Bottomless Booze Brunch Is Legal in New York After All. Happy Weekend!


bloody mary
floridagirlindc / photo on flickr

A couple of weeks ago, Reason conveyed the sad news that bottomless booze brunches were technically  illegal in New York. Weeping and gnashing of teeth ensued and many promising weekend plans were tragically cut short. 

But fear not! The folks at New York State Liquor Authority freaked out about all the bad publicity—Reason was hardly alone in its dismay—lumbered into semi-consciousness and issued a statement clarifying the law. Looks like your local brunch spot's infinity pool filled with OJ and cheap champagne is probably legal after all

Serving unlimited drinks to a patron is prohibited under the Alcoholic Beverage Control law, and instances of over serving by our licensees will be investigated and prosecuted. However, there is a limited exception in the statute when the service of alcohol is incidental to the event, such as in the case of certain brunch specials.

Even under these limited exceptions, licensees still have a legal obligation not to over serve patrons. The [New York State Liquor Authority] will continue to take a balanced regulatory approach by allowing licensees to conduct specials where alcohol is an accompaniment, while simultaneously cracking down on specials that promote excessive drinking.

By all means, toast this good news with a Bloody Mary this weekend.

bichromephoto / photo on flickr

But the fact that no one could figure out the rules until word came down from on high isn't exactly encouraging. Before blogging the initial story, I went and looked at the legal language that the press release from the NYC Hospitality Alliance (Section 117a, in case you'd like to go have a look).

The verbiage is as clear as a mudslide, of course. The fact that journalists and restaurateurs need regulators to come in an interpret the law like be-suited Oracles at Delphi means it's bad law, badly written. It also means that restaurants should fear selective enforcement, for NIMBY or political reasons. 

It's enough to make you need a drink. Or 10.

H/T John Brewer, who likes good news.

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  1. The folks at New York State Liquor Authority freaked out about all the bad publicity…

    The only instance of this happening to a Big Apple regulatory body since the beginning of the Great Pussification of New York?

    1. (Replace Big Apple with Empire State if that makes you feel better.)

      1. (Replace “Pussification” with “Bloomberg”)

        1. To-may-to To-mah-to.

  2. The important piece of information not included here is an actual location where said bottomless-alcohol brunches actually take place.

    I mean, I wouldn’t skip my normal place for anything, but seriously – is there something wrong with at least *knowing*? No.

    1. There used to be a place that had this on the Upper East Side near my apartment (I think the restaurant was at 86th and 2nd). And it was truly bottomless. They’d give you pitchers of screwdrivers or mimosas or whatever.

      1. Coincidentally, Episiarch was always bottomless when he went there too.

        1. If you wore assless chaps, the guacamole was free. I can’t pass up free guacamole and nudity!

          1. Fethers like you jump on my arse for using words like irregardless, despite Wikipedia telling us that its been in use since 1795 and is used in place of regardless or irrespective.

            Yet you use the term ‘assless’ with regards to *chaps*.

            1. Assless isn’t there to differentiate one type of chaps from another, it’s there to reinforce your mental image of an ass hanging out where the seat of a pair of jeans would normally be.

              Nobody says “He wore assless chaps over his 501s.”

              1. How about pantless chaps?

          2. Hey I saw one of The Independents hate mail clips that was posted here on Reason, and YOU were mentioned twice, one comment had you disparaging Kennedy on her cleopatra earrings. CONGRATZ! Also, this could have all been talked about in another thread that I missed, but you’re gonna take my compliment anyway.

          3. Chaps do not have asses. NO PAIR OF CHAPS HAVE AN ASS. Its like saying assed pants. Wearing chaps without pants is what causes your ass to hang out.


            1. Sorry if I chapped your ass about this, Brett.

              1. And you pun. If Nikki wasn’t the worst you would be.

                1. There’s a reason I made sure everyone knew that nicole is the worst. To take the heat off me.

      2. I’m struggling to recall the name of that place (which I do remember…but that was over 10yrs ago)… the only other joint I remember doing ‘drink all-you want’ brunch deals was Calle Ocho on the upperwest.

        1. Mine was also years ago–like almost 15–and I’m pretty sure that place isn’t around any more.

  3. I can’t decide if that would be the worst bartending job or the best, or both.

    1. Worst. I bartend and manage in Brooklyn. The brunch crowd is the worst crowd. Bitching about everything, unsupervised kids running around (seriously), strollers the size of Humvees blocking everything. Worst tip crowd by far too.

      I refuse to work Sundays. I work the other 6 days and Sunday is for football anyway.

      1. If you worked and lived in Manhattan you would get a much different crowd. No kids, for one. I don’t think I recall ever seeing some rugrat at brunch. Which was just perfect.

        1. I imagine its a different scene over there. From what I hear though Harlem is getting a healthy dose of Park Slope lately.

          FTR, I work in South Slope and Cobble Hill but live in Bay Ridge. Its 4 miles but a world away. You don’t see that stuff in Bay Ridge either. Maybe because the parents down here aren’t liberal douchebags who refuse to discipline their kids.

          1. Oh yeah, Park Slope is a children infested nightmare. Being next to the park makes it that much worse.

            I wouldn’t be surprised to see some kids out with their parents in, say, Chelsea, but most of Manhattan is pretty kid-free. Or they at least stay the hell out of sight.

      2. “Freedom Frog|3.14.14 @ 6:11PM|#

        Worst. I bartend and manage in Brooklyn

        What neighborhood?

        1. sorry, ignore

  4. Has Raw Story weighed in with a pompous and overzealous BUSTING for your original reporting on the issue?

    1. ooohhhhhh ,SNAP!!!

  5. Well, a marginal increase in freedom anyway.

  6. Brunch is a finite set of time so bottomless is nothing more than hyperbolic marketing drivel. Evidently this is enough to bring the braindead out of the bureaucratic woodwork.

    1. So’s ‘Happy Hour’ yet the liquor board will bust you for using the term at one event and let it slide at the other.

    2. Time is an illusion. Brunchtime doubly so.

      1. Three pints? At brunchtime?

  7. “that the press released*” I’m assuming that’s what was meant? If so, FIRE DEM PROOFREADERS. If not, I’ll go back to wading through Raw Story comment threads as punishment.


      1. She has brought this wrath upon herself.

  8. You know, this place had a lot more fun with punctuation and spelling when Lucy Steigerwald was here…

  9. The streets of NY will be littered with the corpses of children and kittens within a week.

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