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Protect Your Liquor License: Food, Hours, and Drink Specials

Protect Your Liquor License:  Food, Hours, and Drink Specials

Holders of a New York liquor license permitting the consumption of alcohol on premises should note the following rules related to food, hours, and drink specials:

FOOD

All on-premises retail licensees are required to have food available for purchase and consumption by patrons. Where the licensee will not be preparing the food but will enter into an agreement with another to do so, the licensee or applicant shall notify the Authority that the licensee will be contracting with a food concessionaire. The licensee shall provide the Authority with the food concessionaire’s name, business address and certificate of authority, and the names and residence addresses of the concessionaire’s principals, as more particularly set forth in the attached revised petition for approval of food concession. Fingerprints shall not be required.

HOURS

The hours of operation are set by state law but many counties outside of New York City have adopted more restricted hours. A listing of each county and the permitted hours of sale for each type of license is available here. The text of the relevant Alcohol and Beverage Control Law provisions is set out below:

Sec. 105.14 – Provisions governing licensees to sell at retail for consumption off the premises.
(a) No premises licensed to sell liquor and/or wine for off-premises consumption shall be permitted to remain open:
(i) On Sunday before twelve o’clock post meridian and after nine o’clock post meridian.
(ii) On any day between midnight and eight o’clock antemeridian.
(iii) On the twenty-fifth day of December, known as Christmas Day.
In any community where daylight savings time is in effect, such time shall be deemed the standard time for the purpose of this subdivision.
(b) This subdivision shall not be interpreted to prohibit the owner or his or her employees from entering or occupying the premises when it is closed to the public.

Sec. 105-a – Sale of beer at retail on Sunday. No person, firm or corporation holding any license or permit issued under this chapter shall sell, offer for sale or give away beer at retail on Sunday between three antemeridian and eight antemeridian. Persons, firms or corporations holding licenses and/or permits issued under the provisions of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law permitting the sale of beer at retail may sell such beverages at retail on Sunday before three antemeridian and after eight antemeridian for off-premises consumption to persons making purchases at the licensed premises to be taken by them from the licensed premises.

Sec. 106.5 – Provisions governing licensees to sell at retail for consumption on the premises. No alcoholic beverages shall be sold, offered for sale, or given away upon any premises licensed to sell alcoholic beverages at retail for on-premises consumption during the following hours:
Sunday, from four antemeridian to twelve Noon
On any other day between four antemeridian and eight antemeridian
Nor shall any person be permitted to consume any alcoholic beverages upon any such premises later than one-half hour after the start of the prohibited hours of sale provided for in this section.

DRINK SPECIALS

The ABC Law prohibits licensees from selling, serving, delivering or offering to patrons an unlimited number of drinks during any set period of time for a fixed price. The law also requires that licensees prohibit party organizers, promoters, etc., from engaging in this conduct in the licensees’ establishment. The statute also prohibits licensees from creating drink specials which, in the judgment of the Authority, are attempts to circumvent the law. This includes offerings of free drinks, or multiple drinks for free or for the price of a single drink, or for a low initial price followed by a price increment per hour or other period of time. The SLA does allow 2 for 1, half price and other such specials where the price of a drink is not lower than one-half of the premise’s normal or regular price for the same drink. Section 117-a does not apply to private functions not opened to the public, such as weddings, banquets, or receptions, or other similar functions or to a package of food and beverages where the service of alcoholic beverages is incidental to the event or function. If you have questions about whether a particular drink special would be a violation of Section 117-a, or whether a particular event is exempt from the statute, please contact the Authority’s Office of Counsel.

This blog post is not intended to consist of legal advice and you should always consult with a lawyer before acting on anything you find on the Internet.  If you have questions or comments about this post, about the topic, or if you need legal assistance, you should feel free to give us a call or send us an email.