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Encore Boston Harbor Wants to Serve Alcohol Until 4 a.m.

Now here's something we can get behind.


encore boston harbor

Photo via AP/Steven Senne

Much like its affinity for chowder, luxury condo skyscrapers, and double-doubles, Boston is well-known for its stranglehold on all things alcohol. But the Encore Boston Harbor has a plan to get around the state’s notoriously un-fun liquor laws: It wants to pour booze until 4 a.m.

In a document filed ahead of a Monday meeting, the resort casino in Everett made public its plans to get special permission to serve alcohol into the wee hours of the morning, “specifically on the casino floor and only to patrons actively engaged in gambling.” State law usually requires barkeeps to stop serving at 2 a.m., but 2017 legislation allowed an exemption at casinos.

The plan is sure to be met with some opposition,  because the ghosts of the Puritans still haunt this town. There is some precedent, though. The MGM in Springfield, which opened last summer, was also given permission to keep serving until 4 a.m.

Voters will have two weeks to weigh in on the proposal. You can register your complaints by emailing [email protected], but please don’t.

Encore last month was given the green light to open by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which decided against revoking the license granted to Wynn Resorts over its handling of sexual misconduct allegations against former owner Steve Wynn. Instead, the commission ordered it pay hefty fines. It’s slated to begin operations on June 23.

Meanwhile, Boston drinkers have some other threats to keep tabs on, like the looming war over our suddenly plentiful beer gardens.

Who knows, maybe the casino can serve as a trial run. If all goes well at Encore, maybe Boston will soon see clear to letting all bars stay open later, and maybe relaxing the its frustrating stance on happy hour, or finally getting its act together on reforming the outrageously expensive liquor license market. Although, to be honest, I wouldn’t bet on it.