CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 48) — The next time you head out to the bar, it may cost you a lot less to get inside.
Governor Roy Cooper signed a bill eliminating the need for standalone bars to charge patrons to become paid members of the establishments first to get a drink.
“The membership thing always did feel a little bit restrictive. I think there’s a lot of other bars that do a lot more volume and it’s definitely a bigger pain in the butt for them than it is for us. But it is nice not having to do that for every single guest that comes in the door,” he said.
State Alcoholic Beverage Control laws have for decades regulated what is commonly known as “private bars.”
The old law required establishments’ owners to charge a small fee so a potential patron could become a member and get beer, wine, or a mixed drink.
Under the new rules, private bars will now be known in state law as bars that primarily sell alcoholic beverages and don’t serve prepared food.
The Vice President of the North Carolina Bar Owners’ Association, Jason Ruth, explains that some customers have privacy concerns when it comes to giving out their personal information.
“This is a very transitory state. Now we have a lot of people moving in from the Midwest, the Northeast, and even the west, they have no idea what this law is about. And quite honestly, as bar owners, it’s been very difficult to explain to them what the law is actually about,” Ruth said.
Ruth says the ultimate goal for the association and bills like 7-68 is to update prohibition-era n-c liquor laws to be more modernized.
He says it’s time for North Carolina to become a little more progressive in the aspects of the way that it deals with liquor, sell liquor, and distributed liquor.
Vincent Chirico says he never wanted to charge a cover for his bar anyway and he doesn’t think anyone should have to pay to get into somewhere just to pay more money.
He says this is great.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” says Idlewild owner Vincent Chirico. “We have some regulars in there, they expected to have to sign up for a membership, or they expected to have to give us their membership number rather and we don’t even have the app anymore, that’s it.”