Drinkers, bartenders happy about Virginia’s new Happy Hour rules

RICHMOND, Va. -- Back home in his native New York, Stephen Deraffele had no problem figuring out the best Happy Hour specials.

"It was advertised," Deraffele said.

But when he moved, he soon learned that was not the case in Virginia.

"It was very confusing. I couldn't find the specials anywhere," Deraffele said. "You don't want to drive around all day looking for the Happy Hour."

Stephen Deraffele at Bingo Beer Co. in Richmond.

Stephen Deraffele at Bingo Beer Co. in Richmond.

Virginia law prohibited bars and restaurants from advertising Happy Hour specials.

"We can't even tell them over the phone," Robert Shepherd, a Bartender at Bingo Beer Company in Richmond, said.

That changed July 1, after the Virginia General Assembly voted to change the law. Now bars can advertise Happy Hour specials on flyers, posters, social media, and their website. Those ads can include times, prices, and specific drinks.

"It feels good to finally be able to say it," Shepherd said. "I think it's great, it's going to help a lot of places advertise their Happy Hours and get more people in during certain times."

Robert Shepherd, a Bartender at Bingo Beer Company in Richmond.

There are still some limitations. Happy Hour may not be offered between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m., and specials cannot include two for one or bottomless drink specials.

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