New Year's Eve will be last call at the Liquor Control Board's wine shop set up next to Garces Trading Company, Jose Garces' bistro inside the Western Union building at 1111 Locust St.
An LCB rep tells me that the agency chose to let the five-year lease for the 600-square-foot glass booth wind down.
Both the shop and Garces Trading opened in February 2010 on the ground floor of the condo building in an unprecedented juxtaposition of public- and private-sector retailing. The LCB called it an experiment.
The novelty was that Garces Trading was a BYOB. But unlike most BYOBs, which require a customer to plot a route between the state store and the restaurant, this path was a matter of a few feet. Patrons could simply step through the door and buy a bottle for their meal at regular retail prices, return to the table and enjoy the bottle.
It was even easier than that: If someone bought a bottle from the wine shop at room temperature, he or she could swap it for a chilled bottle from a Garces employee.
Nearby restaurants whose business plans include alcohol sales, including Tria, filed suit, claiming that the state was stifling competition.
Later in 2010, Garces got a license for Garces Trading Company and began serving wine, beer and spirits. Last year, he removed much of Garces Trading's retail space in favor of a bar.