Here’s Why Happy Hour is Currently Still Illegal in Massachusetts
Massachusets has rules and regulations about, well, pretty much everything. When it comes to the bar scene, the business of booze is certainly no exception as the Commonwealth has some of the strictest rules in the country when it comes to serving and consuming alcohol.
In fact, at one point, Time Magazine named Massachusetts the second-worst state to drink in only behind Utah, which high Mormon population has led to more "dry" cities and towns than any other state in the U.S.
If you're a cocktail enthusiast and traveler like myself, you've probably noticed that Massachusetts watering holes are missing something that is extremely popular and lucrative in other states, that's right, we're talking about HAPPY HOUR and why Massachusetts doesn't have it.
Why Doesn't Massachusetts Have Happy Hour?
This answer is pretty simple, Massachusetts doesn't have happy hour because it's illegal. According to NBC News, the discounted sale of alcohol has been prohibited in the Bay State since 1984.
Why is Happy Hour Illegal in Massachusetts?
In the early 1980s, there was an uptick in drunk driving accidents and fatalities across the U.S. and then Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis banned the sale of special or low-priced alcohol in order to curb these incidences. Now, 37 years later, the law still specifically prohibits offering free drinks, discounted drinks, or special ''jumbo'' drinks that cost as much as regular drinks. Offering an unlimited number of drinks for a set price (an all-you-can-drink type of promotion) is still illegal and bars are prohibited from sponsoring contests that award alcoholic drinks as prizes.
Will Happy Hour Ever Be Legalized in Massachusetts?
Last last week the Senate passed a bill that would give cities and town within Massachusetts the power to decide individually to allow happy hour promotions. However the bill still has many gates to jump before being made into law, including passing in the House and gaining the approval of outgoing Governor Charlie Baker. Massachusetts has been known to carry some fairly antiquated laws surround the serving and sales of alcohol, however according to NBC News Boston, a 2021 survey of Massachusetts residents showed 70% would support the change in liquor laws.
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