Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

December 29, 2006

Washington D.C. Picks Tax Revenue Over Blue Laws

by Doug Mataconis

Ordinarily, you can’t buy hard liquor in Washington, D.C. on a Sunday and the bars have to close by 2pm. Conveniently, though, the City Council created an exception this year for two particular Sundays that happen to be very big for the liquor business:

Liquor stores will be open Sunday in the District, and last call won’t roll around until 4 a.m. Monday under a law that the D.C. Council approved nearly three years ago to keep tax dollars in the city on Christmas and New Year’s eves.

Normally, Sundays are days of prohibition for hard liquor in the city, and bars must stop serving alcohol by 2 a.m. weekdays. But the council amended the existing alcoholic beverage law to make exceptions for liquor stores when the two holiday eves fall on Sundays. The council also amended the law to give bars, restaurants, hotels and nightclubs extra time to serve drinks on New Year’s Eve.


There are 208 licensed, full-service liquor stores in the city, [Jeff] Coudriet [director of operations for the city's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration] said. Sunday sales are voluntary. “They don’t have to stay open. We’re not forcing them. It’s sort of at their discretion,” he said.

Why it can’t be up to their discretion for the 50 other Sundays that fall during the year ? I’m sure the fact that increased holiday alcohol sales will lead to increased tax revenue has something to do with it.

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  • Brad Warbiany

    Funny how blue laws are written in observance of the religious folks, yet one of the exceptions is Christmas? If you’re going to make an exception, why not the Super Bowl instead?

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