Last year, the owner of The Quiet Few on Sumner Street, Josh Weinstein, emerged as one of the most vocal proponents of the state legislature’s ‘to-go cocktail’ bill. During the height of the pandemic, Weinstein became frustrated by the fact the liquor store across from his business was booming but expensive liquor inventory was collecting dust on his shelves. Weinstein was forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and later reopened with limited capacity and outdoor seating but couldn’t sell any liquor at a profitable volume.
Luckily, the state legislature provided relief with the cocktail-to-go bill but that was set to expire this month after Gov. Charlie Baker lifted the state emergency order that was given back in March 2020.
In May, Rep. Adrian Madaro said restaurants and small businesses in Eastie and across the city need the tools to achieve financial recovery from the pandemic.
“Supporting the local restaurant industry’s successful recovery is extremely important, as it was among the hardest hit by economic challenges associated with the state of emergency caused by the pandemic,” he said.
Rep. Madaro and the state legislature took the necessary steps to extend the outdoor dining and cocktails-to-go bill that was signed by Gov. Charlie Baker last week.
“These options allow restaurants to serve patrons who prefer dining outdoors while making the streetscape in neighborhoods like Eastie more vibrant,” said Madaro.
During the height of the pandemic local restaurant and bar owners, like Weinstein, lobbied the state legislature for permission to start moving inventory of expensive liquor that had been sitting on shelves since the pandemic began.
The result was the cocktail-to-go bill that was tied to outdoor dining programs across the city and state.
The bill let bars and restaurants sell to-go cocktails with takeout only or delivery food orders. Customers of bars and restaurants in Eastie will be able to continue to order two cocktails per entree. However, the total volume of liquor being sold can not exceed 64 ounces.
All cocktails must be sold in a sealed container, and the volume of alcohol-to-mixer must be the same as for on-premises consumption.
Numerous Eastie restaurants took advantage of the cocktail-to-go and the City of Boston’s outdoor dining program.
Restaurants that dot the neighborhood received a special permit from the city that allowed them to set up outdoor patios on roadways and sidewalks throughout the neighborhood. That coupled with the cocktail-to-go legislation helped restaurants increase capacity, move inventory and increase profits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over at The Quiet Few, Weinstein said he was humbled to be where he is right now–back serving whiskey and burgers and picklebacks and waffle fries but is trying to give back to businesses that haven’t been so lucky.
“While we do want to celebrate, there are a ton of businesses that we’re not as lucky,” he said. “We are all trying to put the pieces back together and we’d like to do our part to help out.”
On Monday, June 28, from 6 – 9pm The Quiet Few will be hosting a get together with Cocktails For Commonwealth .
“We will be selling T-shirts, along with select shots and cocktails with the proceeds being donated to the Thirst.Group to help more bars and restaurants get back on their feet,” said Weinstein.
“There are not enough thank yous to give but we are going to try by way of hugs and high fives,” he said.