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The War On Happy Hour

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Massachusetts law-makers have extended the state ban on happy hour.

Now, this isn’t exactly a surprise. Massachusetts is basically run by Puritans and acts like it’s still the Prohibition era, with eight municipalities that completely ban liquor. What is shocking and sad is that this trend appears to be gaining ground in other states.

As of May, 27 states had happy hour prohibitions. Then, in June, Kansas changed course and decided to allow it, making the total 26.

At least Kansas finally got it right. Although their happy hours are heavily restricted, they have enough common sense to recognize that happy hour has legitimate business purposes. It brings in more customers to restaurants and bars and the customers spend money that they wouldn’t otherwise.

Several restaurant and bar owners in Massachusetts had made the appeal that discounted drinks at happy hour are important in remaining viable businesses. Meanwhile, new casinos in the area are allowed to give free drinks to gamblers. This is one of those situations where any rational person can see a problem. Restaurants and bars aren’t allowed to offer cheap drinks in order to bring in customers, but casinos are allowed to pump gamblers full of booze. Show a little fucking consistency, Massachusetts.

Apparently, this war on happy hour has been building for the past three decades:

David Hanson, a professor of sociology at the State University of New York, Potsdam says public attitudes toward alcohol have been trending negative since the 1980s.

Dammit, ’80s! I thought we were friends. You gave us two terms of Ronald Reagan and Top Gun.

Hanson says that any unit of government can decide to ban or restrict drinking. The result, in Texas, for example, is a bewildering crazy-quilt of rules that changes as you drive from one city to another.

Seriously, who still thinks that a city going “dry” is a good thing? It’s been 80 years since Prohibition; you’d think that by now people would recognize that there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a drink — or at the very least not infringing on anyone else’s ability to enjoy it.

Happy hour is our birthright as Americans. It’s guaranteed to us in the Declaration of Independence. “The pursuit of happiness” isn’t just a mediocre movie with Will Smith; it’s also one of our three inalienable rights. And I choose to pursue happiness by going to happy hour and pounding a couple beers. As long as I have a safe way to get home, what justification do you have for taking that away from me?

Fortunately, Massachusetts legislators can’t make laws preventing the ingenuity of the restaurant owners. Some have counter-acted the ban on happy hour by offering extremely cheap food to go with regular price drinks. Strategies like this have proven so successful that Boston has been voted the “Drunkest City in America” two years in a row by the Daily Beast.

Honestly though, Massachusetts, shit like this happy hour ban makes me wonder why we even let you be a state.

[via ABC News]

Image via Things I Heard in the Old Port


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