BYOB in MA
- Tir_na_nOg May 11, 2008 11:15 AM
Can someone explain the BYOB laws in MA for me? I gather you can't BYOB and pay a corkage fee if the place has a liquor license. What if it doesn't? I can remember being at get togethers at Chinese and sushi places where someone brought their own, but I wasn't sure if it was legal.
Any good places that qualify (decent food that might go with wine)?
My cellar is over-flowing and I need more excuses to drink some!
Based on some quick research, and notwithstanding posts on this board suggesting otherwise, Massachusetts law appears not to regulate the ability of a restaurant or other estabishment to permit patrons to BYOB, although specific cities and towns may have adopted local ordinances regulating it.
Here, for example, is a recent article about an establishment in Lunenberg that wants to permit it:
My response may not be entirely accurate. The following is from the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission:
"Can anyone bring their own beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverages into an establishment (so-called "BYOB")?
"Not if the establishment has a liquor license. If the establishment has a liquor license, then no one can carry onto the premises their own beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverages for their own private consumption (so-called "BYOB" or "brown-bagging").
"If the establishment does not have a liquor license, then one must check with the city/town in which the establishment is located to learn if there is any local law dealing with bringing one's own beer onto an establishment for personal consumption."
For Italian, there's Alia and DiParma's in Winthrop, for Seafood Causeway in Gloucester to name a few.
There are places with a liquor license that allow BYOB, though they might not advertise it. You would have to call them and ask whether you can do so. For example, Ruth Chris's Steak house in Boston allows BYOB with a $25 corkage fee. It is not mentioned on their website but I called them and they told me about their policy.
As indicated in one of my posts above, the Mass ABC takes the position that an establishment with a liquor license cannot permit BYOB. It's pretty clear, however, that this is a vaguely regulated area of the law, so I suspect the Mass ABC naturally takes the most puritanical position (as they're wont to do).