A legislative bill by state Rep. John Payne, R-Dauphin was unanimously approved by the state’s House Liquor Control Committee and now moves to the full House for consideration. The bill would allow the restaurant and hospitality industry in Pennsylvania to have longer “happy hours”. The bill is aimed at giving restaurants and bars greater flexibility and would also allow them to sell more wine to patrons for off premise consumption at offsite catering events.
Currently, “happy hours” are limited to two consecutive hours per day, with a 14 hour per week limit. The proposed changes would allow establishments to hold happy hours up to 14 hours a day but still be limited to not more than 14 hours a week. The 14 hours could be divided up however the proprietor wants thus allowing for greater flexibility. Happy hours would remain prohibited after midnight.
Under current law a restaurant with a liquor license cannot serve alcohol at off site catered events. The proposed legislative change would allow a restaurant’s liquor license to be valid for off premise catering. The proposed changes would not effect dry communities. Serving alcohol in dry communities would remain prohibited.
Finally, the proposed legislation would allow a patron to buy up to three bottles of unopened wine and take it home. Albeit this can be routinely a more expensive way to buy wine, proponents of the bill believe this change allows the customer a way to buy those “hard to find” wines.
In that the proposed legislation House Bill 148 is aimed at modernizing the state’s liquor code, Payne’s proposal has the support of the Pennsylvania Tavern and Restaurant Associations.