Tuesday, May 28, 2024


111714i-Felipe's-TaqueriaThere won’t be margaritas until 2 a.m. at Felipe’s Taqueria when it opens its stand-alone restaurant in Harvard Square – not even on weekends. At a special meeting today, the License Commission took back the liquor license it granted Oct. 30 to serve until 2 a.m. seven days a week.

During the hourlong hearing leading up to the Oct. 30 commission vote, there was no discussion among officials or public opposition to the alcohol or hours. The commission approved the license unanimously.

Blame for the three commissioners’ votes was accepted today by Kevin Crane, the lawyer representing Felipe’s and its parent company, Chazumba, which also owns Flat Patties in Harvard Square.

“I apologize for any of the confusion I might have caused. I take responsibility for that. My guard was down toward the end of the hearing,” Crane told the commission. “Part of the confusion was that the common victualler license had already been approved, and the hours of the [license] were 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. and usually we have a common victualler license and liquor license at the same time.” A simultaneous vote didn’t happen with Felipe’s because an alcohol license was still attached to its 21 Brattle St. address by the previous tenants, Bertucci’s pizzeria.

Owners’ will

In early November, Felipe’s co-owner Felipe Herrera confirmed that the request on the commission’s Oct. 30 agenda was what he wanted: to serve alcohol until 2 a.m. seven days a week. But he wasn’t at today’s hearing.

Instead, Crane said a corporate vote showed that Chazumba wanted to serve alcohol only until 1 a.m. seven days a week at Felipe’s, and the call of the meeting was to correct the hours “in accordance with [that] corporate vote.” The restaurant’s co-owner, Thomas Brush, said he was the sole partner in Chazumba, meaning a vote reflects his will.

Yet before the commission, his will didn’t seem clear. Brush asked about serving alcohol until 2 a.m. on weekends, as many other Cambridge restaurants do.

“I was under the impression too that Sunday through Wednesday was still 1 a.m. and Thursday, Friday, Saturday has the later hours, but it’s all – is it 1 a.m. every night?” Brush asked, according to an audio recording of the meeting.

“One every night,” Crane said. “Food would be until 2 a.m.”

“That’s what the corporate vote says,” commission chairwoman Andrea Spears Jackson reminded Brush.

Other requests

In the past, restaurants have asked to serve beer, wine and alcohol until 2 a.m. seven days a week and always been refused by the commission, including reminders such as for State Park in May 2013 (when it was still to be called SlawDog), when it was explained there would have to be a public hearing to create a 2 a.m., seven-days all-alcohol category for the city.

Basha, an Ethiopian restaurant at 26 New St., also wanted to serve alcohol until 2 a.m. seven days a week, but its hearing Wednesday didn’t get as far as a vote. Commissioners opted to continue the matter after saying the restaurant’s application was incomplete and hearing from several neighbors who were worried about late-night carousing at the restaurant.

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