Over the past few weeks, there have been dozens of conflicting reports about the future of happy hour in New York. Some articles have claimed that the city’s health department plans to ban the practice of cheap mid-afternoon drinks, while other sources are quick to refute the claim. So what’s really going on with New York City’s happy hour laws?
The NY Post wrote an article about the possible happy hour ban, citing a conversation with an insider at the Department of Health. Allegedly, the happy hour ban is being pushed by the agency’s marathon-running boss, Commissioner Thomas Farley. The argument goes that happy hour provides cheaper beer earlier in the day and encourages heavy drinking.
“It’s absolutely been discussed,” confirmed a department source. “It goes to show you the spirit with which they operate. Everyone is a child.”
If the ban did go through, New York would join a list of 19 other states that currently ban happy hour, including the most recent addition to the list, famously prudish Utah.
However, it looks like rumors of the happy hour ban may have been exaggerated after all. According to Gothamist, their conversations with a Department of Health source dredged up the following quote: “The story is untrue. The health department has not discussed limiting happy hour and will not be doing so.”
Mayor Bloomberg also commented on the story, issuing the following statement: “You know, it’s good that—what one paper’s done because, as you remember, this year the committee did not award a Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Now we have one—with irresponsible journalism—for next year. The Health Department has no plans. We told them we have no plans. It is a totally fictitious, made-up story, and it’s just not what I would call responsible journalism.”
So rest easy, big city drinkers. Your discounted, post-work beers aren’t an endangered species…for now.