Thousands petition to end Massachusetts happy-hour ban

As reported by the Boston Herald and Fox News, two young entrepreneurs are fighting to bring back happy hour.

Former Boston-area students Sam Davidson and Brian Sachetta have launched a petition to overturn Massachusetts’ longstanding ban on happy-hour discounts — and have gathered more than 8,500 signatures so far.

The Boston Herald first reported on the effort. The petition, titled “Bring Happy Hour Back To Boston,” features 11 reasons why happy hour should be reinstated, arguing that after its prohibition in 1984, the hours after work “stopped being ‘happy’ and became just ‘meh.’”

Broadly speaking, the two are trying to boost the Boston nightlife and make the city more inviting for young people.

But they’re also trying to boost the social media app they created — an app fittingly called Cheers.

Its main function is to match up groups of friends with other groups going out in Boston at a common meeting place. Then, a reservation and round of complimentary drinks theoretically will be waiting at that location.

According to Sachetta, the return of happy hour could expand opportunities for app users — as it would allow them to offer new and earlier reservation times, in a more optimal environment.

Right now, he told, “Not enough people go to the bar during the normal happy hour window.”

“Users are more likely to enjoy themselves when they are in a friendly environment, which, from my experience, can be more readily found during happy hour than during the prime-time late-night hours,” he said.

While Cheers users might benefit from happy hour, the state’s current ban is based on concerns about residents who will not. Massachusetts was the first state to ban happy hour in 1984 after a 20-year-old woman was killed by falling off her friend’s car and being dragged behind it for 50 feet after winning pitchers of free beer during happy hour.

Seven other states — including Vermont, Rhode Island, North Carolina and Utah — still prohibit happy hour completely. Kansas and Illinois have recently lifted their bans.

It’s unclear whether any state or city leaders are getting behind the push and taking the petition seriously. Davidson told he would “love to get” support from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

Massachusetts’ Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission told The Herald on Sunday there is currently no statewide plan to reinstate happy hour.

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