All-You-Can-Drink Brunch Is Totally Illegal, It Turns Out

No touching!
No touching!

For any of you trying to get through the rest of February with dreamy thoughts of the outdoor brunches and endless mimosas that are right around the corner, give it up. Turns out, your day drinking’s prohibited by the State Liquor Authority. And this after we finally resolved the War on Sidewalk Brunch! 

On the heels of a Gothamist listicle on the best “bottomless brunch” deals around the city, the NYC Hospitality Alliance sent out a press release clarifying that this type of deal is strictly verboten. Here’s the important part:

“The ABC Law prohibits from selling, serving, delivering or offering to patrons an unlimited number of drinks during any set period of time for a fixed price.  The law also requires that licensees prohibit party organizers, promoters, etc., from engaging in this conduct in the licensees’ establishment.”

The release also makes most cheap happy hours sound dubious (“The statute also prohibits licensees from creating drink specials which, in the judgment of the Authority, are attempts to circumvent the law. This includes offerings of free drinks, or multiple drinks for free or for the price of a single drink, or for a low initial price followed by a price increment per hour or other period of time,”)  but notes that that 2-for-1 specials are generally ok and you can still get people as drunk as you want at private events, i.e. weddings. Guess we’ll have to wait for the weekend to roll around to see if there’s any kind of crackdown, or if anyone bothers changing their drink specials. This could end up being a truly dark day for drunk brunch.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.


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