Cuomo Chips, the Emperor's Boat and dollar menus that include a handful of grapes won't cut it when it comes to the new law for bar and restaurants serving alcohol.

Bars and restaurants have gotten creative to satisfy the new rule requiring establishments that sell alcohol to also sell food. But the the New York Liquor Authority says it's not enough.

Sandwiches, soups or other foods similar in quality and substance like salads, wings or hotdogs must be served with any alcohol order. A bag of chips, bowl of nuts, or candy alone are not enough.

"A food item which is consistent with the food availability requirement of the license under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law” shall mean:"

  • For manufacturers with on premises service privileges: sandwiches, soups or other such foods, whether fresh, processed, pre-cooked or frozen; and/or food items intended to compliment the tasting of alcoholic beverages, which shall mean a diversified selection of food that is ordinarily consumed without the use of tableware and can be conveniently consumed, including but not limited to: cheese, fruits, vegetables, chocolates, breads, mustards and crackers
  • For on premises retailers with a food availability requirement, including restaurants and taverns: sandwiches, soups or other foods, whether fresh, processed, precooked or frozen.
  • If someone wants to order food to go, they can't even order a drink while they wait. "That is not an on-premises dining experience. A takeout customer should be encouraged to call ahead and/or wait off the premises for his/her to-go order and leave with the food and drink."

    Bars and restaurants can have free food but have to show it was served. "While a charge is not necessarily required for the food, you must have a record that food was ordered with drinks, so bills/checks need to reflect the food that was ordered and served."

    Customers don't even have to eat the food, whether it's free or not. "Food must be ordered and served. We cannot require you to force someone to eat what they have ordered."

    The State Liquor Authority is asking bar and restaurant owners to remember the purpose of the policy; to ensure customers are enjoying a sit-down dining experience among a small group with drinks, and not a drinking, bar-type experience that often involves or leads to mingling and other conduct that is non-compliant with social distancing and the use of face covering. "The spikes/resurgence of COVID-19 cases that this has caused in other states is something that New York must avoid at all costs."

    The ruling from Governor Cuomo landed him on the front of the New York Post as the Drinktator.

    The food with alcohol guidance applies to all licensed on premises establishments apart from those which do not require food as a condition of licensure (i.e., clubs, and bottle clubs).

    You can read more at sla.ny.gov.

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