New York City is arguably home to the hardest-working people in the world, so it seems a bit like flogging an overworked mule to suggest an end to happy hour. It's also one of the most expensive places to live, meaning that New Yorkers take discounts on "extras" like cocktails and a beer where they can get them. (Rents have gone up for the third year in a row, despite the economic turndown.)
Yet the Department of Health is allegedly talking about a happy hour ban (or a ban on discount-liquor sales, as they put it) for the city. We're a long way from Don Draper in "Mad Men" with his constantly refilled martini glasses at lunch and cigarettes in the office, aren't we?
Currently, 19 states ban happy hour specials, which is one of the government's ways of reducing alcohol abuse and has been seen as effective — at least in that regard — where it has become law. But in New York City, where most people don't drive and even fewer own cars, this is less of a public health issue than in places where drunk (or even just intoxicated) driving is part of the lifestyle.
Understandably, bar owners and servers are not exactly thrilled with the prospect of banning happy hour, as they tend to attract professionals after work — the kind of clientele most bars want to attract.
A Department of Health spokesman, Sam Miller, told the New York Post that there weren't any existing "plans to pursue any policy around discount-alcohol sale," but anonymous department insiders told the paper that the proposal had gone further than the discussion stages behind the scenes. This morning, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg publicly announced that a ban is NOT in the works.
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