Change Could Be Coming for New York's Blue Laws

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Blue Laws in New York State prohibit buying a beer Sunday mornings. 

"It's Sunday morning. Everyone wants to come in and enjoy a beer," said Steven Rose, a bartender at Wolff's Biergarten in Albany. "Every day I work on a Sunday, the most answered question is we don't serve until 12 o'clock on a Sunday.

Blue Laws are in effect all across New York state with a couple of businesses being exempt because of special permits. However, at Wolff's Biergarten in Albany you will likely be enjoying a coffee rather than a beer until noon. 

"Sunday morning water and coffee is fine and then maybe a beer after," Albany resident Jason Allendorph said. 

After 12 p.m. Wolff's Biergarten is filled with beer lovers watching soccer games and enjoying that brew that bartender Steven Rose wishes they could have ordered sooner.

"A law that really hasn't been changed in 80 years with how much we've progressed should definitely at least have been looked at a few times," Rose said. 

Lawmakers are trying to make changes to the Blue Laws, altering that forbidden time to allow alcohol sales after 8 a.m. on Sundays.

Assembly member John McDonald says it's a change that's long overdue.

"We as society have demonstrated that we can be responsible with alcohol consumption. I think it's time for the Blue Laws to change. It makes perfect sense," McDonald said. 

McDonald expects legislation to make those amendments soon, and Wolff's Biergarten hopes for the same. The owner says he estimates the bar loses between $30,000 and $40,000 each year in sales because of the Blue Laws. In the meantime they'll keep those early bird customers happy with some brunch and warm coffee.

"It's no problem waiting. I mean if that's the worse thing to happen to people that drink then hat's not too bad," Allendorph said.

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