Championing happy hour (in Virginia and beyond)


The Happy Hour: An opportunity to imbibe a modestly priced cocktail with friends and colleagues.

Or as Virginia bureaucrats would describe it: An opportunity for bars and restaurants to lure unsuspecting passersby with dangerous alcohol.

For years, Virginia restaurants and bars were banned from advertising happy hour drink prices or from using any terms in advertisements other than “happy hour” or “drink specials.” But as of July 1, when a new law went into effect thanks to PLF’s recent victory in Chef Geoff’s v. The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority, Virginia restaurants no longer have the state dictating what they advertise to happy hour customers.

Unfortunately, Virginia hasn’t been the only state with overburdensome—or just plain silly—laws governing alcohol. So in honor of Virginian’s victory in Chef Geoff, we compiled our top 5 list of bad alcohol laws:

  1. In Alabama, booze labels can’t be too sensual or sexy.
  2. In Utah, bartenders have to mix their drinks behind a screen.
  3. In Indiana, gas stations and grocery stores can sell only lukewarm, room-temperature beer.
  4. In Virginia, restaurants must make $45 in food sales for every $55 in liquor sales.
  5. In Ohio, alcohol ads can’t make any reference to Santa Claus.

Despite our victory with Chef Geoff’s case, these laws show there’s still work to be done. PLF will continue fighting alongside our clients to ensure restaurateurs freedom of speech isn’t violated just because they want to advertise alcohol—and our ability to enjoy two-for-one drinks isn’t impeded by bureaucracy.