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August 12, 2020
Turns Out, Boston Bars Can’t Just Serve Pretzels With Booze And Call It A Day
Here’s what that means for you.
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Governor Baker was pretty unhappy last week with the number of people throwing large parties within the state. In his briefing, he also reiterated that bars and “bars masquerading as restaurants” were not allowed to open until Phase 4 - essentially when there’s a vaccine available. You can watch the whole briefing here, but if you have better ways to spend 40 minutes, then read our short summary of what his announcement really means for you and your favorites places to drink that aren’t your couch.

What’s all the fuss about?

In Massachusetts, we’re currently in Phase 3 of the reopening plan. That means that restaurants are allowed to open for socially-distanced outdoor and indoor dining. Bars, which technically don’t serve food, have to remain closed in this phase.

Have some bars been open?

Some spots have been serving potato chips and bagged pretzels to justify being open. These are what Baker has termed “bars masquerading as restaurants.” In order to truly qualify as a restaurant, food has to be prepared on-site and have the right type of operating license.

Wait, potato chips don’t count as food either?

Mom always told you so, but now Charlie Baker has reaffirmed her opinion.

What does this mean for breweries?

A number of breweries either don’t have kitchens on-site, or operate in a grey area where a different spot serves their food. Does a food truck count as food on-site? It’s currently unclear, and there’s been a scramble to figure it all out - with lots of lawyers involved.

Will anything change with ordering alcohol?

The need to order food when purchasing alcohol will now be more strictly enforced - if you have a party of four, there will have to be enough food for four people. For example, Boston.com reports that at bars within Time Out Market, customers will have to show a receipt from a food vendor before placing a drink order.

Do I have to keep ordering food?

At the moment, you only have to get food with the first round of drinks. Yes, we know this doesn’t make any logical sense since food is probably more beneficial after a third round, but we’re just telling you the rules.

What about to-go cocktails?

Thankfully, the government hasn’t taken those away yet. You’ll just have to get some real food as well, but hey, at least you’ll be supporting the restaurants. You can read all the rules regarding to-go cocktails here.

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