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  #1  
Old 12-28-2000, 12:07 AM
Milossarian Milossarian is offline
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Yeah, I know. Because it's the law where I live (Michigan). From what I could find doing some quick internet research, it's the law in at least New York State as well.

But why is it the law?

I can at least grasp the logic of stopping our alcohol sales at 2 a.m. It's designed to curb alcohol consumption at a time when the potential for drinking and driving is up. You have people out enjoying the nightlife in bars, getting a glow on, and they might be encouraged to get even more out of control if they didn't have a cut-off point. (Which I know some states don't. I'd be interested to know if our drinking curfew makes our alcohol-related accident or fatality rates any lower than those states without one, or with a later one.)

But I have more trouble understanding the noon-on-Sunday law. I went to my grocery store last Sunday, buying lots of other groceries, and they had to put my 6-pack of beer back, because it was only 11:15 a.m.

Was the law designed way back in the 1800s so church-goers wouldn't have to see drunkards of questionable moral turpitude?* Doesn't make sense. A resourceful drunkard will just have the booze needed to get wasted on-hand and not have to go buy it Sunday morning.

The law doesn't stop anything alcohol-related. It's just an inconvenience.

*(It should be noted that I have no idea whether I just used the word "turpitude" correctly. Nor am I even sure it is an actual word. I just wanted to give it a try.)
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  #2  
Old 12-28-2000, 12:20 AM
BobT BobT is offline
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Such laws about alcohol purchase are remnants of an earlier time when temperance was a big issue along with Sabbitarianism. (Hey, there's my big word.)

In some places, even today, there is a significant portion of the population that believes that you shouldn't engage in any commercial activity on a Sunday.

The noon time was probably the result of some early 20th century or late 19th century compromise between those who wanted to sell alcohol at the regular time and those who didn't want it sold at any time on Sunday.
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  #3  
Old 12-28-2000, 12:23 AM
pkbites pkbites is offline
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Why can't I buy beer in a store after 9p.m. in Milwaukee, the drunkest place on Earth, but I can sit in a bar and drink it until 2:30a.m.? The answer is the Tavern League, a powerful political force here in the Land of Cheeseheads & beer farts. The state says beer can be sold until midnight (the League is try to change that) but they've influenced a lot of cities and towns to enact ordinances limiting beer sales at stores. They want you going to a bar to get your booze. Ironically, you can buy carry out beer (six & 12 packs) at bars here until 12mid, but only at a bar, not a store.
But as far as your area goes......I dunno!
Perhaps the Tavern Legue in your area got the law passed, thinking a lot of people buy beer and sit at home watching sports on sunday. Can't have that. If you have to go to a bar and drink, you might sit there all day and watch the game.

Or maybe 100 years ago some jughead bible thumpers didn't want folks showing up drunk for church and got the law passed.

Call your state senator or representative and asked them. It was one of them chuckle heads who passed the silly law. Demand an explination as to it's purpose.
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  #4  
Old 12-28-2000, 02:24 AM
Kubla Khan Kubla Khan is offline
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To quote When Harry Met Sally: "Because of God."

Here in Minnesota, liquor stores are closed on Sundays. I live in Duluth, and until recently, there was a city ordinance that liquor stores couldn't be open past 8 PM on weeknights.
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  #5  
Old 12-28-2000, 02:42 AM
VarlosZ VarlosZ is online now
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[Brief hijack, with apologies]

Some friends and I were in a bar in Albany, NY one night, lazily getting drunk and talking. One of us had brought a deck of cards and we started to play hearts, no money involved. When the bartender noticed, however, he told us we weren't allowed to.

Is this just bad policy on the bar's part (the place was almost empty, and we were certainly drinking our fair share) or is it New York State's bad policy (card playing and gambling are not the same thing . . . and why the hell should keno be allowed then?)?

Anyway, the answer to this is to brief to warrant it's own thread, I think, and it's related to the OP.

