Update: Your Bottomless Brunch Is Legal After All

Drunk brunch is totally legal

So, after all that city-wide panic earlier this week over seemingly new revelations that “bottomless brunch” deals are actually illegal in New York—officials don’t think it’s a good idea to give people unlimited alcohol for an artificially low price, who knew?—it turns out that your drunk brunches are totally in the clear.

Business Insider looked into the legal technicalities here, and it turns out that unlimited-drinks brunch deals are largely protected as an “event.” The State Liquor Authority clarifies:

“Serving unlimited drinks to a patron is prohibited under the Alcoholic Beverage Control law, and instances of over serving by our licensees will be investigated and prosecuted. However, there is a limited exception in the statute when the service of alcohol is incidental to the event, such as in the case of certain brunch specials. Even under these limited exceptions, licensees still have a legal obligation not to over serve patrons. The SLA will continue to take a balanced regulatory approach by allowing licensees to conduct specials where alcohol is an accompaniment, while simultaneously cracking down on specials that promote excessive drinking.”

The law that was circulating earlier this week was actually created in recent years in response to over-serving in bars, and a business can still incur a $10,000 a fine for over-serving patrons who’ve clearly had enough, or aggressively promoting binge drinking. Still, your favorite brunch deal? Probably not going anywhere anytime soon.

It’s been a roller coaster of a week, yeah? Best take the edge off with, oh, 12 mimosas this weekend. Totally fine and normal! It’s an “event,” after all.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.


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