NABB License and Building Use Committee Hears Application for Harvard Club Permanent Patio

Representatives for the Harvard Club outlined their proposal to create a permanent patio on the private front lawn of its 374 Commonwealth Ave. location during the Aug. 2 meeting of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay License and Building Use Committee, which was held virtually.

The proposed patio would consist of two sections, each measuring  20-by-40-feet on either side of the walkway to the building’s main entrance, said Nancy Sadecki, a project architect with Meyer and Meyer Architects, while offering seating for 40 patrons.

Plantings and “lush greenery” designed by Newton landscape architectural firm, Pressley and Associates, would be added to accentuate the building’s historic façade, said Sadecki, while the patio would comprise stone pavers. Swing gates, which would swing inwards, would also be installed in the wrought-iron fence, “flanking the entrance” and providing access to both sides of the patio, she added, and spindles and other details of the fence would be matched exactly whenever possible.

The patio would also be set 6 inches above the sidewalk, said Sadecki, so an ADA-accessible ramp would be built to provide access to it.

Patio furniture, along with the portable heaters, would be stored inside the Harvard Club during the winter, said Sadecki, and there are no plans to provide patio service when it’s snowing or during otherwise inclement weather.

Like the Harvard Club’s existing dining room and lounge, admission to the patio would be limited to its members and guests, as well as those staying overnight in one of the guestrooms, said Stephen Miller, an attorney for the applicant.

The patio is expected to be open from April 1 through November “at the latest,” said Miller, and its proposed hours of operation would likely “mirror” Deuxave at 371 Commonwealth Ave., which currently go to 9 p.m. on Sunday and Tuesday through Friday and to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.

“Now, guests have to be at their tables by 9, so you figure it takes them 90 minutes tops, which takes it to 10:30 p.m.,” said Miller, who added that alcohol wouldn’t be served without food on the patio, “and we get very few reservations for 9 p.m.; it’s a much earlier crowd.”

Seven tables that the Harvard Club currently has set up on the sidewalk would be eliminated, he said, if the patio proposal comes to pass.

NABB Chair, Elliott Laffer, expressed some concern put a restaurant use in an “insulated corner” of an otherwise residential neighborhood.

Miller said that the applicant has yet to file with the city’s Licensing Board for this proposal, which would then go before the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, in anticipation of opening next spring.

In another matter, Gene Richard, an attorney for Ramsay’s Kitchen, the restaurant that celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, intends to open in the former Bar Boulud space in the Mandarin Hotel, returned to the commission to provide more information on the proposed patio.

In response to feedback from last meeting, the patio’s proposed capacity has been reduced from 42 to 26, with two patrons each at 13 tables, said Richard, while the patio would have the same footprint and dimensions as the one for Bar Boulud.

A railing, along with trees at the curbs and patio enclosures, he said, would surround the perimeter of the patio.

The patio would be open from April 1 to November, said Richard, and close at 10 p.m. in accordance with a recommendation from Laffer, who suggested that would be an appropriate time for the patio, given its close proximity to nearby residences.

The LBU Committee also heard from Romel Sanday, a certified personal trainer, who is proposing to open a fitness center at 247 Newbury St in the retail space formerly occupied by an iFixYouri, an iPhone repair shop.

The proposed hours of operation for the business are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., said Sanday, and most of his clients are expected to live in or work in Back Bay.

In another matter, Trish Farnsworth, the attorney for Krasi, a Greek restaurant at 48 Gloucester St., which currently has a beer-and-wine license, said the establishment is now seeking an all-alcohol license to serve a “small selection of Greek-inspired cocktails.”

The liquor license would be transferred from the now-shuttered Lincoln Bar and Grill in Brighton, said Farnsworth, and the applicant is seeking a 1 a.m. liquor license, which would allow them to serve patrons up until midnight or 12:15 a.m., while the kitchen now closes at 11 p.m.

“We have 14 seats at bar and 12 tables in the restaurant,” she said, “so we’re not looking for volume of any sort.”

LBU Chair, Conrad Armstrong, requested that the restaurant close its windows by 10:30 p.m., which would likely be included as a proviso for the applicant’s liquor license.

The LBU Committee also heard applications for 191 Commonwealth Ave. to legalize five-dwelling basement units, which have been there since the building was a hotel and now serve as staff apartments, as well as for Lobstah on a Roll at 254 Newbury St. to transfer the name of manager on the restaurant’s existing beer-and-wine license (which was determined to be beyond the purview of the committee).

Armstrong told the applicants that he would inform them of the LBU Committee’s determinations like by Friday, Aug. 13.

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