[/Brief hijack]
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  #6  
Old 12-28-2000, 02:43 AM
zen101 zen101 is offline
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Before I met my ex (from Indinapolis) I had never in my life heard the term "Sunday Beers". I think people on the left coast like to get drunk but still remain lucid enough to vote donw any B/S liquor laws that restrict completely the sale of booze to certain days of the week.
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  #7  
Old 12-28-2000, 04:54 AM
Adventurious82 Adventurious82 is offline
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Mostly, it appears that a lot of places with restrictive Sunday boozing laws had them made up years ago by a bunch of religious people, who always know best how others should live their lives. Politics being the way it is, most civic leaders prefer not to touch or alter any religious based laws for fear that every fanatic in the State will start calling them associates of Satan -- like most aren't already -- and might wreck their chances for reelection.

That's like where I live no bar may be within 500 feet of a church or house of worship. Around here, churches are popping up like weeds, which eventually will cause some problems. One incident that I know of dealt with a small bar selling beer and wine and making a living by selling cheap meals, tacos, hot sauce and home made beef jerky, had a church go in across the way from it.

Now, since the bar was there first, one might figure it had the priority, but it did not. Once the church was complete, the parishioners grumbled because on Sunday afternoons while they did churchly things, other folks went to the bar and consumed beers. So the county went in and shut them down!

A small store is still there, which sells 40s and beer after 1:00 on Sunday afternoon, but no one can sit there and drink. The bar moved into the next county, well away from any churches.
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  #8  
Old 12-28-2000, 05:01 AM
Lsura Lsura is offline
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Blue Laws are a holdover. In many places they have been changed, but here in the south they are still pretty strong. Basically, people were supposed to be in church on Sunday, and most people were.

Here in Georgia, you can buy no alcohol on Sunday. This has been interesting lately, because all the grocery stores have signs reminding you that Near Year's eve and Christmas Eve are on Sundays this year, so you should plan ahead.

When I lived in both Mississippi and Tennessee most stores didn't open until noon or 1PM on Sunday. The exceptions were convenience stores and grocery stores. The convenience stores did not have the square footage to be affected by the law, and the grocery stores were exempted. Included in the exemption were the "super" stores-such as Wal-Mart-that included a full grocery.
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  #9  
Old 12-28-2000, 07:43 AM
Una Persson Una Persson is offline
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In Kansas you can buy no alcohol on Sunday. And this, very stupdily IMO, includes non-alcoholic cereal malt drinks as well.
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  #10  
Old 12-28-2000, 07:53 AM
nineiron nineiron is offline
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Here in Western Massachusetts, there is a "no alcohol sold on Sundays" rule, but this only applies to stores, not bars (this seems common in other states, from what people have said). However, lately they have been loosening up a bit in two circumstances:
1. Stores within a certain distance of state borders can get a special exception because they have to compete with stores in states where sales on Sundays are legal.
2. Sundays around the holiday season are, for some reason, exceptions as well.
Eventually, these blue laws will all be repealed. But you still can't buy Jarts (oops, wrong thread).
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  #11  
Old 12-28-2000, 08:14 AM
ASD ASD is offline
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PA--no buying alcohol on Sundays.

wine and liquor only from state run stores (I believe the hours vary but I've never seen one open past 9 pm)

cases and kegs of beer only from distributors

six packs only at six pack shops (which have the widest range of hours but limit the number of sixpacks that can be purchased by an individual in one visit)

bars close at 2 am.

It made shopping for parties in college a pain as you invariably had to visit 3 different stores to get everything you needed. I still get a kick out of being able to buy a bottle of wine along with my groceries now that I've moved out of state.
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  #12  
Old 12-28-2000, 08:18 AM
Needs2know Needs2know is offline
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Only in my small town...no alcohol sold after 12:00 p.m. on Saturday...bars or stores...none sold on Sunday until after 1:30 p.m.

But I can drive 5 minutes away into the county and get a 6 pack before noon.

