Late-night liquor regulation gains momentum in Virginia Senate

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – A new Virginia Senate bill could keep bar patrons from ordering a cocktail past a certain time. Some Richmond restaurant owners are calling the legislation bad for business.

The proposed legislation, Senate Bill 1216, would ban liquor sales after a restaurant’s kitchen closes for the night. If approved, restaurant owners would face the costly decision of whether to pay kitchen staff to stay late or to shut their bars down early.

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Introduced by Republican senator Bill DeSteph, the bill passed unanimously through committee on Monday and through the senate on Thursday.

“When our full kitchen is operating, we have about four to five people working,” explained Mac McCormack, owner of McCormack’s Whisky Bar in the Fan. “That’s almost 100 dollars an hour in labor.”

McCormack’s usually shuts its kitchen down at 10 p.m. and offers a limited menu until the bar closes at 2 a.m.

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“It just seems to me like the state is requiring restaurants to increase their food labor by 30 to 35 percent,” McCormack told 8News.

Senator DeSteph’s office has not returned 8News calls for comment on the bill, which is headed for the House of Delegates in February.

Read the full text of SB 1216 here.

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