It’s not a secret that Boston’s much-maligned liquor license cap — which, in turn, makes existing licenses prohibitively expensive to acquire — has largely stopped all but the richest operators from being able to sell cocktails within city limits. But it is still shocking to hear how bad the situation has gotten. The Boston Globe reports that View Boston — the shiny new observatory with a restaurant and bar that is taking over the former home of sky-high fine dining restaurant Top of the Hub — paid an exorbitant $600,000 for its full-bar liquor license, one of the most expensive license price tags to date.
It’s also not a secret that these staggering prices impact Boston’s restaurant scene in numerous negative ways, including driving young talent away and blocking many smaller, independent restaurateurs from opening in the city. A few weeks ago, the owner of a buzzy Boston-area pop-up who is currently searching for a permanent spot said that he's not considering opening in Boston because he wants a full bar and wouldn’t be able to afford a liquor license. Other restaurant owners, including Daniel Roughan of Harvard Square pizzeria Source, told the Globe similar stories about how they’ve foregone Boston locations because obtaining a liquor license was too expensive.
Two industry talents join forces for a forthcoming French bakery
Award-winning chef Monica Glass is partnering with Ken Oringer (who, along with chef and business partner Jamie Bissonnette, runs Faccia a Faccia and Toro, among others) to open Verveine Cafe & Bakery this fall in Cambridge, at 298 Massachusetts Avenue. Glass worked with Oringer at former fine-dining mainstay Clio a decade ago and has since completed stints at decorated NYC spots including three-Michelin-starred Le Bernardin and the historic Gotham Bar & Grill. Glass is leading the menu at Verveine, according to a rep. Customers can expect strawberry chamomile doughnuts, fudgy ube brownies, kimchi egg cheddar danishes, and more.
A Zaz-run cocktail bar is coming to the Seaport
Owner Olrie Roberts’ Caribbean Asian fusion empire Zaz — which includes locations in Hyde Park, City Hall Plaza, and an Afro-Caribbean festival — is about to get a bit larger. Boston Restaurant Talk reports that the restaurateur is planning to open a cocktail bar, ZaZiBar, in the Seaport. No word yet on an opening date.
An industry speaker series spotlights LGBTQ chefs and restaurateurs tonight
Pull up a seat at tropical bar Shore Leave in the South End tonight, from 4 to 7 p.m., for a panel discussion with local LGBTQ leaders in the industry including James Beard award-winning chef Karen Akunowicz of Fox and the Knife and Bar Volpe, and Alcove owner Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli. Each $45 ticket includes drinks and snacks served during the event.
...and after that, mark your calendars for these July events
Pagu’s Roundtable series is back next month in a new, summery format — a blowout patio party in collaboration with food influencer and community builder Everybody Gotta Eat. Tickets are $35 apiece and include plates of barbecue, and proceeds from ticket sales will go to support the Roundtable Culinary Pilot Program at Cambridge’s Moses Youth Center.
After the barbecue, pull on your rollerskates: Shy Bird is hosting a Barbie Blowout Party at their new-ish South Boston location on Sunday, July 23, at 3 p.m., days after the new Barbie movie is unleashed on the world. Each $58 ticket includes two drinks, food from Shy Bird’s special Barbie-themed menu, and a swag bag. Oh, and there’s a costume competition (!).