Needs2know
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  #13  
Old 12-28-2000, 09:16 AM
toadspittle toadspittle is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by VarlosZ
[Brief hijack, with apologies]

Some friends and I were in a bar in Albany, NY one night, lazily getting drunk and talking. One of us had brought a deck of cards and we started to play hearts, no money involved. When the bartender noticed, however, he told us we weren't allowed to.

Is this just bad policy on the bar's part (the place was almost empty, and we were certainly drinking our fair share) or is it New York State's bad policy (card playing and gambling are not the same thing . . . and why the hell should keno be allowed then?)?

Anyway, the answer to this is to brief to warrant it's own thread, I think, and it's related to the OP.

[/Brief hijack]
My guess is bad policy. My friends and I have played cards (not for money) in bars here in NYC, with no trouble. But we've also played cards (not for money) in Pennsylvania and been told to stop.

I think some bar owners are just nervous. Weird, though, since I've often seen people betting over dart and billiard games in such bars, and no one stops that.
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  #14  
Old 12-28-2000, 09:32 AM
Ethilrist Ethilrist is offline
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Here in St. Paul, I can go to a grocery store 24/7 and buy bud, miller, and Meisterbrau by the pallet, but I can't buy a single bottle of anything worth drinking after 8 p.m. or on Sundays, because they only sell nasty, evil-smelling beer in the grocery stores. Besides, it's too cold for fizzball.
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  #15  
Old 12-28-2000, 10:03 AM
kpm kpm is offline
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Until 1978 you could not buy a mixed drink at a bar or restaurant in NC. You had to bring your own booze in a bottle from home and they would sell you coke or something else to mix with it. Before they changed the law , some religious people said that mixed drinks would lead to "a bar on every corner" and some other nonsense.

Even now places that sell mixed drinks must bring in at least 51% of their total income from food sales. If they don't meet that level they must be a "private club" to sell mixed drinks. That means they have to charge a membership fee which is normally a buck a year. You have to wait 1 day to be a member, but you can get in as a guest of a current member.
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  #16  
Old 12-28-2000, 10:31 AM
AVSC916 AVSC916 is offline
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I heard from a friend of mine who had moved into Georgia and was stunned when he mentioned that he lived in a dry county, where no bars nor booze selling was allowed at all. Since it was not illegal to own or drink the stuff, everyone ran across the county line, where smart businessmen had placed bars and package stores, bought their booze in bulk and went back home.

I thought the concept of a dry county to be as archaic as using stocks for punishment in the town square. He said everyone he knows drinks, but the city rulers will not change the dry law, enacted some time around prohibition.

I figure the moonshiners are doing a boom business there.
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  #17  
Old 12-28-2000, 01:05 PM
Lissa Lissa is offline
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Has anyone ever tried to challenge the Sunday liquor laws on a Church-and-State basis?

Seems to me that it would be a valid suit.
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  #18  
Old 12-28-2000, 01:20 PM
starfish starfish is offline
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Dry counties are still common. I've heard that Jack Daniels is made in a dry county in TN.

When I came to Houston in 1978, there were areas that were dry. The dry/wet decision was made at the precinct level, not the county level.

The dry areas do not prohibit alcohol comsuption, they just try to get people to drink somewhere else. This is similar to no alcohol in city parks or at some sections of the beach.

Separation of church and state can not be used to fight these laws. The laws do not regulate religion, or to most people, anything religous, in any way.
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  #19  
Old 12-28-2000, 01:34 PM
BobT BobT is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lissa
Has anyone ever tried to challenge the Sunday liquor laws on a Church-and-State basis?

Seems to me that it would be a valid suit.
Nope, won't work. The 21st Amendment explicitly gives states the right to regulate the sale of alcohol.

Your best hope would be for the Federal government to do something along the lines of the minimum drinking age, where highway funds are withheld if you don't have a minimum drinking age of 21. That approach has been upheld by the Supreme Court.
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  #20  
Old 12-28-2000, 02:02 PM
minty green minty green is offline
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The 21st Amendment gives states the right to regulate alcohol, but it's not clear that courts would interpret #21 as abrogating the 1st Amendment prohibition on establishment of religion.

