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Feb 23, 2011 02:26 PM


I do not know whether it is legal to bring your own bottle; does anyone know what the laws are?

Are there places where you can legally BYOB? I certainly do not want anyone posting about a place that does it illegally.

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  1. As long as they DON'T have a liquor license, and the town has no additional restrictions, it is legal according to state laws:

    6 Replies
      1. re: emannths

        different cities and towns have different laws, that supersede the state law. it is illegal in boston with or without the place having a liquor license.

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          The ABC told me no place with an on-premise license can legally allow BYO in MA. Town law supercedes that or does it just work the opposite way (that they can refuse BYO regardless of licensing?).

          1. re: invinotheresverde

            Oops, didn't realize my link doesn't point right to the explanation. Here it is from the ABC:

            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.


            So the answer is that if a place holds a license to sell on-premises, BYOB is not allowed, and local laws cannot change this.

            1. re: emannths

              That's exactly what I thought. Thanks. ;)

              1. re: emannths

                certain towns allow byob for places that do not have a license. lowell allows this, for example, however, boston does not.

        2. Alia in Winthrop does BYOB. Just grab a bottle of wine from the store around the corner. Also, the food is quite good and Said and his wife will make you feel at home.

          1. Sweet Basil Needham is byob and a great restaurant as well.

            Sweet Basil
            942 Great Plain Ave, Needham, MA 02492

            1 Reply
            1. re: bluerib

              Yes, that's a great spot for BYOB.

            2. Brookline town minutes suggest that while there is no written regulation prohibiting BYOB, it is considered illegal. That's Brookline for ya.

              8 Replies
              1. re: Bob Dobalina

                it might be nice to have a list of restaurants - in cities where it is legal - that allow BYOB.

                by the way, what about Boston? I know that it is not legal in Cambridge.

                  1. re: Allstonian

                    I believe that it is legal in Somerville, or at least that is where I have gone to restaurants that allow it. But I'm not naming names until I know for sure.

                    1. re: hckybg

                      Unfortunately, it's illegal in Somerville. See section 2.02 (pdf):


                      "Patrons are not permitted to bring alcoholic beverages on the premises for
                      their own consumption."

                      Of course, it doesn't talk about who is in violation here--most of the alcohol-related stuff in the rules explicitly mentions when it is and is not the responsibility of the licensee to enforce the rule. Though generally the licensee is responsible for ensuring that "illegal activities do not occur at the licensed premises."

                      1. re: emannths

                        so i guess that if i brought a bottle in for you; that would be just fine.

                        1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                          Hmmm...let's just say some of the tastier establishments on upper Beacon Street allow it. Thanks for posting the link, that seems to be the official word.

                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                  I actually asked the Brookline town counsel that question a while back, and got this reply: "It is my understanding that the Town does not allow this."

                  Which sounds pretty vague, kind of like she didn't bother to actually check.

                  Of course, there is at least one Brookline restaurant that does allow it, and has for years, quite openly, seemingly without any problems. Without naming names, it's one of the (relatively) inexpensive Thai places that typically gets very high ratings on the board here.

                  1. re: BobB

                    If someone wants to go through the legwork, here's the Brookline Licensing Board's info, with a contact at the bottom.

                    If Somerville is any guide, the way no-BYOB is enforced is by making it a condition for holding a common victualer's license--so ask to see the details on that license.

                2. Either i'm getting old or I've drunk too much wine but there is a tiny family run Italian place in Swampscott that lets you BYOB, could someone refresh my memory as to the name?
                  I've eaten there and could find it but the name escapes me

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: bluesjack

                    Probably Caffe Paolina, which I believe does allow BYOB.