New York Is Getting Rid of Cocktails to Go. DC Has Made Them Permanent.

Sorry, sucks for you, New Yorkers.

Get bottled-up cocktails delivered from Show of Hands at the Roost. Photograph courtesy the Roost.

As restaurants and bars around the country fully reopen without restrictions, some states are getting rid of one of the few good things to come out of the pandemic: alcohol to go. New Yorkers will no longer be able to order takeout and delivery cocktails after Friday, when the governor lifts the Covid-19 state of emergency. It’s a similar situation in Pennsylvania, where the sale of to-go booze and expanded outdoor dining abruptly ended on Tuesday. The change is a huge blow to restaurants still struggling to financially recover and a disappointment to anyone whose come to appreciate a bottled negroni with their delivery pizza.

Here in DC, though, takeout margaritas and tiki pouches are here to stay. Last October, the District made carryout and delivery alcohol with the purchase of prepared food a permanent part of local law. Businesses simply register with the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration and pay a $200 fee.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill in March allowing restaurants, bars, and distilleries to sell cocktails to go until July 1, 2022.  Then in May, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan extended his state’s cocktails to-go regulations through June 2023.

Throughout the pandemic, more than 35 states began allowing takeout cocktails, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. Beyond DC, 15—including Ohio, Texas, and Florida—have made them permanent so far.

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.