I seem to recall a number of lawsuits years ago challenging blue laws in general (not just alcohol restrictions) on church-state grounds, but they weren't generally very successful. Courts managed to rationalize the laws on all sorts of non-religious grounds, such as providing a day of rest for retail employees.

Here in Texas, we had a blue law that required stores (not including grocery stores) to choose between shutting down on Saturday or Sunday. Naturally, 99% of them chose to stay closed on Sunday. Man, Christmas shopping was a bitch back then. But the Legislature finally moved into the 18th century and dumped the blue law in 1985 or so.

However, Texas liquor stores are still required to close on Sunday. No Saturday/Sunday option, either. If all you sell is beer and wine, Sunday's okay, but anything harder and you're closed. I think beer and wine sales also start later (noon?) on Sunday than the rest of the week, but seriously, how bad do you have to want that Old Milwaukee on Sunday morning to give a rat's patootie?
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  #21  
Old 12-28-2000, 04:48 PM
ryan ryan is offline
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Quote:
originally posted by VarlosZ[Brief hijack, with apologies]

Some friends and I were in a bar in Albany, NY one night, lazily getting drunk and talking. One of us had brought a deck of cards and we started to play hearts, no money involved. When the bartender noticed, however, he told us we weren't allowed to.

Is this just bad policy on the bar's part (the place was almost empty, and we were certainly drinking our fair share) or is it New York State's bad policy (card playing and gambling are not the same thing . . . and why the hell should keno be allowed then?)?

Anyway, the answer to this is to brief to warrant it's own thread, I think, and it's related to the OP.

[/Brief hijack]
As I remember from reading the State Liquor Authority Handbook we have the bar I work at, it is GAMBLING that is illegal in a bar.
However, speaking as a bar manager, I will usually not let anyone play cards in the bar as it is one more possible area to be hasseled by the Liquor Authority and/or Police.The burden becomes ours to prove "we" weren't gambling.
Still, some nights are deserted, and you DO get bored....

BTW VarlosZ, I'm from Albany. Which bar were you in?
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  #22  
Old 12-28-2000, 08:41 PM
Dandmb50 Dandmb50 is offline
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We can't do it Sunday but Saturday at 7am

Here in Toronto there is one state store as you call it that sells liquor/beer starting at 7am.
It is the only store in all of Ontario and is close by the market which opens at 6am on Saturday mornings.
I have never understood it myself because if people just get organized I could have any amount of booze at home when I want to drink it, and after all we are adults.
But times change and they have over the years.
I can remember here in Toronto when I was a kid men and women couldn't even drink in the same place/pub there were even different doors to the same building.
Sundays was really a joke you were not allowed to drink anything on Sundays without having something to eat at the same time.
But now that drinking/gambling and shopping is allowed on Sundays it has not affected the church goers at all. If they wish to go to church go ahead since maybe others wish to shop or drink, after all we are all adults and able to choose what we want.
Maybe someday soon the liquor laws will change as well....
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  #23  
Old 12-29-2000, 10:14 PM
FunkDaddy FunkDaddy is offline
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Turpitude

means 'vileness' - from latin 'turpis', meaning (no surprises coming here) vile, or disgusting.
Just an aside.

FD.
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  #24  
Old 12-29-2000, 10:27 PM
MsRobyn MsRobyn is offline
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When I visited my parents in San Antonio a few weeks ago, I went to the grocery store to get a six-pack of Shiner Bock to bring back for a friend. I don't drink, and rarely buy alcoholic beverages of any kind, so I'm not familiar with blue laws.

I got up to the cash register and was told that I could not buy the beer. It was a little after 11 in the morning on Sunday. I ended up having to make a separate run for the beer after noon.

Stupid, isn't it.

