Proposal would loosen Va.’s happy hour restrictions

WASHINGTON — Happy hour is a hallowed tradition in the D.C. area, but Virginia has always had an aversion to publicizing the practice. It was only last year that establishments could even say they had drink specials anywhere outside their own walls.

But a new proposal would take what one restaurateur calls another step toward the advertisement of happy hour in the commonwealth.

The Washington Post  reports that a bill would allow bars and restaurants to say which kinds of drinks were specially priced for happy hour. They still wouldn’t be able to say the prices.

State Del. David B. Albo, R-Fairfax, tells the Post that that final step is “never going to happen.” The introduced such a bill two years ago, but it failed after advocates against teenage drinking “freaked out.”

There’s no guarantee this bill will pass either — Sarah Freund, executive director of the Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County, tells the Post, “Any promotion of happy hours through social media, et cetera, is only going to promote binge drinking.”

Bar and restaurant industry advocates say that the problem of teenagers getting into bars is separate from advertising what’s in there.

“These rules have been around for a really long time,” restaurateur Geoff Tracy told the Post, “and I think we’re slowly, but surely, modernizing them.”

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