The United States of Varying Liquor Laws
Is anyone else fascinated by how each State in the Union has their own interpretations of how to distribute liquor to its citizens in a responsible manner?
I’ve been in Myrtle Beach about a year now trying to comprehend South Carolina’s odd regulations, and I would like to offer a primer to any golfer who will be visiting for the first time. I would hate to see any of you go thirsty and sober due to negligence.
First of all, the only place you can buy hard liquor - other than a bar/restaurant - is at an “ABC Package Store". The storefront is always in red and white, and the sign is in small letters, like it’s the adult world’s dirty little secret.
The most perplexing thing to me is that these “Package Stores” all close at 7 p.m. (do people seriously think to buy liquor during the daytime? I don’t think I’ve ever had the desire to buy a fifth of Jack before midnight, personally).
These package stores are closed all day Sunday, but beer flows free everywhere else.
I’ve also come to discover that while bars are required to stop serving alcohol at 2 a.m. Saturday night (Sun. AM), there are ways around it. For instance, one night club in particular, Derriere’s on Mr. Joe White Ave. has a B.Y.O.B. policy and stays open well into the wee morning hours. And you can go to any gas station or 24-hour Wal-Mart or Bi-Lo and buy anything from a 40 o.z. to a case of Keystone Light, then bring it to the club and bring with you what you haven’t finished.
These laws are much different from say Michigan, where I grew up. Liquor could be sold just about everywhere until 2 a.m. seven days a week, but you couldn’t buy cold beer at gas stations for what we thought was common sense. That was something those Neanderthals in Ohio allowed. In Indiana, where I went to college, you couldn’t buy beer or liquor on Sundays. Of course, we would always forget about this, and someone would always be tagged to make the two-hour drive to Illinois to pick up a few cases (this was when gas was $1.40 a gallon).
In Florida, it varies by county. When I lived in Leon Co., if we wanted to buy beer after 2 a.m., we had to drive across county lines to the nearest gas station that sold beer later.
In Chicago, there are loads of smaller restaurants that don’t serve alcohol. It’s all BYOB with a small “corking” fee usually. I’m a huge fan of this, because your bottle of Little Penguin doesn’t go from $6 to $30 just to cover the restaurant’s liquor license.
To offer a little international insight, not a minute goes by in Prague where beer and liquor is not only available for purchase, but generally encouraged (I’m under the impression there is no such thing as a “liquor license” there, because practically everywhere has at least a little cooler of beer for purchase, even at the fruit store, or the little electronics shop). Ordering beer with breakfast is not out of line. Anytime I walked by a Non-Stop at 7 a.m., it was usually filled with grizzled old Czechs taking down .5 liter Pilsners. Sometimes it was a pit stop as they took their dog for a morning walk.
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