Boston is an exciting city that over 12 million tourists visit each year. One of the premier attractions of the city is its fine ales. You may already be planning your trip to the Samuel Adams brewery or some of the city’s other awesome drinking destinations. However, it is a good idea to learn more about the state’s drinking laws first. Here are some things that you will want to know before your trip.
Understand the Legal Drinking Age
Most people assume that the legal drinking age in Massachusetts (and most other states) is 21. However, the state’s drinking laws are a bit more detailed. There are a variety of occasions when people under the age of 21 are allowed to consume alcohol in Massachusetts. Here are some exceptions that you should be aware of:
- Minors are located on public premises specifically dedicated to selling alcohol and have parental consent.
- They are on any private premises that sell alcohol with parental consent.
- They are drinking alcohol for religious or medical reasons.
The court is currently deciding whether the laws need to be clarified, because most citizens clearly aren’t aware of these exceptions. However, anyone under 21 is encouraged to speak with a lawyer before consuming alcohol anywhere in the state.
Know When Alcohol Sales Are Banned
There are a few times during the year when stores are prohibited from selling alcohol. You will want to be aware of these restrictions so that you can buy alcohol on other dates. Here are some days that you will not be able to purchase alcohol at a liquor store or bar:
- Memorial Day
- Election Day during polling hours
- Christmas Day (or the day after if Christmas was on a Sunday)
Many people are discouraged by these restrictions, but they may be overturned in the future. Massachusetts used to have pretty strict drinking laws, but they are becoming increasingly liberal with them. Until 2006, it was actually illegal to purchase liquor on a Sunday, but Mitt Romney signed a bill to overturn that restriction.
Restrictions for On-Premise Drinking
Massachusetts also has some restrictions for onsite drinking. Here are some that you will need to be aware of:
- Massachusetts doesn’t allow bars to give customers discounts on drinks during Happy Hour. However, they are allowed to offer discounts on food.
- The Alcohol Beverage Control Commission states that bars and other drinking establishments are prohibited from allowing their patrons to play drinking games. You can still play a game of beer pong with water though.
- Last call is at 2 am, but some cities may require bars to stop selling before.
It is important to be aware of these policies before starting the search for a proper pint in Boston. You may want to consider playing drinking games with your friends or buying beer at one of the state liquor stores if they are too much of a hassle. However, there are still plenty of great reasons to check out Boston’s breweries and these regulations aren’t as much of an issue when you get used to them.