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.

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  1. At least it’s better than Massachusetts and Vermont. Cheers to Virginia for getting slightly less statist!

    1. What’s the deal with VT? I see the Prohibition Pig in Waterbury advertising drink specials on Facebook all the time.

      1. I believe it’s that you can’t do it time based, but you can do day based.

        There’s a place in Burlington (Three Needs) that gets around it by doing “Duff Hour” which is that they open a keg of “Duff” when they open at 4 and it’s a dollar a beer. Once the keg runs out there’s no “Duff” left.

      2. Also if you haven’t been to PP yet, go. And the next time you go to Jay Peak try out the Belfry nearby in Montgomery.

        1. Oh, I’ve been to the Pig. Their Punter’s Doddle cocktail is out of this world. I couldn’t get it out of my head (though it’s a pretty girlie drink, made with Pimm’s)

    2. On the other hand, Nevada has very lax drinking laws, which shows how much clout the gaming industry still has in a usually blue state. Sweet, sweet irony.

  2. Even though prohibition has long since been repealed, it seems like temperance is still a very much state sanctioned attitude in the Old Dominion. Because F. Y. T. W.

  3. I demand you take that picture of my mother down. She didn’t even know she was pregnant with me at the time.

    1. Gotta support the team.

  4. Isn’t virginia essentially a suburb of DC, filled with all the petty bureaucrats that make your life hell from Washington? And we’re shocked that it’s a regulatory hellhole?

    1. ^This

    2. Why my wife and I won’t settle in Va

      1. Bad as it is, it’s still better than MD or DC.

        1. I can buy a pitcher of margaritas in MD and DC, not in VA.

          1. You can wear a gun in a bar, as long as the owner does not object, in VA.

    3. From what I heard from my ex, who was in love with DC, one of the best things about DC was the happy hours.

      1. There are some good ones. But they are filled with DC people. If I were single and just looking to nail hot chicks, the happy hours are seriously a target rich environment. But beyond that, it is Washington.

        1. She really liked everyone being in suits all the time. And oddly the DC weather. One of our sticking points was that I was not going to move to DC or NYC.

          1. DC has mild winters but in the summers it is capital H Hot.

            And humid.

            One time I counted 23 days with intense 15 minute thunderstorms every day from 5:15 to 5:45 PM. The humidity was so strong it just had to discharge itself somehow.

            1. The summers in Washington are arctic compared to Texas or the low country in South Carolina and Georgia.

              1. And the Gulf states make Washington feel like a desert.

            2. Living in SoCal, this is foreign to me. We only have two seasons here: dry hot and chilly cold. With the only two questions before we leave the house being: “Do I need a sweater?” Or “Can I wear shorts?”. I kind of wish we had four distinct seasons, but then I reconsider when I see you polar vortex chumps prying your car door opens with crowbars.

              1. On the other hand, the rest of us don’t have to pay $600k for $80k worth of house. All about priorities and whether you like to surf.

                1. My priorities are in n out and a fixed property tax rate 😉

              2. I live in southern Arizona and every once in a while I think ‘it’d be nice to build a snowman, like Calvin and Hobbes art’.

                Then I remember the price to be paid for that luxury.

            3. DC has mild winters but in the summers it is capital H Hot.

              I love it when people say this. It gets into the 90s for a couple of weeks. Big deal. It’s not even all that humid.

          2. I actually like the weather. The summers are only hot if you have never been through the real ones they get in the South. And the winters are only cold if you have never been through a real one in the upper Midwest. You get four seasons of 5 intensity. I like that. And the wind doesn’t blow much, which is nice.

            1. VA gets a taste of every kind of disaster, but no more. A little bit of ice a snow. A few tornados. The occasional tropical storm. Enough thunderstorms to keep everything green through the summer. Everything is in moderation.

            2. It’s humid and gross.

              1. If you have never been to a place like Charleston or New Orleans that actually is humid and gross, sure.

                1. Don’t forget the squirrel-sized cockroaches that roam the sidewalks at night in SC and LA. They offset the somewhat lower temps after the sun goes down.

              2. I know, and then there’s the weather.

              3. It’s humid and gross.

                DC is not that humid. It rarely cracks 70%. It’s usually 30-50%. In the winter it’s dry as hell. Or it seems that way because I have to bathe in lotion or my entire body feels like it’s going to crack open.

    4. Isn’t virginia essentially a suburb of DC

      Only the parts near large bodies of water.

      filled with all the petty bureaucrats

      Name a state that isn’t.

