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Friday, February 27, 2015

A law even a teetotaler can drink to

Now, here's a law even a Plainfield teetotaler like myself can drink to.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli, a South Jersey Democrat, has introduced a bill in the Assembly to offer a new kind of liquor license in New Jersey.

Touting it as a "common sense" measure, Burzichelli's bill would allow restaurants which have no standard plenary retail consumption license to sell alcohol to customers at their tables -- provided there is no bar on the premises.

This is an idea that would mke sense as Plainfield works at reshaping its downtown and Netherwood TOD areas. Standard liquor licenses are scarce as hen's teeth and a constant murmur goes up from developers over the high cost of trying to bring destination dining experiences to Plainfield.

Burzichelli seems to have given the matter a lot of thought (see the Ledger story here) and addresses cost differentials for the proposed licenses, a scheme for equitable treatment of those with existing licenses, and measures to leave control of licensing in the hands of local elected officials.

There wll probably be some who object to various parts of the bill. All I can say is that my experience from my drinking days would tend to support such a bill.

I remember as a young adult living in Pennsylvania that every establishment there serving liquor had to offer a "meal" -- which in many cases simply meant a platter of ring bologna slices, cubed cheese and some crackers. But they did it and were occasionally checked by anonymous inspectors.

I also remember being nearly tackled by a bartender in Alexandria, VA, when I was taking a course at George Washington University, and started to walk away from the bar toward the dining room with my drink in my hand. Not in Virginia, you don't, I was told.

Where there's a will, there's a way.

The bill is not yet posted on the Legislature's website (here), so I was unable to see if Assemblyman Jerry Green is a co-sponsor, but it would be hard to think of him not supporting it.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Ken Donhauser said...

I commend your correct spelling of "teetotaler". You must be deadly at Scrabble.