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.