The re-birth of the historic Jacob Wirth German restaurant on Stuart Street might coincide with end of the historic Marliave French and Italian restaurant at Bosworth and Province streets.
At a Boston Licensing Board hearing today, Julius Sokol's attorney said his client hopes to re-open Jacob Wirth with "no changes" from what it used to be before it shut in 2018, by buying the liquor license from the long shuttered Daisy Buchanan's on Newbury Street.
Also today, the lawyer for a long-time Back Bay restaurant landlord said his client wants to buy the liquor license from the equally historic Marliave, which shut due to Covid-19 last year, to re-open a bar and restaurant at the former location of Lir on Boylston Street, which also closed due to Covid-19.
The board will likely take no action on the proposed Jacob Wirth license transfer until at least November, when Sokol has the last of his required meetings with neighborhood groups in Chinatown and the "Midtown" area.
Sokol's attorney, Michael Ford, said Sokol would restore Jacob Wirth to the way it was before water damage from a fire forced it to close in 2018 - "the same thing with the beers and whatnot."
Ford said the public need for a liquor license at the Stuart Street site is proved by the former restaurant's history - which dates to 1868.
"We're trying bring back the character and fill back that name," he said. In 2019 and earlier this year, two other groups proposed new uses for the site, one as a sports bar, the other as a marijuana shop; both faded away.
Sokol is part of a City Realty-associated venture that has been buying up dives and other bars in the Boston area for the past three years.
In another hearing, Jon Aieta, attorney for longtime Back Bay landlord Charles Talanian, said his client wants to buy the liquor license for Marliave and then hire an operator to re-open the former Lir space - part of a row of Boylston Street bars that closed in quick succession in the spring of 2020 due to Covid-19.
Aieta said Talanian really wants to re-open the space, but has been unable to find a potential client willing to pay the high cost of acquiring a liquor license on their own - in a city where he said license prices have rebounded since last year and are now more expensive than ever - close to $500,000. Instead, Talanian would invest in the license purchase and then hire a bar/restaurant operator to "manage" the Lir space under that license.
Aieta said Talanian would not be making or allowing any major changes in the space. As with Jacob Wirth, he said the public need is proved by its history - 40 years with a liquor license, most recently as Lir and, before that, a Chinese restaurant.
Also like Jacob Wirth, Marliave has a long history - it first opened in 1885, when French immigrant Henry Marliave opened a restaurant on Bosworth Street.
Although Talanian has met with the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay, the licensing board will likely defer action on its license transfer as well, because the association has yet to vote on the proposal.