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Boston liquor regulations trump Russian cultural norms

An Allston nightclub that has a heavy concentration of Russian-speaking customers found itself before the Boston Licensing Board for the second time in a few months because servers were leaving carafes filled with liquor - tequila and whiskey - on tables for customers to just pour by themselves.

"It's a little bit of a cultural thing with Russians," Crystal attorney Curt Bletzer told the Boston Licensing Board, this morning. But it runs afoul of Boston table-service regulations, which requires un-served alcohol to be under the control of a server at all times - and the server is supposed to carefully measure out individual drinks to customers at their table.

Bletzer and a club manager acknowledged servers made the mistake on March 10, about which they should have known since the club promised not to do it again after a similar hearing a few months earlier. Board Chairwoman Kathleen Joyce spotted the violations first-hand - she had gone along with BPD licensing detectives on a routine inspection of the club, owned by the Russian Benevolent Society in a large industrial building owned by a company that plans to tear the whole thing down and replace it with residential units.

Bletzer and the manager said that employees were re-trained to emphasize to employees that Boston licensing regulations take precedence over Russian drinking norms. Just as important, Bletzer said, the nightclub has thrown out all its carafes, to reduce the chances that servers would fall into bad habits again and dump liquor into vessels left on tables.

The board decides Thursday whether the incident warrants any punishment.

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Comments

This place was a bad idea when it opened, and this is hardly the first (or fifth) incident if memory serves. How do they even still have a license?

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Voting closed 19

Answer: Ask the owner of the former Mary Ann's to know how they could still be in business since the 1960s and serve minors repeatedly and still have a license.

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Get over yourself already.

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Why is going out in Boston so Orwellian? Maybe allow business owners the freedom to cater to their customers. Some of us like to pour our own liquor, smoke and stay out after 2.

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so just hundreds of people getting sloshed and driving home? that’s certainly better.

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Am I the only one here that thinks the Liquor Board is the one in the wrong?

Servers should be *required* to leave carafes filled with liquor on tables for customers to just pour by themselves.

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Isn't a caraffe of spirits technically served to the table? How does this make sense?

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But it is the law in Massachusetts (not just Boston) and the managers of restaurants/clubs that get licenses to offer bottle service have to swear that they have read and understand and agree to comply with all the laws and regulations regarding the sale and service of alcohol in the Commonwealth and the city of Boston (the "so help me God" is implied).

The answer, if you disagree, is to work to elect candidates willing to get the regulation rescinded - just like if you disagree with the statewide ban on happy hours.

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Those carafes will NOT pour themselves after all. Somebody's got to do it.

Beer and sangria are fine in pitchers?

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Voting closed 5