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  #25  
Old 12-30-2000, 03:18 AM
lawoot lawoot is offline
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Don't forget that the 'Blue Laws' don't lways relate to only alcohol. where I went to college (Greenville, NC) in the mid eighties the laws extended to hardware stores, and other merchants as well. The only type of businesses that could be open on Sundays were Restaurants, Grocery stores and newsstands. And they could keep you from buying hardware-type items in the gracery stores as well. It was finally repealed (85, I believe) as it was only in the city, and the mall was OUTSIDE of the city limits, and the local merchants weren't too happy about that. The town meeting where they repealed it was interesting. We had Christian groups up there saying that the city was going to be like 'Sodom and Gommorrah' if they repealed this law. I got up and stated the non-christian point of view, and was rebuked by the one member of the council who didn't vote for the repeal as being 'ignorant'.
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  #26  
Old 12-30-2000, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Needs2know
Only in my small town...no alcohol sold after 12:00 p.m. on Saturday...bars or stores...none sold on Sunday until after 1:30 p.m.

But I can drive 5 minutes away into the county and get a 6 pack before noon.

Needs2know

Wait, so you're saying bars in your town aren't allowed to be open on Saturday night?
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  #27  
Old 12-30-2000, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by lawoot
Don't forget that the 'Blue Laws' don't lways relate to only alcohol. where I went to college (Greenville, NC) in the mid eighties the laws extended to hardware stores, and other merchants as well.
I think technically a "Blue Law" refers to any law that uses the moral beliefs of individuals to regulate behavior seen as "immoral" (although, technically, aren't all laws based on morality? ANYWAY...). You often hear anti-pornography types referred to as "blue-noses". Are there any state laws that regulate when porn can be sold? Can you only buy a Hustler magazine on certain days of the week?
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  #28  
Old 12-30-2000, 07:04 PM
delphica delphica is online now
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Some friends and I just had a discussion about this, in a bar, of course.

In NY State, a restaurant cannot sell you an alcoholic beverage before noon on Sundays. The only alcoholic beverages sold in grocery stores are beer and malt drinks, and they also cannot sell them to you before noon on Sunday. Liquor stores, which in NY State are the only source to buy bottled liquor or bottled wine, are closed on Sundays.

Would there be a public outcry if these blue laws were repealed? Probably not. So why aren't they?

What we came up with:

1. Restaurants aren't losing much, if any, business by not serving before noon on Sundays. If your inlaws are in town, and you are taking them to brunch, you can either suffer through without cocktails, or schedule your brunch for later in the day. There don't seem to be many potential brunchers staying home in order to get tanked (although they don't have my in-laws, either).

2. The competitors of liquor stores are other liquor stores. Since they are all closed, liquor store owners are not losing business to the competition on Sundays. Would business on Sundays cover the cost of hiring staff and keeping the store open, if the law were to change? Would a small, family-run liquor store feel pressured to stay open on Sundays to compete with larger liquor stores? Maybe some owners like having a mandated day off.

3. The people who are the most affected (i.e. annoyed) by this are people like me, who forget about this law until Superbowl Sunday, when I realize I don't have enough tequila in the house. While I am annoyed, I am not starting a consumers' action group for the purpose of lobbying NY state, either.

I firmly believe that if either the restaurant owners association or the liquor store owners association felt that they were losing substantial business, there would be more pressure on the state to change the law. A large response on the part of the consumer might have some weight if it could be organized, but how are you going organize a group of people whose primary goal is to find a cocktail on Sunday morning? Who would fund this? Would they meet in bars, and if so, could they stay sober long enough to get any business done?

Again, these are just the ideas we were kicking around on this same topic. One of the people in the group is the owner of a tavern, btw.
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  #29  
Old 12-31-2000, 11:31 AM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
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So go to church. It'll help pass the time until noon, and you can pick up a case of suds on the way home.
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  #30  
Old 12-31-2000, 03:10 PM
manhattan manhattan is offline
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Well, sure, but ever since Vatican II, it's been nearly impossible to find a parish with real wine to tide you over 'till noon.
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Old 12-31-2000, 03:56 PM
MsRobyn MsRobyn is offline
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My ship used to use real kosher wine for communion.

