Will The Ban On Over-16 oz. Sugary Drinks Mean The End of Bottle Service?

The mayor—in his zeal to leave office with us all healthy and fit and doing good things for the environment—has pushed through new regulations that will ensure all that. The ban on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces may have severe and adverse affects on bottle service. All details here.

A strict interpretation of the rule by the NYC Department of Health will basically ban the common carafe from being used. That means the bottle of Goose or rum will not be accompanied by non-diet soda unless in small containers, and only one small container per person at a table is allowed. Heaven help a joint if patrons leave a table for a wiz and there are seven small containers and only four people present during an inspection.

Juices, unless they are 100 percent fruit juices, are also limited. No one serves 100 percent fruit juice. Fines will happen, and places will spend money to adjust. Having lots of small bottles or teensy carafes is a problem because, first of all, they are expensive, and secondly, tables have limited room. Tonic water, 7UP, and Coke or Pepsi are now villains in the eyes of this zealous administration. I personally only use diet but I am in the minority. Management-level personnel that I have talked to say this wasn’t thought out, and they intend to beseech the city for an exception.

A "sky is falling" attitude will be seen by city officials as a "boy who cried wolf" situation, as clubland predicted its own demise with the smoking ban. Somehow we all survived and our hair is cleaner and probably our lungs as well. This may be different since the city cannot expect a complete retooling of the industry’s breadwinner – bottle service – on such short notice.

I believe a carafe is never intended as something someone drinks directly from, so that does not fall into that 16-ounce serving size ban. Fines will be issued and someone will rule on this, but I must say that under this administration it has been very difficult for the average businessman to survive. Shouldn’t places that have invested in certain sized tables and soda gun situations, and have contracts or relationships with soda and juice vendors be grandfathered in? I can see forcing places to have more healthy choices, like fresh juice and more diet beverages, but to change the game like this seems very rude and lacks an understanding of the realities of the biz.

Given another four or 10 years in office, Mayor Mike would surely try to control who and how we sleep with people, ban bacon and maybe eggs, demand comfortable shoes instead of those harmful high heels, and prevent us from watching those ulcer-inducing Mets. All the good that he is done is diminished by his condescending dictator-elect attitude. People who want lots of sugary soda will buy multiple bottles which may or may not be recycled. Where does it fucking end?

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NYC Health Department Makes Spot-On Safe-Drinking Ads

Riding the F train to Manhattan from Brooklyn this morning, I spotted a poster that caught my eye. In it, an attractive, well dressed young woman sits on a set of subway stairs, her head down, knees together, feet apart, the contents of her purse spilled out beneath her. It’s clear she’s been out partying, and even more clear that she’s had a few too many drinks. The caption reads: “Two drinks ago, you could still get yourself home.” Beneath that, it says “Excessive drinking is dangerous. Stop drinking while you’re still thinking.” I find the ad brilliant because it’s so realistic. This is what actually happens. I’ve seen many young women (and men) in similar positions and felt serious concern for their safety. The ad is hardly preachy – it’s undeniably good advice and it makes all that “Drink Responsibly” stuff at the bottom of booze ads look like little more than an insincere, wishy-washy legal disclaimer. The health department’s message of their new campaign is: Of course you can drink, just keep your personal safety in mind and don’t abandon your senses trying to chase the good times. I like these ads a million times more than those disgusting anti-smoking ads that force you to confront rotten teeth and diseased lungs, even if you’re a non-smoker just going to the deli for coffee.

Of course, public service ads like this shouldn’t be the exception, they should be the rule. I don’t know why so many of them either come off as the work of some 18th century temperance movement or a scared-straight film like The Last Prom. (Honestly, I remember my high school driver’s ed class laughing at that film.) For the former approach, get real, people will never stop drinking, so it’s best to accept it and try to keep it safe. For the latter, of course drunk driving is terrible – seriously, if you drive drunk, I don’t want to know you – but people see the smashed metal and tombstones and tune out right away, preferring not to confront such a possibility.

But these new NYC ads are smart because that’s exactly how bad stuff goes down. That’s what drinking too much looks like, and you know it. They ring true because you’ve either been with people who have ended up like that young lady, or you’ve been that young lady (or man) yourself. Another, equally smart ad shows a man with a bloodied face and the caption “Two drinks ago you would have walked away.” It requires no additional information. It makes you think. And yet, it doesn’t make you feel bad. Just a little smarter.

Bravo to the NYC Health Department for finding a message that actually has a chance to work. It’s the holidays. You’re young. You want to have fun. Go ahead and drink. Get drunk if you like. But don’t live it up so hard you can’t live it down.