About Happy Hour

(235 ILCS 5/6-28)

The Happy Hour Law PROHIBITS the following:

  • Serving two or more drinks to one person for consumption by that person (exception for wine by the bottle or carafe).

Promotions such as 2-for-1 drinks, or any type of promotion which discounts drinks at a 2-for-1 or greater (3-1) price, are prohibited.

  • Serving an unlimited number of drinks during a set period of time for a fixed price (the exception is for private functions** not open to the public).

"$5 all you can drink, " "$5 unlimited beer from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.," etc., promotions are prohibited.

Effective 1/1/96 Private Function** is defined per 235 ILCS 5/1-3.36:

**"Private Function" means a prearranged private party, function or event for a specific social or business occasion, either by invitation or reservation and not open to the general public, where the guests in attendance are served in a room or rooms designated and used exclusively for the private party, function or event.

  • Reducing or fluctuating prices during normal operating hours (from open to close). Prices must be the same for all customers, for all purchases for the whole day.

Brand "x" beer is $1.50 from 5-7 p.m.; Monday is Ladies' Night -- All Drinks for Women are $1 specials are prohibited.

  • Increasing the volume of alcoholic liquor contained in a drink or the size of a drink, without proportionally increasing the price regularly charged for that drink on that given day.
  • Promotions such as: 8oz. beer is $1.00 and 16oz. beer is $1.25 (double the alcohol means double the price), or Double the shot in your drink for $.25 more are prohibited.
    • Any game or contest which involves drinking alcoholic liquor or awards drinks as prizes.

    A game of anyone drinking four shots of liquor within ten minutes gets a free t-shirt is not allowed.

    • Advertising, on or off premises, any of the practices prohibited by this law.

    The Happy Hour Law ALLOWS The following:

    • Selling pitchers (or the equivalent, including but not limited to buckets, carafes or bottles) of alcohol, customarily sold in that manner and delivered to 2 or more persons.
    • Offering free food or entertainment.
    • Including drinks as part of a meal package.
    • Increasing drink prices in lieu of cover charge to offset the cost of special entertainment not regularly scheduled.
  • All documents available for download on this system are in Portable Document Format (PDF) and require the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.

    Download about...Happy Hour Law
    Happy Hour Q & A

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