancelled. The City of Boston is concerned with serving drinks when there are dogs present, and we are now working collaboratively with the City to address those concerns.— The Liberty Hotel (@LibertyHotel) April 29, 2019
2/2 We look forward to the possibility of bringing this beloved event back as soon as possible, thank you for your understanding! We will keep everyone updated on our social media channels.— The Liberty Hotel (@LibertyHotel) April 29, 2019
By Tuesday afternoon, the issue seemed to have been ironed out. City officials gave the luxury hotel clearance to continue hosting the gathering at its outdoor event space as soon as Wednesday.
“The Liberty Hotel is delighted and most grateful to the Mayor, Commissioner, and [the Inspectional Services Department] for working with us to find a solution to allow Yappier Hour to continue,” it said in a tweet Tuesday.
The problem, according to the city, stemmed from the lack of a variance to host the event, which has been a staple of the Charles Street hotel since at least 2011.
According to officials, Liberty Hotel applied for and received a variance last year that allowed dogs at the event while food was being consumed.
The city said the hotel did not apply for the same variance this year, but recently started promoting the event. That’s when the city stepped in and reached out to the hotel to provide guidance about the needed approvals for the popular attraction to continue, according to officials.
Samantha Ormsby, a spokeswoman for Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s office, said in a statement the mayor “is very supportive of events like the Liberty Hotel’s Yappier Hour.”
Ormsby said the city’s Inspectional Services Department met with representatives from the hotel Tuesday afternoon to “ensure this longstanding event is able to continue while also complying with state regulations.”
The event, described as a place where “dogs of all sizes” are welcome, and people are free to “mix & mingle," has usually been held every Monday and Wednesday from April through October.
When the hotel announced it had to cancel the pet-friendly get-together at the city’s request, people on Twitter bit back at the news.
One person tweeted at city officials that it was “like shutting down a kid’s lemonade stand, this is not the battle to fight.”
A second person pointed out that Boston is hosting The Patios beginning this week, a seasonal event on City Hall Plaza that has both outdoor drinking and “Wag Wednesdays,” when puppies are brought to the site for people to interact with or adopt. “Interesting because @CityOfBoston allows dogs on @CityHallBoston with drinking taking place,” the person wrote in response to the hotel’s tweet.
Ormsby said the dogs aren’t brought to that event while there is alcohol being served. However, pets on leashes are allowed at the summer series on the plaza, according to The Patios website.
On Facebook, fans also expressed dismay about the cancellation.
“This is the most ridiculous thing I have heard,” one person said. Yappier “Hour is a light hearted outdoor experience bringing our neighborhood together for fun and connection! Isn’t good connection what we are all aching for.”
But the tune changed after the Inspectional Services Department met with the hotel Tuesday to help it receive the necessary approvals moving forward.
“So glad for you that it is back on!!,” one person wrote. “This was so much fun.”
The Liberty Hotel is delighted and most grateful to the Mayor, Commissioner and ISD Boston for working with us to find a solution to allow Yappier Hour to continue while keeping aligned with the health ordinance. pic.twitter.com/eAownbInQp— The Liberty Hotel (@LibertyHotel) April 30, 2019
Steve Annear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.