Old-school restaurant and wine bar Anton’s in the West Village made headlines earlier this month after adding a 25-cent martini special to its menu, with surprisingly few terms and conditions. (Martinis and full-size Manhattans are only a quarter during weekday lunch in January, with a limit of two per person.) The special, essentially an attempt to lure customers into the restaurant during off-peak hours , sounded too good to be true – until it was.
Over the weekend, Anton chef and co-owner Nick Anderer shared on Instagram that the 25-cent happy hour had come to an abrupt end after the chef was made aware of a State Liquor Authority law. prohibiting businesses from serving free alcohol or discounted drinks. less than half their original price.
“Due to an obscure New York State liquor law, of which we were completely unaware, and for which we have received no warning or notice, we can no longer offer Martinis and from Manhattan at 25 cents,” Anderer wrote in the post. For the rest of January, the restaurant plans to sell its martinis for $9 each during lunch, per the state mandate. Eater contacted Anderer for more information.
Following the announcement, Jolene, an American restaurant in Noho that jumped on the discount drink bandwagon last week, deleted an Instagram post advertising its own $1 martini special during weekday lunch. Owner Gabriel Stulman says he switched back to daytime happy hour due to “a few factors,” including the fact that Jolene is only open for lunch weekdays on Fridays. “We’d rather come up with an idea that we could apply to more than one unique lunch service of ours,” he says.
The mandate exists to curb excessive alcohol consumption, according to the Wall Street Journal. In 2016, ALS raised its head after a handful of Manhattan restaurants began advertising dollar cocktail specials during their happy hours, including Dante in the West Village and Playa Betty’s on the Upper West Side. A spokesperson for the state agency told the Wall Street Journal at the time that the promotions were likely illegal because they exceeded the allowed 50% discount.
There are exceptions to this rule, the spokesperson said, including cases where a bar offers a discounted drink that is smaller in size than the original, but it’s unclear whether they apply to full size cocktails sold at Anton’s.
Eater has contacted SLA for more information.