"Happy Hour" drink specials ended in Massachusetts 28 years ago, in an effort to reduce drunken driving and alcohol-related driving deaths.
Now, a state agency that oversees alcohol sales and regulations is considering whether to allow bars and restaurants to feature drink specials, as a way to compete with all-night casinos.
The issue first came up last year, when the legislature considered the gaming bill. But it did not make it into the final package approved early this year by Gov. Deval Patrick.
Before the ban, bars could offer Happy Hour specials, such as two-for-one drink specials, or $1 beers. That option became unlawful in Massachusetts in 1984.
The ban took effect under former Gov. Michael Dukakis. Contacted by the New York Times last year, he said he was appalled the prohibition could be removed. “Unquestionably, people will lose their lives if this happens,” he told the newspaper.
The fourth of five public hearings on the issue will be held Tuesday in Boston, by the state's Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission. Any commission recommendation must be filed by June 30, 2013 with the state House and Senate. [Editor's Note: see attached PDF]
What do you think? Is it time to give bars and restaurants an option to use these promotions? Or should Happy Hour remain a thing of the past? Vote in the poll and share your opinion in the comment section.