The New York Criminal Law Blog

Are Bottomless Mimosas Legal in NYC?

Have you heard the terrifying news that bottomless mimosa brunches are actually not legal in New York City?

Before you grab your pearls in sheer horror at the very thought of Sundays sans mimosas, calm down and raise your glass.

Mimosas are legal, thanks to a nifty legal loophole.

Alcoholic Beverage Control Law

Serving unlimited drinks to a patron at a fixed price is prohibited under New York City's Alcoholic Beverage Control law.

That means anyone with a liquor license -- including businesses, party organizers and promoters -- can't typically offer, sell, serve, or deliver an unlimited number of drinks to a patron during any set period of time for a fixed price.

You also can't discount drinks in a way that would basically circumvent the rule. That includes offering multiple drinks either for free or for the price of a single drink, or for a low initial price followed by a price increment per hour or other period of time.

Fortunately, as Gothamist correctly rejoiced: bottomless mimosas at brunch are legal after all. This is because they fit under a special booze rule.

Drinking Events

This city loves drinking events so much that it carved out a special protection for boozy shindigs.

More specifically, the statute includes a limited exemption to businesses when the service of alcohol is incidental to the event. As you are well aware, the bottomless mimosa is a cornerstone of brunch in the city. Let's be real: a brunch special is not a brunch special without a bottomless mimosa.

If you're worried about open bars, you can rest assured the law does not apply to private functions not opened to the public, such as weddings, banquets, or receptions.

It's just another reason to love NYC. Its laws love day drinking events as much as you do (well, almost).

Just make sure you use the brunch place's bathroom. Keep it classy.

Cheers and clinks all around!

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