Are NYC Bottomless Brunches Illegal?


A sudden announcement of bad news has taken NYC by storm this week. If you haven’t already heard, bottomless brunch may have always been illegal. According to The ABC Law in place by the SLA and a page written on February 24th by the New York City Hospitality Alliance:

“The ABC Law prohibits from selling, serving, delivering or offering to patrons an unlimited number of drinks during any set period of time for a fixed price.”

This comes as a surprise to many, if not most of the Sunday morning Bloody Mary and Mimosa-loving brunch-goers in the city. Being a topic of much controversy this week, as news is just coming in that bottomless brunch may actually be legal, we’re not sure what to believe anymore! Our resident legal writers decided to get to the ‘bottom’ of the brunch prohibition. According to the SLA and a new post written on February 26th from The New York City Hospitality Alliance:

“Serving unlimited drinks to a patron is prohibited under the Alcoholic Beverage Control law, and instances of over serving by our licensees will be investigated and prosecuted. However, there is a limited exception in the statute when the service of alcohol is incidental to the event, such as in the case of certain brunch specials. Even under these limited exceptions, licensees still have a legal obligation not to over serve patrons. The SLA will continue to take a balanced regulatory approach by allowing licensees to conduct specials where alcohol is an accompaniment, while simultaneously cracking down on specials that promote excessive drinking.”

While we’re still a little confused, we may be able to breathe a sigh of relief as we head out for our usual sunday brunch this weekend.

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