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Bottled liquors and blinking arrows

It’s a Massachusetts thing. Liquor stores — especially older ones — advertise their wares as “bottled liquors.” The designation seems to be a step up from package stores (or “packies”), another local name. But both terms seem intended to distinguish these establishments from bars, where people actually drink their libations on the spot.

Linguistic lesson aside, many of these stores have wonderful neon signs. Often they include big blinking arrows to help guide customers to the front door. Here are a few from my recent adventures.

First, Glendale Bottled Liquors on the Waltham-Lexington line. I’m not sure about the significance of the pine trees, but I love the pink letters.

Glendale Bottled Liquors

Next up, Foley’s in Brookline. I first drove by this shop when I got lost trying to find someone’s studio during Brookline Open Studios. I retraced my steps a few weeks ago for this shot.

Foley's Bottled Liquors in Brookline

Blanchard’s is an Allston institution.  As a long-time Brighton resident I just considered this shop as part of the background clutter on Harvard Avenue.  But a few weeks ago I took a second look and voila!

Blanchard's sign

A few blocks away, on Commonwealth Avenue in Allston, is the Brookline Liquor Mart.  With a wide sign announcing “Bottled Liquors” across the front entrance, and a vertical sign reinforcing the message, the sign posed a creative challenge.  Here’s my best shot.

Brookline Liquort Mart sign

Finally, Cambridge is home to this gorgeous sign right outside Central Square.  I took this shot last winter and mostly I remember shooting really fast to avoid getting a ticket for parking in a blatantly illegal spot.  Mission accomplished!

Bottled Liquors sign

So what do you think?  Favorites?  Any thoughts on the “bottled liquors” versus “package store” question?  Have I missed any local liquor landmarks?

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