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18 States with Weird Laws About Beer, Wine, and Liquor

Grab a drink as we break down America's insanely weird alcohol laws. Cheers!

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Alcoholic cocktail row on bar table, colorful party drinksAleksandrs Muiznieks/Shutterstock

Massachusetts: No happy hour

Not in Massachusetts. The home of the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots forbids happy hour as a public safety measure. We understand the logic—people can get wild during happy hour, after all—but we’d miss the drink specials! Here are the 18 best recipes from Massachusetts.

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An elderly African American man holds his “I voted” sticker after he cast his ballot in Washington, DC.Eileen Salazar/Shutterstock

South Carolina: No alcohol on Election Day

Election Day is exciting but stressful, so people may want to unwind with a beverage in hand. But up until 2014, South Carolina banned the sale of all alcohol on Election Day. Why? The state thought politicians might bribe citizens with free drinks. Here are 10 things your bartender wishes you’d stop doing (for all of the other days of the year).

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lcoholic beverages department in a supermarket, beers of various .producersRonald Rampsch/Shutterstock

Oklahoma: Beer must be room temperature

Anyone who wants to crack open a cold beer in Oklahoma might be in for a rude awakening. Up until October 2018, all beers except low-alcohol brews had to be sold at room temperature at liquor stores. It’s OK—beer of any temp will still taste great in our 40 best recipes to make with beer.

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Customer get bill and receipt from waiter in restaurant.Sara_K/Shutterstock

Iowa: You must pay bar tabs in full

Here’s a law we can get behind! In Iowa, patrons are allowed to start a tab at a bar, but bartenders must make sure tabs have been paid in full before customers leave. It would save you from accidentally forgetting your card at the bar. Psst! Here is your signature drink, based on your zodiac sign.

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Cold, clear, light beer with foam in a faceted glass on the table with snacks in the pubKucher Serhii/Shutterstock

Utah: No drinks without food

The Beehive State will only let you purchase drinks at a restaurant if you’re buying food, too. In most cases, a bar is categorized differently (and so are some restaurants with bars), so you don’t have to order munchies there—though it’s never a bad idea to chow down on some wings or nachos. This is the best pub food in every U.S. state.

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Wide selection of domestic and imported beer on shelf display in a convenient storeKenishirotie/Shutterstock

Alabama: No beer larger than 25.4 fluid ounces

Up until 2012, stores in Alabama were prohibited from selling beer bottles of 16 fluid ounces or more. Today, the Heart of Dixie permits up to 25.4 fluid ounces.

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Club Sandwich with a Glass of Beer on a Table. Fast food.Dreamer Company/Shutterstock

Indiana: No booze without food

According to Indiana state law, places that sell individual drinks (think cocktails and pints of beer) must also offer soup, hot sandwiches, milk, coffee, and soft drinks. The next time you’re in Indiana, order an ooey-gooey panini with your beverage of choice. Check out these weird laws you probably break all the time.

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Top view of coffee, juice, fruit, bread and meat on tablestockcreations/Shutterstock

New York: No drinks on Sunday morning

They say that New York City is the city that never sleeps, but its bartenders do take some much-deserved rest. In fact, restaurants cannot serve alcoholic beverages until 10 a.m. on Sundays. These are the best brunch spots in every state.

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hand holding red pen over proofreading text in officeLamai Prasitsuwan/Shutterstock

Arkansas: Underage drinkers have to pen essays 

Like the rest of the country, Arkansas’ legal drinking age is 21; however, the repercussions for underage boozin’ in this state are kind of unusual. In addition to paying a fine, some minors caught drinking need to write an essay about alcohol.

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The company of young people celebrate St. Patrick's Day.VGstockstudio/Shutterstock

Maine: No drinking games

You can’t play drinking games in any of Maine’s bars. The state law prohibits “any game or contest that involves drinking,” so no beer pong here. Maine also prohibits alcohol sales before 9 a.m. on Sundays, except St. Patrick’s Day.

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Bartender hand pouring alcoholic drink in nightclub, bar or pub.Marian Weyo/Shutterstock

Tennessee: No whiskey tastings

Jack Daniel’s famous whiskey distillery is located in Moore County, a dry county in Tennessee. Up until recently, distillery guests were treated to a class of cool, mouth-watering lemonade after the tour! Fortunately, visitors are now able to have a taste of the good stuff. Bring the flavor home with one of our favorite recipes: bacon whiskey jam.

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Barman is decorating cocktail with rocket no faceMaksim Fesenko/Shutterstock

Virginia: Happy hour has rules

While Virginia law does allow happy hours, bars and restaurants are required to follow some strict rules. For example, they can only advertise with the phrases “drinks specials” or “happy hour.” Plus, two-for-one drink specials are off-limits.

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Collection of old license plates displayed on a wooden wall.Eblis/Shutterstock

New Jersey: No vanity plates

Drinking and driving should never be tolerated, but New Jersey has some pretty wacky consequences for getting behind the wheel. Not only do you (understandably) have to pay a fine, but you are also disqualified from receiving a personalized vanity license plate for the next ten years. This is the one food you have to try in every state.

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Various bottles of craft, microbrew, IPA, domestic and imported beers from around the world on shelf display in supermarket cooler.Trong Nguyen/Shutterstock

Florida: No beer sales before hurricanes

You might want to rethink drinking your way through a hurricane. Several counties in Florida have placed bans on beer sales leading up to and during a state emergency. We can appreciate Florida’s commitment to safety.

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Group of three young horses on the pastureGrigorita Ko/Shutterstock

Colorado: You have to leave horses at home 

In Colorado, it’s illegal to ride a horse under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The law may seem random at first, but it makes sense. Like cars, horses are vehicles that could seriously hurt people. Here are 50 more of the dumbest laws in America.

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Friends toasting, saying cheers holding tropical blended fruit margaritas.Cabeca de Marmore/Shutterstock

Alaska: You have to stay sober

Pace yourself, folks. It doesn’t matter whether you show up inebriated or ordered a few too many drinks after you got there—it’s illegal to be drunk in an Alaskan bar. To make matters worse, a new law suggests law authorities can arrest you and hold you in jail until you sober up. That must be one nasty hangover!

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Aerial view of Las Vegas strip in Nevada as seen at night USAf11photo/Shutterstock

Nevada: You can buy liquor at any time

Unlike Alaska, it’s actually not illegal to be publicly drunk in Nevada. According to the state, drunkenness is a health problem, not a legal woe. But Nevada isn’t doing very much to keep the booze at bay: The state lets bars stay open 24 hours and makes liquor available in grocery and convenience stores.

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An unidentified local jazz band performs in the New Orleans French QuarterGTS Productions/Shutterstock

Louisiana: Bars stay open 24/7 

It may feel like most states have cracked down on liquor laws, but anything goes in Louisiana. Take New Orleans, for example. Not only does the Big Easy permit public drinking (but only if it’s in a plastic cup), but it also allows bars to stay open 24/7. There are even drive-throughs selling daiquiris! Next, check out the strangest food laws you’ll find in every state.

Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home

Kelsey Mulvey
Kelsey Mulvey is a New York-based writer. She has written for several publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Time Out New York,,