BHCA Zoning and Licensing Committee Votes not to Oppose Transfer of Liquor License to Parish Café Proprietor

August 9, 2011
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The Beacon Hill Civic Association (BHCA) Zoning and Licensing Committee voted Wednesday not to oppose the transfer of the liquor license presently held by Shangri-La at 183 Cambridge St. to a new pub-style restaurant proposed for the site on the condition that the owner enter into a “good neighbor” agreement.

  Gordon F. Wilcox, who owns the Back Bay’s Parish Café and the Rattlesnake Bar and Grill, among other establishments in Boston and Cambridge, has entered into a 15-year lease and plans to open The Tip Tap Room at the location of the now-shuttered Shangri-La. The proposed hours of operation of the new establishment are 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.

 Under the direction of Executive Chef Brian Poe, the Tip Tap Room’s menu would feature variations on traditional steak tips, including Maine shrimp and lobster tips in drawn butter; pork belly and pork loin tips; and a rotating selection of elk, antelope, ostrich and other game tips.

Wilcox assured the roughly 20 local residents in attendance that the “chef-driven” establishment would emphasize food over alcohol.

 “Our feeling is that bars don’t last, restaurants last,” Wilcox said. “It’s really going to be about the food.”

  Wilcox added, “We’re not gearing any of our business towards students. “We don’t want that business.”

Jim Burns, the attorney representing Wilcox, said a staff person would be posted at the door to discourage crowds from gathering outside the restaurant.

 Also, Burns said the restaurateur intends to spend in excess of $800,000 to thoroughly rehabilitate the restaurant.

 Planned renovations to the façade include the additions of a warm grey stucco finish over the existing bricks, more wood elements and redesigned windows to allow for more natural light, said David Rubino of Newton-based Huth Architect

 In response to concerns from abutters on Ridgeway Lane, Rubino said it would be feasible to move an exhaust outlet on the roof away from the rear of the building to mitigate the noise impact

Rubino also said the restaurant’s interior design would take steps to reduce noise. “We always try to reduce airborne noise in restaurants,” he said. “One of the goals we try to achieve is a comfortable level of sound.”

 Meanwhile, John Forger of Boston-based Old Forge Realty said Wilcox was among the most desirable potential tenants who expressed interest in the space.

 “We were pursued very actively by the nightclub guys,” Forger said. “We’ve gone to great lengths to make sure we have the proper players.”

Burns said the City’s Licensing Board is scheduled to review the transfer request on Aug. 17.

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