Masks in crowded public places. Working on your couch. And cocktails to go.
It’s hard to say what habits of the pandemic will stay with us but Capitol Hill bars, breweries, and restaurants that invested in takeout cocktails and beer delivery will be happy to know they can continue to offer off-premises booze into 2023.
The new law passed in the just completed session in Olympia gives state liquor license holders a two year window to adjust as the new habits set in after months of COVID-19 restrictions reshaped the way we dine out.
The temporary, two-year extension will include a study of the impact of the change and issues around underage consumption. By 2023, lawmakers can either shut down the program in shame because none of us are leaving home while we sit enjoying perfect $17 old fashioneds or decide how best to keep the services part of the industry.
Last May, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board relented and announced it would allow the state’s hard-hit food and drink industry to begin serving “pre-mixed” cocktails for takeout and delivery.
On Capitol Hill, most license-holding bars and restaurants that have reopened during the ongoing restrictions have stepped up with to-go offerings. A few have toyed with kits to create multiple drinks while others have focused on single serving mixes. Early on, restaurants were quick on their feet and put some ingenious solutions in play. At 14th Ave’s Nue, for example, blood bags were put to work to serve a Capri Sun-worthy Paloma to go. The level of craft and delivery format continues to vary from custom printed bottles to plastic-lidded sippy cups. It’s mostly a takeout affair though some venues offer delivery through services like Tock. ID is required upon delivery, of course.
For the area’s breweries, the loosened restrictions have also enabled a new level of curbside pick-up and delivery options that can continue under the temporary extension through 2023.
The rising tide of alcohol sales have not lifted all ships. Some smaller, more crowded venues without a space for outdoor service never could make the mix of no or severely reduced capacity and takeout work. Perhaps the most well respected bar on Capitol Hill, Canon has been temporarily closed after briefly attempting a go as a mercantile amid the ongoing restrictions. Ownership says the bar likely won’t reopen until it can offer full sit-down service, hopefully, by later summer.
Have you had a notable to-go cocktail on Capitol Hill? Give us a tip in the comments. The more, the merrier — we now have a couple years to try them all out.
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