New York’s State Liquor Authority has issued a warning to a restaurant after it began selling 25-cent martinis and Manhattans to customers in an effort to lure them in.
Anton’s Cafe and Wine Bar in the West Village announced earlier this month that it was reintroducing 25-cent martinis and Manhattans for customers every weekday lunch during January.
“Not a typo. Actually $0.25 for a full cocktail. And stay tuned for the imminent return of bottled cocktails…delivery and take away. Cheers!” the wine bar said on Instagram.
However, the discounted drinks offer was apparently in violation of a State Liquor Authority (SLA) law that prohibits businesses from serving free alcohol or discounted drinks priced at under half of their original price.
On Saturday, Anton’s chef and co-owner Nick Anderer said that the discounted drinks offer had come to an abrupt end after he was made aware of the violation.
“Due to an obscure NY State liquor law, of which we were completely unaware, and for which we received no warning or notice, we can no longer offer 25 cent Martinis and Manhattans,” Anderer wrote on Instagram.
“Starting next week, and for the remainder of the month, as per mandate from a State Liquor Authority official, we will be offering $9 Martinis and Manhattans for lunch,” the chef said.
“Apparently, ‘special’ prices on liquor/wine cannot be offered any lower than 50 percent of an establishment’s regular pricing. Wish us luck as we battle through a pending SLA case…just when we thought all the bureaucratic hurdles were behind us…And pls don’t cancel your lunch reservations…laissez les bons temps rouler!” Anderer said.
According to state law, licensees are prohibited from “selling, serving, delivering or offering to patrons an unlimited number of drinks during any set period of time for a fixed price,” or “from creating drink specials which, in the judgment of the Authority, attempt to circumvent the law.”
“This includes offerings of free drinks, or multiple drinks 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.”
An SLA spokesperson told The Epoch Times that it issued the restaurant with a warning.
“The SLA did not bring charges against this licensee. Following complaints about 25 cent martinis, SLA Investigators reached out to the licensee to issue a warning and remind them of their obligations,” the spokesperson said.
“In order to prevent over-service, the ABC Law prohibits licensees from offering unlimited drinks. The SLA has long considered drink specials that are priced lower than one-half of the businesses’ regular price for the same drink to constitute the type of offering the law prevents.”
The Alcoholic Beverage Control law was enacted in 1934 “for the purpose of fostering and promoting temperance in their consumption and respect for and obedience to law.”
“The SLA has long considered drink specials that are priced lower than one-half of the businesses’ regular price for the same drink to constitute the type of offering the law prevents. Following complaints about 25 cent martinis, SLA Investigators reached out to the licensee to issue a warning and remind them of their obligations,” the SLA spokesperson said.
Anton’s Cafe did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Update: This article was updated with a statement from New York’s State Liquor Authority.