Three cheers for a satisfied-hour victory for Virginia restaurateurs

That query nagged at me on the latest drive domestic. It changed into the day Virginia eventually made its prison for eating places to use creative terms to describe happy hours. The instant I learned that my mind despatched me a wordplay invitation. In my mind, all at once, I become a restaurateur, writing my glad-hour signs. “Margarita Mondays” changed into smooth. “Tequila Tuesdays” was a no-brainer. Because I didn’t set the bar high quickly, I had “Wine-ding down Wednesdays” and “On-Tap Thursdays.”

But what could work for Fridays?

It may also appear a daft intellectual exercise, especially since I haven’t any immediate plans to open an eating place. But extra incredible is that if I did a personal one in Virginia, I couldn’t have written any of that on a signal outside my commercial enterprise before July 1. The new “satisfied hour regulation” might also seem stupid. However, its importance goes past pastel-colored chalk on a blackboard. It is, at its middle, a First Amendment victory. IThe authorities subsequently recognized that the United States of America copes with listening to reality, as a minimum, concerning how we select to de-stress after work.


That’s something we have to increase a tumbler all too, whether or not yours is full of a cocktail or a mocktail.
The trouble became laid naked in a lawsuit delivered ahead with the aid of Washington-region chef Geoff Tracy, who decided to combat the regulation that became ultimately tossed aside by wew rules. As of July 1, the new law allows Virginia restaurants and bars to apply innovative phrases to describe happy hours and to put on the market what beverages will cost during those time slots. “Now, expenses and puns are a felony in Virginia,” said Anastasia Boden, the lead lawyer in the in-shape filed on behalf of Tracy. The basis for the lawsuit centered on the argument that because happy hours have been a felony, marketing the truth about them has to be, too.

“The purpose we added the lawsuit become to vindicate a deeper principle, and that is that the authorities can’t censor truthful statistics for paternalistic reasons,” Boden stated. “All during the litigation, the government had argued, ‘We can try this. We can try this because we assume this is ideal for you.'” Boden, who works for Pthe pacific Legal Foundation, described that as a risky stance while carried out more more broadly. Some states ban happy hours, while others restrict marketing components baed on to the argument that it will reduce alcohol intake and drunken use. Boden said the evidence doesn’t assist that.

“If you look just across nation traces into Maryland and D.C., it’s now not as in case you see greater site visitors accidents due to alcohol,” she said. And if lowering drunken driving is the goal, she stated, “I suppose there’s a higher way to get at that than through banning speech.” Tracy, who operates eating places in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia, said he is pleased the restriction is long past. “I just ahad no idea it changed into ridiculous. you couldn’t tell humans Budweisers were 3 dollars,” he stated. He also couldn’t describe happy hour beyond those two phrases. “I couldn’t say ‘happy hour’ or ‘ultimate glad hour.'” Now, he said, if an eating place permits dogs on a patio, it can put it up for sale “yappy hour.” “Virginia has usually been the right nation to do business in,” Tracy stated. “Now, it has become a bit higher.”

He said he has heard from other restaurant proprietors celebrating the exchange. In his shared email, one wrote, “You don’t know me, but I am a restaurant/bar owner in Norfolk, Virginia. Thank you for your amazing efforts in helping VA ABC see the mild on the happy hour!” Boden stated throughout the case, which lasted approximately 12 months in court docket, they heard from commercial enterprise owners, some of whom had been fined $500 with the aid of the nation’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority for advertising their happy hours. She and Tracy both said they could have preferred to have visible the issue settled in court docket — in place of via law — so they may have set a legal precedent; however, both expressed satisfaction that Virginia did the proper factor in the long run.

Tracy stated it’s just unfortunate it didn’t come faster. Ten days before the regulation went into impact, he closed his Tysons restaurant, Chef Geoff’s, which became named in the lawsuit. The rent expired on that day, and he had decided in advance not to resume it. “That changed into bittersweet,” Tracy said. “If it were there, we would’ve needed to have had some celebration.” Boden said that if the restaurant had remained open, she “would have cherished to have seen” the glad-hour description Tracy got here with. I might have, too. I do haven’t doubt it’d have been a lot more clever and patron-appealing than what I thought up in my vehicle that night.

Johnny J. Hernandez
I write about new gadgets and technology. I love trying out new tech products. And if it's good enough, I'll review it here. I'm a techie. I've been writing since 2004. I started Ntecha.com back in 2012.