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  #32  
Old 12-31-2000, 05:20 PM
Mr2001 Mr2001 is offline
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Liquor stores apparently aren't open on Sunday at all in Washington (or at least Seattle)... and last night when we discovered the sorry state our New Year's Eve cabinet was in, it was too late.
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  #33  
Old 01-02-2001, 01:04 PM
beergeek279 beergeek279 is offline
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For New Years Eve, I realized I didn't have any liquor and the state liquor stores in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania were closed, so I took a little trip to Wheeling, West Virginia (about 30 miles away). I went to the liquor store on Wheeling Island as that was the one I knew from my trips to Wheeling Downs and went in.............only to discover that no liquor sales were allowed on Sunday ;( (and also discovered that liquor there is much more expensive than in PA.....a fifth of Jack was 22 dollars compared to 17 at the Wine and Spirits shops). I went over the bridge into Ohio to try my luck there. Well, I discovered that not only do they not sell hard liquor on Sundays (not even the 21% watered-down they have at grocery stores) but no wine either.

On the way, I thought about whether they could at least make special exemptions to stay open for Sundays before holidays (such as New Years, Christmas and Thanksgiving) or for Super Bowl Sunday......is this possible?
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Old 01-02-2001, 01:26 PM
CC CC is offline
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2 more cents

...and to all of the above, you can add the city of Evanston, Illinois, the very home of the WCTU, and a town that had been dry since its inception. Holiday Inn came in here several years ago, but only with the provision that they could get a liquor license - I belive it was the first one ever issued by the city. That led to what is now a pretty nice little boom in restaurants here. However, we still have remnants of the blue laws: in most places that sell liquor, you have to order food, too. You can't just stop in for a drink. And some of the establishments have very nice atmosphere, lovely bars for sitting and chatting, etc. But, when you go in, they tell you you have to order food or no booze. (The WCTU, for the ininformed, is the Women's Christian Temperance Union.) The missionaries strike again.
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Old 01-02-2001, 02:16 PM
John Bredin John Bredin is offline
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Re. a "dry" Evanston. The temperance ladies -- many of whom supported it for sociological (leftist) instead of, or in addition to, religious (rightist) reasons, incidentally -- surely were the main cause of Evanston's long "dry" history. However, I would think the presence of Northwestern University would have had something to do with it as well. In other words, the "townies" didn't want the "gownies" getting drunk and raising hell in their town. The logic of the city leaders was probably something like: if you college kids want to get drunk, hop the L -- or walk -- across the border to Chicago, but you're not going to do it here. Town-gown issues have a LONG history in Evanston, as both started in the 1850s.
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Old 01-02-2001, 02:56 PM
screech-owl screech-owl is offline
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If I remember the facts correctly:

Orange County has a not-before-noon law for beer and wine sales on Sunday (beer and wine can be purchased in the grocery stores, and the liquor stores don't open until after noon anyway). Osceola County has a not-before 1 pm law for the grocery stores (not sure about the liquor store openings there). Osceola County also has a law on the books stating that if a place sells alcohol, it must be open for lunch and dinner (so the establishment is not just a 'bar'); most are open for lunch, being a heavy tourist area, however, several restaurants and dinner 'theme' shows operate in complete disregard of the county law, usually opening after 4 pm, or only for the scheduled show.

Also, Orange County has a minimum 1,000 foot radius around churches and schools, banning alcohol sale in that area. This led to a really nasty situation recently in Winter Park when CostCo built one of their monstrous warehouses and found it was a few feet within the 'no-alcohol zone' (there was a school nearby). They could not even sell alcohol from the other end of the building because part of the building was within that zone. Home office was not happy and claimed ingnorance of the law, but in effect, that location is a dry CostCo with no alcohol sales at all. There may still be on-going negotions, but last I heard, change didn't sound promising.
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