Does North Carolina Allow Happy Hour?

Happy hour. The time when people are getting off work and can wander into a nearby bar, pub, or restaurant to get half price drink specials and some discounted food to nibble on and wind down the day. But not in North Carolina. North Carolina is one of a few states that don’t allow happy hour.

The official rule on happy hour in the Tarheel State is that drink specials must be offered from the time the business opens to the time it closes to not be in volation of ABC laws. Free drinks or reduced price drinks cannot be offered during limited hours. That essentially means that there is no happy hour at all. The thinking behind this is that happy hour and drink specials offered within abbreviated windows of time encourage accelerated or binge drinking, which in turn can lead to increased DWI‘s and other associated crimes. Not to say that someone can’t crack open a six pack at the office, which is much cheaper than even discounted drinks at a bar, and then get behind the wheel. But this is the ABC’s thinking on how to help keep people safe, and MADD likely had their say as well.

Interestingly, many states have more extensive laws against the concept of a basic happy hour. 27 states asides from North Carolina prohibit happy hour or special drink offers including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

10 states prohibit free beverages, so no buy one get one free. These include Alaska, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia.

There are 16 states that prohibit serving an additional drink until the drinker has finished their current drink – Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia.

There are 18 states that prohibit reduced-price drinks at a specific date or time – Alabama, Alaska, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.The 23 states that prohibit “bottomless brunches” and any other unlimited drink deal for a fixed price and time: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

So, if you’re looking for cheap drinks after work in North Carolina, you’re out of luck. Only full price drinking here. If you still manage to get a DWI on full price drinks, call an aggressive North Carolina DWI attorney for help.

 

Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.