Readers Say

‘Let’s keep it going!’: Here’s how readers feel about takeout cocktails being extended another year

"What's the harm in keeping this option open for restaurants [and] bars?"

Takeout cocktails
Preparing takeout cocktails at The Tasty in Plymouth. Globe Staff/Debee Tlumacki

While there are many effects of the pandemic that people wish would go away, it seems there’s one that lawmakers and readers alike want to stay in place. Earlier this week, Governor Maura Healey signed a law that will allow restaurants to serve takeout cocktails for another year, a move readers said they hope will stay in place indefinitely.

The legislation will extend the sale of takeout cocktails until April 1, 2024. Former governor Charlie Baker originally signed the temporary law in 2020 to support local businesses. Andy Deloney, senior vice president and head of state public policy at the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, applauded the decision in a press release.


“Cocktail to-go have become a regular part of take-out dining in Massachusetts, and consumers and businesses have become accustomed to this convenient option,” Deloney said.

We asked readers whether they thought that restaurants should be able to continue the practice of selling the drinks, and of the 147 people who responded to our survey, a 64% majority said that they would like to see the practice go on forever. Another 30% voted that they would like to see it end, while only 5% wished to see it extended for just another year. Look below to see how readers felt about the continuation of the sale of takeout cocktails.

Do you think Mass. should extend to-go cocktails?
Yes, extend it another year.
Yes, keep it going forever.
No, end the practice now.

“Benefits local independent restaurants”

“Extending to-go cocktails benefits local independent restaurants, which have a tough time staying alive, without any noticeable harm to the community through excess alcohol consumption (due to the high prices) or to local retailers.”

—Steven S., Medford

“What’s the harm in keeping this option open for restaurants [and] bars? If it provides more revenue for them, that’s great. Of course, it has to be contained safely, so people can’t open [it] until it gets home. But that also goes the same when people buy at a liquor store.”

—Kim M., Weston

“With the legalizing of different vices, from marijuana to-go to online gambling at home in recent years, to-go cocktails is the least harmful and most beneficial to the restaurant industry, which has taken hits for the past 2-3 years.”

—Anonymous, Brookline

“People who buy to-go cocktails may be less likely to have that third or fourth drink, and less likely to drink and [drive]. Some people don’t want to or find it difficult to go out, why not allow people choices?”

—Lorraine L., Waltham

“Extend it, and fix the broken liquor allocations, while they’re at it. For a progressive state, the liquor laws sure are pretty antiquated and puritanical.”

—Brandon, Quincy

“Oh please. What’s the problem with a cocktail to-go? Sometimes I don’t want to go out for dinner, but getting take out with a cocktail to enjoy at home with a movie is comforting. Let’s keep it going!”

—Katherine, Peabody

“The risk of abuse is too high”

“I think it’s ridiculous. If people want to drink, that’s what liquor stores are for. They don’t need to take one to go from a restaurant. I understand the extra revenue to restaurants, but in all actuality, it’s just creating more problems. You can’t walk the streets and drink alcohol, and then it just promotes more drinking and driving.”

—Ann K., Lynn

“I think it should be ended. I think the risk of abuse is too high. We can’t keep changing the rules just to save the restaurant industry. First it’s, give them public sidewalks, then takeout alcohol, etc. Maybe the industry needs an upheaval and a better model for success.”

—Stan, Jamaica Plain

“There are very good reasons we shouldn’t allow drinking ‘in public’; people get no supervision, more laws can be broken such as: serving minors, serving intoxicated people, littering, operating vehicles under the influence, etc. There is no need whatsoever, and no reason for doing so, and a lot more reasons not to have drinks to go!”

—James H., Southborough

“I think if people want cocktails, at this point, they go into a bar. It’s better to drink with other people, anyway.”