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  • 🤔🕺 Is THIS why Boston nightlife blows?

🤔🕺 Is THIS why Boston nightlife blows?

Plus: 🎸 Boston Calling crowds

It’s Thursday, Boston.

🫰Need a little more K-Pop in your life? You can get it in spades at the MFA’s K-Pop night tomorrow as a part of their Hallyu! The Korean Wave exhibition. And with code HALLYU7KP, you can get a pretty solid discount. You’re welcome. <3

👀 What’s on tap today:

  • Boston Calling was giving … sardines

  • Mayor Wu’s (official) competition

  • The pinnacle of professionalism

Up first…


Boston’s nightlife scene is high and dry

Images: Erin Clark/The Boston Globe. Illustration: Gia Orsino.

It’s no secret that Boston’s nightlife scene has a … reputation. The T closes early. Most bars ring for last call at 2 a.m. Drinks can be expensive and, in some places, hard to find. But some lawmakers are on a mission to fix those problems by adding more liquor licenses to the city.  

The Boston Globe is looking into how and why the Boston liquor license system is broken in a new series, titled High & Dry. 

Here’s what to know:

🍾 Boston’s liquor license problem isn’t normal. Most cities across the country don’t limit the number of permits to serve alcohol they can issue to bars and restaurants. But a longstanding, “puritanical” Massachusetts policy caps the licenses in Boston at around 1,200. Now supply is so low that one liquor license can cost as much as $600,000. The high price tag means that most permits are in richer neighborhoods (*cough* the Seaport).

🙌 Could change be on the horizon? Maybe. A bill at the State House wants to add 205 discounted licenses to 10 ZIP codes across Boston, including East Boston, Roxbury, and Mattapan. Brian Worell, the city councilor who introduced the idea, hopes the legislation will help more business owners of color, and the neighborhoods they call home. It “is an undeniable opportunity,” he said, “to grow the cultural scene … and attract tourism dollars like never before.”

🫠 That said, we’ve tried this before, and the results were mixed. Ten years ago, lawmakers added 70 discounted licenses to Boston with the same vision. Some of the permits went to places like Dorchester or Hyde Park. But the Globe found that most of the permits worth real money ended up in the Seaport, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and the North End in the hands of the white, wealthy, and well-connected. Mattapan didn’t receive a single license from the batch. 

🍹 It’s not just about alcohol either. When liquor licenses are expensive, fewer independent restaurants are able to open in Boston. Those that do have to raise menu prices, skimp on ingredients, or pay employees less to make the math work. The food scene here becomes less exciting. And we lose talent. Tons of award-winning chefs have already left Boston altogether for cities where a liquor license is far cheaper. For example, Chompon Boonnak opened Mahaniyom in Brookline — not Boston — because the license there only costs about $4,000 each year. 

👀 Want more? You can read the rest of the series here.

— Written by Diti Kohli 


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Quick & dirty headlines

Image: Ben Stas for The Boston Globe

🎸 Sunday’s Boston Calling crowds were not it. The festival addressed the onslaught of complaints about dangerous conditions and scary-big crowds (see: this video of Chappell Roan’s set). Although according to the statement, the attendee count was “several thousand” below the site’s capacity, the schedule was such that most festival-goers were packed like sardines into only a small portion of the area for most of the day, leading to accounts of pretty scary crowd conditions. Organizers said they’re committed to improving the experience and festival layout in the future. 

🏚️ Some shelters for homeless families are in tough shape. State inspectors have routinely failed to perform basic health and safety inspections on the vast majority of hotel rooms that house homeless families, including migrants, according to the Globe. While state officials claim that the lapse was due to the time crunch and lack of options the state faces with housing in the migrant crisis, many of the rooms that were inspected were found to have major problems like mold, rodents, roaches, and more. Some were so bad they required immediate vacation. 

🍝 Mayor Wu has some official competition. North End restaurateur Jorge Mendoza Iturralde told the Globe he intends to run for Boston Mayor in 2025. And while it’s no secret that North End restaurateurs aren’t huge fans of Wu’s dining policies, Mendoza Iturralde said he also disagrees with her stances on traffic, affordability, and crime. This is the latest in a series of tidbits about next year’s mayoral race including speculation about Josh Kraft’s candidacy (yes, that Kraft) and some business owners hopping on the anti-Wu train

🏒 It’s a rough time to be a Boston hockey fan. First the B’s. Now this. Boston’s professional women’s hockey team missed taking home the PWHL’s first-ever Walter Cup this season, getting shut out in last night’s winner-take-all game against Minnesota 3-0. And although losing after coming so close to victory hurts, that doesn’t take away the grit that got us here, including coming into the postseason as underdogs, coming up from behind in this series, and almost losing it all in Game 4. Now all there’s left to do is countdown the days until the NBA Finals and pray for Boston’s redemption.


👀 Were you at Boston Calling on Sunday? What did you think of the crowds? 

Let us know below!

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The pinnacle of professionalism

Illustration: Gia Orsino.

One local news anchor is going viral for the most unhinged reason. During an otherwise regular broadcast, in the span of a few seconds, local anchor Vanessa Welch had what appeared to be either a fly or an eyelash land on her eye, and then fall into her mouth live on air.

Now, a more squeamish journalist (like myself, admittedly) might have stopped speaking, freaked out, spit it out, or worse, but not Welch. Without missing a beat, Welch simply swallowed the fly and continued broadcasting. Seriously, watch this video to see for yourself.

The internet can’t get over her professionalism, with the video racking up hundreds of thousands of views. And TBH, neither can we. You go, girl.

— Written by Gia Orsino and Emily Schario

🪰 Thanks for reading! We’re hoping it was an eyelash though. For her sake.

💜 Special shoutout to today’s sponsor, the WIC Nutrition Program, for supporting local journalism and helping families in Massachusetts develop healthier habits. 

🫧 The results are in: 44% of B-Siders at least sometimes drink trendy probiotic sodas like Poppi or Olipop, while a whole 38% have never even tried them. One reader said: “I was obsessed before, but pics of Pedro Pascal drinking Poppi really cemented it.” Thank you for alerting us. 

💃 Keep up with us @BostonBSide on IG, TikTok, and Twitter. Send comments and suggestions to [email protected] or [email protected].