      And we’re shocked that it’s a regulatory hellhole?

      Virginia’s hate for fun things predates this country.

    5. Paul: Being from the Old Dominion, I cant ell you that it very much is. After all, we did just elect an outward socialist (who doesn’t even know much about our state constitution)as governor.


    /William Wallace, about to down a half price usquebaugh

  6. “Two for one appletinis at Douchebar tonight” remains a verboten tweet

    Everything negative I have ever said about KMW, I take back.

    1. She only knows it so well because she lives it. Something tells me KMW has guzzled her share of appletinies at the local Douchebar, which there is one on every block in Washington.

      1. This is why I was very, very upset when Tiffany Tavern closed. As far as I can tell, there are no more dives in Alexandria. And Murphy’s doesn’t count.

        1. I have been to my share of dive bars. They don’t do it for me much either. Most of them act like serving shit drinks and bad food somehow adds to the “atmosphere”.

          I can think of very few legitimate good casual bars that I like. Most of them are fucking ancient and out west or in a couple of cases in New York and a few other cities. But they are rare and they usually have to be really old and just right. And are usually the product of their environment. For example, no place east of the Mississippi has a decent beer joint. They don’t exist back here. But nowhere west has an even passable fake Irish pup.

          1. robc is trying to remedy part of that 😉

          2. If you’re ever out west in Southern California, head to the congregation ale house. So many beer choices, and they open at 11am! Get hammered before lunch.

            1. I will remember that. The older I get, the more I like to drink in a bar in the late morning and afternoon.

            2. Get hammered before lunch.

              You wait that long?

              1. You’re assuming I’m up before 10:45am.

        2. Murphy’s has really gone down hill since the IRA went off the radar.

    2. Yeah, this made me LOL, which is rather rare.

  7. If I were a judge instead of an engineer, all the exceptions hidden in the wording of the 1st Amendment would magically become visible to me, right?

    Go ahead and tell me how announcing happy hour equates to yelling “fire!” in a crowded theater. I dare ya.

    * Assuming the crowded theater argument ever had a single molecule of merit in the first place…

    1. First, “yelling fire in a crowded theater” is not a crime. Doing something, like maybe yelling fire or setting off a firecracker that causes people harm is the crime, not yelling.

      From that one fiction has arisen so much harm. People always say that the government can regulate commercial speech because of fraud. Fraudulent speech is not protected they say. Bullshit, Fraudulent speech is protected. What is not protected is the fraudulent acts that result from that speech. So sure, say whatever you want even if it is meant to defraud someone. That is not a crime. But when that speech results in you taking money from someone under false pretenses, that is a crime. It is a subtle difference but it is a difference. And no one gets that. Instead they think fraud laws are prohibiting speech and thus use them as a precedent to rape commercial speech.

      1. What is not protected is the fraudulent acts that result from that speech.

        Unless you’re currently President.

        1. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, it’s good to be king, when the president does it that means it’s not illegal, etc.

      2. Anybody who brings up the “fire in a crowded theater” bullshit should be immediately ignored. Not only is it an argument from authority but its a bad authority. That case law was overturned because they were using the logic to throw people in jail for advocating against the draft. Socialists no less! Whenever I hear a progressive bring that up I want to punch them in the face.

        1. And as I explain, the logic doesn’t even work. Really all they have is “commercial speech is different because of profits or we say so”.

          Commercial speech is the way you make your living. Thanks to these assholes you have more freedom to watch and make porn than you do to make a living. Yeah, that makes sense.

        2. It was never even case law either. No one has ever been convicted of a crime for shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre.

      3. So you are saying that “Yeah, this box is totally full of gold” is protected, but then actually taking the money for it is the crime?

        1. Yes. If I don’t ever actually take your money, how is it a crime? If it is, then isn’t pretty much any lie a crime?

          1. I’m down with this argument.

          2. Exactly. There’s no fraud without harm. If I just give you my box of not-gold, not harm, no fraud. If I take your money in exchange for my box of not-gold, harm and thus, fraud.

    2. To be fair, I’d presume their reasoning is that under the 21st Amendment, the states have the right to control the manufacture and sale of alcohol.

      1. Which they aren’t doing in this specific aspect. They are controlling what people are saying about the sale of alcohol.

  8. No Happy Hour allowed at all in Illinois.

    1. So? At least you have your guns, bitter clinger.

      1. Ontario establishments, as far as I know, are allowed to have happy hour but they cannot advertise or tell their customers that there is a happy hour on.

        It’s moronic to say the least.


