License Commission Allows Late Hours for New Year’s Eve

Anyone who wants to party late, but keep it local, will have that chance once again this New Year’s Eve.

At the last meeting of 2019, the Licensing Commission unanimously approved allowing bars and restaurants to stay open until 2 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, if they so choose. The majority of licensed liquor establishments in the City have either midnight or 1 a.m. closings the rest of the year.

Chelsea Police Captain Keith Houghton said the City has typically allowed for 2 a.m. closings to ring in the new year, but noted that the police department is dead set against allowing later closings on Christmas or Christmas Eve.

“That’s a totally different type of holiday,” he said.

Houghton added that typically, some restaurants and bars choose to take advantage of the later hours, while some stick to their regular schedules.

•In other business, the Commission approved a measure allowing local businesses and non-profits to apply for one-day liquor licenses with extended hours so they can hold holiday parties in the city.

“A lot of people are holding holiday parties in Chelsea now,” said City Solicitor Cheryl Watson Fisher.

•The Commission also approved extended hours for Populus Tapas & Bar at 11 Everett Ave.

The restaurant was open from 4 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday and 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday through Sunday.

The Commission approved extending the closing time to 1 a.m. on all nights, as well as a noon-time opening on the weekends, allowing for brunch and lunch service.

Restaurant owner Antonio Lama said the later closing during the week is necessary to compete with other area establishments that are also open until 1 a.m.

“If we are closing at midnight, customers would rather go someplace else that is open until 1 a.m.,” Lama said.

Lama said his restaurant serves food until one hour before closing.

Commission member Gladys Vega said she took in the late food service and the general atmosphere of the establishment in voting to approve the request.

•As this was the last scheduled meeting of the year, the Commission also approved 2020 liquor license, common victualer, entertainment, auto, and rooming house licenses with little muss or fuss.

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