Late Monday afternoon, a slew of press reports began circulating that drink offers (particularly bottomless drinks) at brunch were illegal.
This is not true. NY ABC Law § 117-a has been interpreted by the SLA to allow for unlimited drinks at brunch because they are incidental to the brunch event.
The State Liquor Authority (SLA), as reported by the Business Insider, stated that:
Serving unlimited drinks to a patron is prohibited under the Alcoholic Beverage Control law, and instances of over serving by our licensees will be investigated and prosecuted. However, there is a limited exception in the statute when the service of alcohol is incidental to the event, such as in the case of certain brunch specials. Even under these limited exceptions, licensees still have a legal obligation not to over serve patrons. The SLA will continue to take a balanced regulatory approach by allowing licensees to conduct specials where alcohol is an accompaniment, while simultaneously cracking down on specials that promote excessive drinking.
Based on the SLA’s statement, unlimited/bottomless brunch mimosas and Bloody Mary cocktails are completely legal for restaurants to promote and sell.
You must, of course, continue to ensure you do not serve inebriated customers. SLA fines for that violation can be steep.
Our team will continue to monitor the news and report back any additional details.