Virginia lawmakers likely to ease happy hour ad regulations


Local restaurants and bars got a step closer to showcasing their happy hour menus online after the House of Delegates voted to ease restrictions on advertising drink specials.

Del. David Englin (D-45) is one of several legislators pushing to lift regulations holding Virginia barkeeps back from reaching potential customers via the Internet. The House rolled Englin’s proposal, HB 1026, into the very similar HB 470 earlier in the General Assembly session before unanimously approving the measure February 10.

Englin told reporters he wanted to give Virginia taverns the same advantage competitors in Washington and Maryland enjoy.

Current state law limits retailers’ happy hour advertising to posting signs at their establishments. If the Senate also approves the change — and Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell has his pen ready — restaurateurs can reach their happy hour customers online likely before the summer’s end.