A local cafe is hoping to bring some light, and customers, into the Coolidge Corner Arcade building.
MJ Ready International Bistro was approved not only for one of the town's few remaining liquor licenses, but for an extra 12 seats and an entertainment license allowing for taped music and TV.
When considering liquor licenses, the Board looks for ways it will serve the common good or public need. Selectman Dick Benka expressed concerns, saying that the application has demonstrated neither.
Owner James Brown explained his vision of the cafe with a liquor license will revitalize and "bring more light into Arcade Building."
Brown said that other shopowners told him, "[The Coolidge Corner Arcade] was bustling with activity. Since being there, it has been kind of dead. We would like to see more people doing business in there."
He added that some customers have asked him about bringing alcohol to the restaurant. Because he does not have liquor liability insurance, he has declined those requests. With a license, he would get that insurance.
This convinced Selectman Benka, and Selectman Ken Goldstein, who had not yet had a chance to voice his concern.
"You’ve convinced me. The Arcade Building is something of a landmark; something of a treasure. Doing something to increase the vitality of the Arcade is in public good, Selectman Goldstein said. "By those standards, does serve the public good."
Also with the license, MJ Ready had applied for additional seating, expanding from 5 seats inside to 11 seats inside, and 6 seats in the Arcade courtyard. The Selectmen reminded Brown that liquor regulations require a barrier for outside seating to define where liquor is and is not permitted.
The license was granted on the condition that the hearing had been properly noticed publicly. Some of the terms of the application had changed since that hearing, some of these changes in response to feedback from the Selectmen. The Board was not clear whether these changes would require a second public notice, or if the initial notice was sufficient.
No opponents to the license came forward at Tuesday's meeting, nor did any come forward at the initial hearing.
MJ Ready's license continuance was the cause of some confusion earlier in the year, when KooKoo Cafe and Taberna de Haro applied for the town's few remaining liquor licenses. Those licenses were granted pending clarification that the town had licenses to give.
Brookline may have given out its final liquor license.