Boston, Massachusetts, Bars and Restaurants Do Not Have Happy Hour

Whenever we have gone into Boston and have been looking for a cocktail at, say, 4pm or so, it never occurred to us that there are no happy hour specials throughout the city.  We just thought it was because it was Boston and things are always expensive. But then we heard about a young woman who lost her life in 1983, and that was the end of happy hour not only for Boston, but the entire Commonwealth.

Tragic Accident in Boston in 1983

In 1983, according to, 20-year-old Kathleen Barry of Weymouth, Massachusetts, was out with a group of friends at the Ground Round in Braintree, Massachusetts, when they won a game of "Name That Tune."  The prize for winning was pitchers of beer.  The drinking age was 20 at the time.

Warning:  Explicit Accident Description Follows

At the end of the night, all of Kathleen Barry's friends piled into a 1975 Chevrolet sedan and hit the road.  Kathleen fell out of the car (driven by a man who'd had "at least 7 beers"), was dragged 50 feet, and broke her neck, arms, and legs.  She lost her life as a result of her injuries.

Because of the outrage sparked by her death, the happy hour ban was put into place.

Has the Ban on Happy Hour Really Helped?

According to an article from Boston University, the ban on happy hour had little to do with the decrease of alcohol impaired deaths in the state.  I also have a friend who is a professional in this area, and she stated that the ban has actually made things worse to some degree.

Time to Bring Happy Hour Back in Boston?

There have been efforts to bring happy hour back, according to WCVB, but restauranteurs are not calling for it.  The restaurant owners want the cost of doing business in the Bay State lowered, not happy hour coming back.  In addition, they see happy hour as a liability rather than something that will bring business in.

I can imagine that Kathleen Barry's family wanted something done about this tragedy, and I don't blame them.  I would feel the same.  However, after 40 years, if it's made no impact, maybe something else could be done?  Maybe a scholarship in Kathleen's name?

Do you think happy hour should come back to Massachusetts?

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