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Let Sunday Brunchers Start Drinking at 8 a.m., Cuomo-Appointed Group Says

The working group also suggested creating a permit system for pre-noon sales of alcohol on Sundays

[Roberta's, during brunch]
[Roberta's, during brunch]
Daniel Krieger

Brunch, a weekend-only meal where it's societally acceptable to consume alcoholic beverages in the morning, has long faced a steep hurdle in New York: it's not actually legal to serve alcohol in the morning on Sundays. That might soon change.

According to a report released today by the "Alcoholic Beverage Control Law Working Group," an industry panel created by Governor Andrew Cuomo to advise the state on overhauling its Byzantine booze regulations, restaurants and other establishments should be allowed to serve beer, wine, and cocktails up to four hours earlier on Sundays.

The group issued two specific proposals. First: Only prohibit alcohol sales before 8 a.m. on Sundays, instead of before noon. Second: Create a permit system for Sunday morning sales, either for special events, or on a calendar year basis, or both.

The report suggests that Sunday football and European soccer might've played a role in this proposal. Here's what the authors had to say:

One recent event brought considerable publicity to this issue. The Buffalo Bills football team played a game in London. Given the time differences, the game was televised starting at 9:30 am on a Sunday. Given the statutory hours of sale, on-premises licensees in the Buffalo area (or anywhere else in the state) could not serve alcoholic beverages to patrons during that game. Since the game was on a Sunday, licensees were not even able to obtain an "all-night" permit to open earlier since such permits only allow businesses to continue serving until 8 am. A similar situation will be faced next season when the New York Giants football team is expected to play in London. With the increase in cable sports channels, European soccer matches are routinely televised live on Sunday mornings. The Working Group also discussed the common practice of consuming alcoholic beverages during Sunday "brunch."

Note the ironic air quotes the report uses around brunch. Make of that what you will. Also worth noting: "The Community Board on the Working Group indicated that his Community Board passed a resolution opposing both of the proposed options." How very typically Community Board.

Cuomo said in a press release that he'll review the findings of the report, which also issued recommendations for simplifying the liquor license applications. The report's authors include State Liquor Authority chairman Vincent Bradley and Brooklyn Brewery co-founder Steve Hindy.

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