A hundred years ago today, on January 17th, 1920, the United States went completely dry as a result of the Eighteenth Amendment, which banned the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages.
Prohibition only lasted 13 years. But to mark its anniversary, here are ten of the strangest drinking laws that still ARE on the books in this country . . .
1. You can drink and drive in Mississippi. It’s the only state that doesn’t have an open-container law for passengers OR drivers. The driver’s blood alcohol content just has to stay below .08.
2. Massachusetts doesn’t have happy hours. The state forbids businesses from running happy hour specials as a public safety measure.
3. Ladies Nights are illegal in Wisconsin. It stems from a lawsuit where two men complained that women getting free drink tickets violated the public accommodation law. Ladies Nights are also banned in California and Pennsylvania.
4. There are a lot of strange liquor laws in Utah, but one of the strangest is that drinks can’t be made in the view of children. And if you’re ordering a drink at a restaurant, you MUST order food too.
5. In Washington, D.C., Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny may not be used to promote the sale or consumption of alcohol.
6. Tabs are illegal in Iowa . . . kind of. You can leave a credit card with the bartender, but you CAN’T go to a bar, order a drink, and say “put it on my tab” like Norm from “Cheers”.
7. It’s against the law in Washington to destroy a beer bottle, keg, or cask.
8. In Alaska, it’s illegal to be drunk in a bar.
9. In Idaho, towns may only have one bar per 1,500 citizens. Which means liquor licenses are pretty hard to come by, and there’s a lucrative resale market for them.
10. You can’t drink your own alcohol on an airplane. Even if you bring those mini-bottles of alcohol through TSA, the FAA prohibits you from actually drinking them.
Some airlines DO let you hand the bottle to a flight attendant so they can serve you, but it’s not a guarantee. And if you’re caught trying to open and pour one yourself, the fine can be more than ten grand.