State Legislature repeals food requirement at bars and taverns


ALBANY – The State Legislature has voted to repeal the requirement for restaurants and taverns to serve food in order for a patron to purchase an alcoholic beverage. The repeal went into effect after a vote on Wednesday.

Brian Butler, the proprietor of the Golden Rail Ale House in Newburgh and board member of the Orange County Tavern and Restaurant Association, applauded the ruling. “The vast majority of bar owners have always wanted to serve our customers safely and responsibly, but the food requirement was an overreach,” said the barkeep. “Making people order food just to get a drink was an unneeded mandate.”

State Senator Sue Serino (R-Hyde Park) voted in favor of the repeal. “Thanks to our persistence, the legislature’s supermajority has finally heeded our calls to repeal the Governor’s edict that required the purchase of food with alcoholic beverages at bars and restaurants.”

Serino spent several years working in the hospitality industry and added, “I know from experience how damaging arbitrary rules like this can be. This ridiculous rule hurt our smallest neighborhood businesses the most and repealing it is a big win for them.”

Joe Rabasco owns The Derby on Main Street in Poughkeepsie and said that the ruling will certainly improve business. “We have always had food available – even before the pandemic but forcing people to buy it was ridiculous. I look forward to serving a drink to our many customers who stop in on the way to the train, without making them order food that they were not going to eat.”