BOSTON -- The return of happy hour may not be the taste of town anytime soon. Governor Charlie Baker has opposed bringing back happy hour in the past and recently said he willthe measure if it reaches his desk.
"I just don't think it's a good idea. The simple truth of the matter is people got over-served a lot in the old days and I believe people will continue to get over-served and there are consequences associated with that," said Baker.
Back in July, the Senate tacked language onto its economic development bill that would allow cities and towns to opt-in to offering discounted drink specials at restaurants, bars, and other establishments.
"The bill hasn't even gotten to his desk just yet, it's only passed one branch, but happy hour historically has not been something that is on the high list of restaurant priorities. It's usually driven by consumers," said Stephen Clark, President & CEO of Massachusetts Restaurant Association.
Luke Beardslee runs Back Bay Social on Boylston. He's all for it to help boost business.
"I'm for it especially coming out of COVID for restaurants it's been a huge struggle. The lunch business has not come back fully because the offices are not back at 100% yet. Having the ability to do some special on drinks and stuff would just bring people in and early and really help us recover," explained Beardslee.
Many patrons agree. "I think it's about community and I think happy hour is a great idea to bring people together again, the social aspect," said one person.
But Clark said, "Most restaurants we talked to don't want to see the return of happy hour."
It has been about 38 years since happy hour was even allowed here in Massachusetts. The ban was instituted because of a string of deadly drunk driving accidents. With the rise in rideshares like Uber and Lyft, many people believe drunk driving will be less of an issue.
"We are required to make sure we are not overserving people, to begin with. Whether we are selling drinks at half or full price," said Beardslee.
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