Excessive drinking practices include happy hours, all-you-can-drink specials, unlimited quantities of alcohol for one low price (usually during specified hours), ladies' nights, two-for-one promotions, nickel pitchers, and other practices that encourage customers of bars and restaurants to drink large quantities of alcohol quickly, thereby reducing the incentive to monitor consumption levels and drink responsibly. The consequences of this high-risk drinking include automobile crashes and fatalities, injuries, unplanned sexual activity, assault, rape, and property damage.

In this analysis, we focused on State statutes and regulations that specifically targeted happy hour types of promotions. At present, 27 States have such a provision. Although some States may have provisions that prohibit awarding alcohol as a prize or providing free beverages, in other parts of statutory or regulatory codes as a stand-alone statute or regulation, the information below focuses on States with provisions expressly prohibiting excessive drinking practices. Additionally, several States, such as New Hampshire, have separate provisions prohibiting advertising happy hours or happy-hour-related activities, such as ladies' nights. We did not include these provisions in this analysis.

The variables found in the chart below are defined as follows:

  • Free beverages —Ten States have happy hour provisions that contain specific prohibitions against the distribution of free alcoholic beverages.

  • Additional servings —Sixteen States prohibit an establishment from providing additional servings of alcoholic beverages until previous servings have been consumed.

  • Reduced price – specified day or time —Eighteen States prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages at reduced prices during a specified days or time.

  • Unlimited beverages – fixed price, fixed time —Twenty-three States prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages during a fixed period of time for a fixed price.

  • Increased volume —Twelve States prohibit increasing the volume of alcoholic beverages in a drink without increasing the price.

  • Prizes —Fifteen States have happy hour provisions that contain specific prohibitions against giving alcoholic beverages as prizes.

Happy Hours and Drink Specials

(click to view Table)