Happy hour? You won't find one in these states
(NEXSTAR) – On any given day, typically between the hours of 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., your local bar may be offering deals on alcoholic beverages as part of its happy hour. In some states, though, you’ll be paying full price for your drink, regardless of the time of day.
Happy hours weren’t always dedicated to discounted liquor. The event is widely believed to date back to the early 1900s when a group aboard the USS Arkansas had twice-weekly gatherings and called themselves the “Happy Hour Social.” Sailors would come together to watch a movie, play music, or wrestle during these gatherings, which came to be known as happy hours.
While sailors on the ship couldn’t drink alcohol due to Navy regulations, they and other enlisted men brought the idea of happy hour home with them. During Prohibition, when many would get a drink at a speakeasy before going to a restaurant, the early evening hours were commonly referred to as happy hours. Bars would later begin offering happy hour specials in the 1970s.
Since then, a handful of states have essentially outlawed happy hours.
Massachusetts, which became the first to ban happy hour in 1984, according to Time Magazine, restricts bars and restaurants from selling discounted drinks. A bill was proposed earlier this year to overturn the state’s happy hour ban, but was called on to be studied further – a move that “effectively kills it,” according to Nexstar’s WWLP.
In Alaska, state law says alcoholic beverages can’t be sold at “a price less than the price regularly charged for the beverages during the same calendar week.” In Indiana, happy hours are illegal, but establishments can offer all-day drink specials, the IndyStar reports. Vermont law says alcoholic beverages cannot be sold at a reduced price for any amount of time during the day.
In Utah, happy hours and any similar promotions including discounts on beer or liquor are prohibited, “as is anything else which promotes over consumption,” according to the Department of Public Safety.
Happy hour has been banned in North Carolina since 1985, and current state law mandates that alcohol must be sold at the same price all day long. According to the Port City Daily, a bill was proposed this year to give counties and cities the power to regulate happy hours. The most recent action on the bill was sending it to the Committee on Alcoholic Beverage Control in May.
Rhode Island has also banned happy hour since the 1980s. A bill was introduced in January that would allow establishments to offer happy hour specials on orders that include meals, Nexstar’s WPRI reports. The House approved the legislation, but in May, that bill was referred to a Senate committee, and no other actions have since been taken.
Until the late 2010s, Oklahoma also appeared on this list. A law passed in 2016 changed the state’s previous ruling that happy hour specials could be offered, but only if they ran all day for seven consecutive days. Now, there are fewer restrictions on happy hours, with the exception that alcoholic beverages must be sold at at least 6% above cost, 405 Magazine explains.