  9. NH pushed last call back one whole hour. The energy wasted on debating it was phenomenal. Particular since the whole concept of “last call” is just a stupid arbitrary THAT’S ENOUGH FOR YOU from the Nanny’s. Especially in light of the research out the UK that showed that tighter hours led to higher binge drinking.

    1. Especially in light of the research out the UK that showed that tighter hours led to higher binge drinking.

      I’m curious to know what the market-clearing closing time is. Here in NJ the standard Saturday closing time is 2 AM and there’s a lot of pressure to beat the clock by about 1, 1:30. But if you go across the river to NYC most people go home before the lights go on at 4 AM and the need to binge in order to polish off the night isn’t so pronounced. State-enforced closing times are bullshit regardless, but I think it’s an interesting question.

      1. Well, England had 11 o’clock closing time for a long long time. Which meant that every night at 11 the streets were full of drunk people who had spent the last several hours trying to get as much drinking in as possible.

    2. I like the way it is in New Orleans. There is no last call (unless you want it).

  10. I can’t believe that this was even a thing to begin with. But at least we can drink at 6AM…

  11. Alcohol laws are some of the most absurd laws of all. I noticed the other day that despite copious beer commercials during a football game, in none of them was a person actually depicted drinking the beverage, and a friend told me it is illegal to show that. So the beverage can be shown, people can be shown lifting a glass or putting one down after drinking, magical properties and parties can be extolled as coming from the beer, but we can not have someone shown drinking it, that way lies chaos!

    1. I can’t find it on youtube, but there was a commercial in the 70s or 80s showing several people sitting around a table with a bottle of beer on the table. A guy in a gorilla costume walks in; sits down at the table; then guzzles the bottle of beer — Specifically to thwart this law.

    2. You can even show the amber liquid flowing from a bottle as long no mouths receive it.

      1. So, butt-chugging is OK?

  12. “Two for one appletinis at Douchebar tonight” remains a verboten tweet”

    ok = Count how many things are wrong with this sentence.

    I get… at least 4. No, 5.

  13. OT: Wasn’t there some regular here a while back who went by “24AheadDotCom,” pal of Dave Weigel maybe? Looks like he is trolling National Review lately, unless it is someone else.

    1. Is that Donderoo or Lonewacko? Or are Donerdoo and Lonewacko the same guy? I forget. But yes, he was a xenophobic Rockwell type.

      1. Donderooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

        1. Ahh, the call of the wild Eric Dondero, The One True Libertarian

          (cue star spangled banner, fireworks, image of Giulianis face superimposed with a crying bald eagle and marines raising the flag over iwo jima)

 however, is the great LONEWACKO himself. How could you people possibly forget him! LoneWacko, nee, OrangeLineSpecial, nee, something about the Kochtopus (before the progressives started using it!).

          … and, that was his new, somewhat less blatantly psychotically racist anti-immigration site.

          I will admit, I don’t know if he has ever in fact asked a politician a tough question and posted the answer on youtube. Ever. But he’s trying.

          1. however, is the great LONEWACKO himself. How could you people possibly forget him! LoneWacko, nee, OrangeLineSpecial, nee, something about the Kochtopus (before the progressives started using it!)

            Never forget the Lonewacko

            1. Good Lord, that is funny.

            2. Oh, shit… where are the original files?? I see it links to Dhex (Mike O’c) website = did he have those? I *wants*

              I love that he graced the page with the apropos threat to sue, and someone translated it into Spanish. PRICELESS

              1. That threat was the best part for me, until I saw it translated into Spanish.

          2. Did you ever volunteer on a Libertarian campaign?

            1. I demand your cell phone number so I can challenge you to a fight! I’m tougher than you because I got busted down from E-6 to E-4 for fighting while I was a combat storekeeper in the Navy!

          3. Didn’t some regular get banned for a while for posting Lonewhacko’s personal info on here?

          4. I will admit, I don’t know if he has ever in fact asked a politician a tough question and posted the answer on youtube. Ever. But he’s trying.

            Hell, even I have managed that one, with Kane no less. Still not as popular as Barney Miller clips.

      2. Dondero wasn’t a Rockwell guy, he was a Giuliani guy.

        I think it’s either Lonewacko or American.

        1. I mistyped. I meant Rothbard type. And now that I remember Donderoo and Lonewacko were not the same. is Lonewacko and he was a total Rothbardite xenophobe.

