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Tavern on the Water May Get New Owner

A local resident is seeking a liquor license transfer so he can renovate and reopen the waterfront restaurant in the Charlestown Navy Yard.

Tavern on the Water could reopen with a new name, a new owner and a new menu—as early as this summer but more likely not until the fall.

The once popular waterfront restaurant located on Pier 6 in the Charlestown Navy Yard has remained closed since November, with rumors circulating ever since about the fate of the building.

On Monday, the Charlestown Neighborhood Council’s Basic Services Committee met with a possible new tenant for the spot—Charles Larner, owner of Mija Cantina and Tequila Bar at Fanueil Hall—to discuss transferring Tavern on the Water’s liquor license from property owner Martin Oliner to Larner.

Larner is a resident of Charlestown, having lived in the Navy Yard for about 10 years.

At the meeting, Larner discussed his plans to renovate the building, once a liquor license is secured, and to reopen the restaurant as soon as possible with a tentative name of “Pier 6” and a menu featuring seafood and American cuisine, according to CNC vice chairman David Whelan, who presented a report at the council’s regular meeting on May 7.

At its peak, the restaurant could have seating for as many as 200 people, and Larner is considering doing outdoor grilling—a feature that would require considerable input from the neighbors, Whelan noted.

The permitting process will still take some time, Whelan said, with local and state agencies having to weigh in because of the restaurant’s location on the public waterway. Once permits are secured, Larner estimated it would take about six to eight weeks to complete renovations.

Whelan said Larner had hopes of completing the process before summer’s end but that it would likely be fall before the restaurant could reopen.

“We’re a long way from it happening,” Whelan said Tuesday night.

He called Larner “the most agreeable guy in the world” but said residents attending the Basic Services meeting did have some concerns about noise, trash, property maintenance, parking and other issues.

But the biggest concern was about Larner dealing with the property owner, Martin Oliner, who has received much criticism in Charlestown for how he has handled his properties on Pier 6 and Pier 8 in the Navy Yard. In December, the Boston Conservation Commission , $25,000 daily until he dealt with some of the issues on those properties.

Oliner, who lives on Long Island, NY, has reportedly appealed that decision, and the case is now being handled by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.

At the meeting on Monday, several Charlestown residents warned Larner about working with Oliner, and some were concerned that allowing the liquor license transfer to go through would somehow benefit Oliner, Whelan said. 

Ultimately, the CNC voted to support the license transfer, with plans to include with licensing documents a letter outlining Charlestown residents’ concerns.

Julie Caldarone May 08, 2013 at 12:06 PM
The noise at 2:00am when the bar closes and drunken customers come down 8th street is something to hear. Screaming, shouting, crying, yelling - i has been so nice and quiet since the restaurant closed. Here we go again.....
Lindsey May 08, 2013 at 01:06 PM
I think it would be great to get a new restaurant in Charlestown - especially one where the owner lives in the area and will take pride in the restaurant.
Rob O'Brien May 08, 2013 at 01:24 PM
It's great to hear about spaces in Charlestown being reclaimed. Hope we get something good.
Betty Lindsey May 08, 2013 at 02:38 PM
Let's hope the pier doesn't falll in. Would hate to see good money fall through all those cracks
Toonie May 08, 2013 at 05:11 PM
To complain about noise while living in a city is laughable. This isn't Sudbury.
Sudbury May 09, 2013 at 01:55 AM
Toonie, I didnt say anything on this issue. Why you starting trouble?
Julie Caldarone May 09, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Thanks, Toonie, for being upbeat and positive as usual. I've lived in the city all my life so I know what city noise is. It's just sometimes hard to take at 2:00am when I have to get up at 5:00am for work.
Tom Wortheim May 09, 2013 at 12:44 PM
I have to say that Toonie is right here. The Tavern on the Water space is blatantly commercial and has housed a restaurant/bar for years. I for one will be very happy to have one return. While the late night noise is an annoyance it really is a complaint not worth making... very much is a part of standard "city noise." Hopefully the space gets fixed up too
Eric Rehfield May 09, 2013 at 02:05 PM
What great news for Charlestown. It would be great to get something else put up replacing the tavern and Charlie's other restaurant Mijha Cantina shows that he knows how to operate a classy establishment with good food. I hope the residents of Charlestown support this.
Terry"DaTruth"Funk May 09, 2013 at 02:42 PM
No matter who owns it, it will still be the same greasy kitchen with a liquor license.
Toonie May 10, 2013 at 07:14 PM
Julie - Sorry. People that live in the city and complain about noise is a HUGE pet peeve of mine. I've lived near the Warren Tavern for years and have heard and seen all sorts of crazy things at 2am. Can't complain though...I chose to live here. Not sure what living in the city your whole life has to do with it.
Toonie May 10, 2013 at 07:15 PM
Oh - and on a more positive note :-)....that is such an awesome spot for a restaurant! There has to be one there...it would be a shame if it were to remain empty or become some private boat club. Glad to hear a restaurant is moving in.
Julie Caldarone May 13, 2013 at 03:08 PM
Toonie, I said I lived in the city my whole life to respond to your comment about this not being Sudbury - which I think means that people from the suburbs have no idea what noise in the city is like. I love living in the city - noise and all! Thanks for your comment.
Joseph May 30, 2013 at 06:52 PM
This is great news!! Hands down, one of the best views of Boston...and the Navy Yard for that matter. I can't wait for this to open back up. Good luck to the new owners!!
kayrn June 10, 2013 at 12:28 AM
I am psyched there is hope another restaurant is coming. I agree with toonie... It's the city. I knew what I was getting into when I moved here. And we need more businesses including restaurants/bars in Charlestown and especially the navy yard. The people on the boats make noise too. What are you going to do? (Get ear plugs? Or move to the burbs...). It'll be great!! I do hope it's not another Mexican place since we just got papagyo. But there are so many empty business rentals on the navy yard. Almost anything will be great!! Happy summer!!

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