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April 17, 2009

Most of the mixed drinks in Baltimore are illegal

pomegranate margarita at holy frijolesGot your attention yet?

It's true. According to city liquor laws:

"No licensee shall serve more than two ounces of liquor to one person at one time for consumption on the premises."

Two ounces! How many ounces are in the average martini? More than two, most likely. How about the average double gin and tonic? Or the average double anything for that matter?

If the city enforced this law, half the bars in Baltimore would be fined or shut down. 

I spoke with Douglas Paige, the spokesman for the Board of Liquor License Commissioners (that's a fancy way of saying the Baltimore Liquor Board) to try and wrap my head around this law ...

Paige said in his 20 years with the liquor board, he has never once heard of a bar being punished for this law. In fact, he implied that it would be absurd for liquor board inspectors and police officers to enforce it.

"It's something that's on the books," Paige said. "Unless a police officer or an inspector is right there real time, how do you catch it?"

Wink, wink.

That's probably the best way to handle the law. Otherwise, it would turn this city's nightlife scene upside down.

(Baltimore Sun photo of the pomegranate margarita at Holy Frijoles by Gene Sweeney Jr.)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:11 AM | | Comments (15)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Hardly surprising law seeing as though most things are illegal in this state. I'm pretty sure making an income is illegal because the state likes to take as much of it as it can. Ba-zing! Where's my martini?

What are the half of Baltimore bars that are obeying the "law". I'd like to avoid them

MMMM Pomegranate margarita...

How could we live without places like Nevin's where you get a pint of bourbon with a little splash of ginger ale?

I don't think we could live without 'em, Pat. I don't think we could.

I mean, I won't drink a rum and coke unless I can see through it.

True story, it's also illegal to bring a lion to the theater in Baltimore.

I don't want to live in a city where you can't throw bales of hay out of a second story window. I'm moving to the county.

Newton outlawed my perpetual motion machine.

What I do in my house is my business, Sir Isaac!

I can't find it, but there is a term for laws that haven’t been enforced for a long period time, usually because the regulation is obsolete*, which when enforced, the victim usually can make a case for harassment or illegal censure.

* like it relates to horse draw carriages.

I was arrested once for this, but I didn't know why at the time. I just thought it was because it's hard to strain a cosmopolitan and keep both hands on the wheel at the same time.

Can't any worst than a news item read on the air by Jay Leno one night.
basicly, man runs red light, when pulled over, is discovered to be an one arm man on his cell phone.

If the epople were really familar with the liquor laws in Md. they would be shocked, the whole systemn needs to be reviewed. Did you know that a bar can not give away ant type of food or they can be fined for enticing a patron to drink alcohol? This is one small example and there are hundreds more just like this, they were all probably put on the books when prohibition was eliminated and they are now used just to harrass the holders of liquor licenses!

well I'll be, ducks with long pants.

JTK - that's assuming there is anything left after obammy, pelosi, dingy harry reed and barney frank are finished with their feeding frenzy.

Sam, I think you've mentioned before that one (or maybe more) members of the liquor board read this blog, so I'm hoping you or one of them might help settle a debate for me. Are there any laws on the books regarding children sitting at a bar (with their parents) if it's part of a restaurant that does not require that people be 21 to enter?

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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