          1. Rothbard become more socon-style political and less philosophical the older he got. It’s unfair to him & his legacy to call him xenophobic when he spent the first 60 years of his life calling people like Ed Clark onto the carpet for supporting restrictions on immigration.

            1. But he renounced all of that went closed boarders. You can’t ignore that.

              1. The older he got, the more pugnacious and political he got. There’s no denying he traded theory and political modeling for attempts to inject a little libertarianism into the American political system.

                But he’s famous for his writings as a young man, and those are uniformly anti-state and open border, so I’m going to object to having him called a xenophobe when 95% of his writings are in support of property rights and freedom to contract.

        2. No, American is no Lonewacko. Similar interests, completely different M.O.

          Lonewacko seemed to be almost schizophrenic in his paranoia out the MexicanGovernment accumulating politicalpower through massiveimmigration. Conspiratorial at heart. He seemed to believe that *he’s* the most Libertarian person alive, because only HE truly appreciates that AuthoritarianRegimes would gainpower through OpenBorders, etc, etc. And that through our glibness we would open the nation up to the despoliation of the great unwashed brown hordes clamoring to overrun our lands…

          He even goes so far as to try and spread this idea that WE HAVE FAILED HIM in our false ideology =


          In fact, I’d almost say he was less Racist than American (who has kind of an ‘Evolution’ schtick he is fond of)…although paranoid in the extreme. Like his Mexican nanny had molested him.

      3. Not sure about those, but he seems to have a sock puppet called “louisianalag” answering for him too.

      4. Dude! Please neither Lonewacko nor Dondero were Lew Rockwell types.

        Dondero hated the Lew Rockwell types for trying to cede Mexico to Al Queda and thus expose the US to Al Queda Scud Missile attacks (no he really argued this).

        Lonewacko hated the Lew Rockwell types (some of them anyway) for arguing for open borders.

        Every now and then you say something real stupid… this is one of those times. 🙂

        1. That or I mistype a hell of a lot. I meant Rothbard. Not Rockwell, whoever he is.

          1. Dude! Stop digging!

            Lew Rockwell is Peikoff to Rothbard’s Ayn Rand. Rockwell is a doctrinaire Rothbardian!

            1. Last I heard Rothbard changed his opinion on open boarders and objected to them before his death. It was kind of big deal when it happened. Lonewacko was in line with that.

              1. Rothbard’s argument was a highly technical one (and an easily taken down one IMHO) that used the State as corporation model and posited land owners forming some cartel that refused to sell land or conduct business with outsiders.

                Rothbard was a huge fan of international trade.

                Lonewacko’s was an isolationist who fretted about foreign hordes outbreeding us.

                To equate the two is a specious as calling you a neoconfederate because you and Tom Dilorenzo are both opposed to affirmative action.

        2. This 24ahead troll assumes everybody who mentions Reason is an open borders type and he seems against that. Hard to tell, he writes like he is banging his ass on a keyboard.

          1. That is Lonewacko. And his troll act was to make every single thread about immigration and how the Reasonites really hate liberty since they want to invite in a bunch of Mexicans who will vote in socialism. There wasn’t a single topic that he would not link back to that.

            1. +1 increased politicalpower for the Mexicangovernment

      5. Lonewacko. Not the same as Donderooooooooooooo.

  14. Odd that the knowledge of countless hundreds of thousands of prisoners serving time for consuming unauthorized chemicals lingers like a dull ache in my forehad, but nothing ignites arrhythmic pounding rage in my head like indiscrete flexing of power by petty city councilors and state legislators.

    Except maybe dronemurdering wedding parties. That hits a bit harder.

    Public floggings all around.

    1. The judicial system is vast and impersonal but petty administration is personal and direct.

  15. BUT bars still can’t advertise what those drink specials are, only that they exist.

    Like sentencing guidelines?

  16. Any Brit H&R readers here?? I am surprised I’ve never asked this.

    I lived in London for 2 years, and there was wild discrepancy and variance about what the @)#($+@ rules really were even in different neighborhoods. I had one guy tell me discounting drinks was illegal (full stop); another that you could do it, but only at certain times/holidays, and others who just said ‘fuck it’ and did what they wanted but only communicated via word of mouth.

    I generally didn’t pay much attention because I was drunk at the time.

    1. Drunk the entire two years? Eh, when in Britannia.

      1. I remember a few brief, horrifying moments of sobriety. It was raining.

    2. Go to Texas sometime. The laws vary even without counties/cities. You can be at a bar where almost anything goes, then cross the street into a “dry” section.

      1. That totally boggled my mind the first time I experienced it.

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