Newbury Street clothing stores are increasingly asking for one-day liquor licenses for special events; council wonders if they should hem them back

An incident during the marathon at a Newbury Street store specializing in running shoes and clothing prompted the Boston Licensing Board to rethink the growing number of one-day liquor licenses it was granting to clothing stores on along Tony’s shopping district.

Tracksmith, 285 Newbury St., had applied for and received a one-day license to serve beer to patrons for this year’s marathon. It’s the kind of event they’ve licensed at least 30 times since 2013, without any issues, its attorney, Kristen Scanlon, told the board at a hearing this morning.

But this time around 2:26 p.m. on October 11, BPD licensing sleuth Eddie Hernandez told the board he was patrolling Newbury when he spotted several people holding cans of beer outside the store. in the street. Unlike other parts of the country, it’s illegal in Boston, so he went inside and found owner Matt Taylor, who he said quickly brought people in. interior and asked staff to clean up the voids.

During the hearing, Taylor said that there was actually only one person – one of Boston’s “eminent cancer doctors” – who apparently spotted another cop he knew and walked out. to chat with him. The other people Hernandez saw, he said, could be his customers sitting or standing on the store’s front steps or patio – so in his authorized space – or other people wandering unrelated to the store one day. where family members sometimes open up. beers for runners who have finished the race.

Board chair Kathleen Joyce said, however, that the last thing Boston officers need on a busy day like the marathon is to keep the herd of drinking people out on the streets, and said the board will have to reconsider the number of one-day licenses it issues. to the clothiers of Newbury Street.

“The number of inquiries we receive is of great concern to the board of directors” from places that are outside of the bar industry and that may not be as familiar with state and city regulations as they are when it comes to alcohol service, she said. “These weekends are straining police resources throughout the city.”

Referring specifically to the Tracksmith incident, she continued, “from the point of view of the board, this is very very serious.… Eminent doctor or not, how did the person leave with a beer?”

Joyce added that when she reviewed the store’s one-day license application, she believed it was limited to the interior of the store, and not to exterior areas, such as its steps or patio.

Taylor said in the future he would add staff at the door to make sure no one tries to leave with a beer in hand – even to speak to a cop they know – and that he would have signs warning customers not to go beyond these points. with a beer in hand.

The board could decide at a meeting on Thursday whether Tracksmith warrants any sanction.

Scanlon asked the board to note that the store had never been cited before and that even with the Marathon quote, “there were no unruly parties. No reports of public intoxication, noise, disturbance or particularly egregious behavior “.

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Anne G. Cash