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As one historic restaurant might be on verge of re-opening, another might be closing forever

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.

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Comments

This sucks! Marliave is/was my favorite restaurant in town. Always my go-to place to bring out-of-towners.

I suspected this might be happening when I reached out earlier in the year wondering when they might be re-opening. No response on any channel... phone/email/facebook/etc.

Womp womp.

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Voting closed 37

What other historic restaurants or hidden gems should I go to while I have the chance?

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Check out Carlo's in Allston. Rivals any spot in the north end, and is 1/4 of the price. Only downside is that it is in Allston.

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i loved Marliave until they changed their menu / renovated. that must've been 10-12 years ago now? was such a great hole in the wall to that point. I remember bringing dates there in college , back when DTX was sketchier than it is now, and them being freaked out until we got to the restaurant and they understood why I brought them there. (See also: Silvertone, just up the street)

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Amazing news that both Jacob Wirth & Lir might soon reopen as (hopefully) the same places they were!!

Please, Boston beer gods: let Pour House be next!

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WE ARE WORKING ON RE OPENING THE POUR HOUSE AGAIN ALSO !!!

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Pour House of more interest than Lir... Missing those burgers ;-)

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… till I read this, “Sokol is part of a City Realty-associated venture…” Now I’m not so sure.

It will be sad day in Boston if Marliave closes permanently.

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When I first visited London in the 80's, most pubs were locally owned or part of a small group. Over the years there has been a huge degree of consolidation to the point where one pub is just like the next one, because they (mostly) all have the same owners. (Same beers, same flowers out front even.) That seems like what is happening with this Sokol group buying up everything in Boston. Sucks.....

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It’s the City Realty connection more than Sokol that worries me. But both are suspect.

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Government-created artificial scarcity of liquor licenses that can be bought and sold… a bad policy idea from the beginning, and a gift that just keeps on giving.

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