R Street's Jarrett Dieterle writes about Virginia's infamous food-beverage ratio:
Virginia may be for lovers, but the state’s draconian liquor laws make nights out on the town not so lovely.
The commonwealth is home to some of America’s worst alcohol laws. Up until 2008 sangria was treated as contraband and restaurants are still forbidden from advertising their happy-hour specials. But there’s no more infamous state law than the food-beverage ratio, which mandates that restaurants must make $45 in food sales for every $55 they make selling liquor-based drinks.
Hugely popular businesses – such as cocktail speakeasies, martini lounges, music clubs and whiskey bars – have trouble satisfying the ratio, given that their customers often go there for the high-end liquor. So they’re forced to change their service models or never do business in the state to begin with.
The food-beverage ratio is a legal zombie: it just won’t die....