Virginia Happy Hours Will Soon Be Slightly Happier, Less Regulated


happy hour

Frankly, I'm not sure whether to raise a glass to toast the good news about happy hour deregulation in Virginia, or quickly down a drink to drown my sorrows about the glacial pace of progress. 

Starting on January 29, Virginia bars and restaurants will enjoy the freedom to advertise the fact that they have happy hours. Cheers!

Previously, drinking establishments could tout drink specials inside their own premises, but nowhere else. Now tweets, signage, and other forms of advertising are legit. 

BUT bars still can't advertise what those drink specials are, only that they exist. Passersby and Twitter followers are only allowed to know the place and time, and the fact that a happy hour is occurring.

"Two for one appletinis at Douchebar tonight" remains a verboten tweet, and the rules still make it tough for bars to compete for customers by offering especially enticing deals.

Also, here's a bunch of other stuff Virginia bars still can't do, via WaPo:

  • All happy hours must end by 9 p.m., and no specials can be offered after that. They can, however, begin again at 6 a.m.
  • Mixed drinks, including margaritas, cannot be served by the pitcher.
  • Open bars with unlimited drinks are not allowed under any circumstances. That's why New Year's Eve parties at Clarendon Ballroom or Clarendon Grill include a couple of drink tickets with the admission fee instead of access to an open bar, as many bars in Washington and Maryland do.