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Alcohol in Virginia

August 6, 2002

<bt>In Virginia, like everywhere else in the U.S., you must be 21 years old to buy alcohol, although minors are allowed in bars and restaurants that serve liquor. But state law also restricts what businesses in the state can sell it to you.

State laws restricting alcohol sales date to 1933, when the US Congress passed the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, ending Prohibition. The state Alcoholic Beverage Commission was established the following year, instituting limits on when and where alcoholic beverages could be sold in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Restaurants and bars can get several kinds of licenses, to let them sell only liquor and beer, or to allow them to sell mixed drinks. Bars can offer happy hour discounts, but only until 9 p.m. Even then, customers can only buy two mixed drinks, two beers or two glasses of wine at a time during happy hour. During other times, there is no limit on the amount of beer or wine that customers can buy at a time.

Grocery stores and convenience stores in Virginia may be licensed to sell beer or wine until midnight, and many do. But the only places that sell liquor by the bottle are licensed ABC stores. Liquor sales are allowed Monday-Saturday.

Across the Potomac in the District, liquor laws are more lenient, and some grocery stores in the District do carry liquor by the bottle, along with beer and wine, but liquor sales in D.C. end earlier than beer and wine sales in Virginia grocery stores.

<ro>There are five ABC stores in Arlington:

<lst>Arlandria Store

Shirley Park Shopping Center

2955A S. Glebe Road

703-518-2412

10 a.m.-9 p.m., Monday-Saturday

State Liquor Store

1039 N. Highland St.

703-875-0125

10 a.m.-9 p.m., Monday-Saturday

Commonwealth of Virginia Liquor Store

4709-B Lee Highway

703-875-0129

10 a.m.-9 p.m., Monday-Saturday

State Liquor Store

2201 N. Pershing Drive

703-875-0127

8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday

Rosslyn

Colonial Village Shopping Center

1731 Wilson Blvd.

703-875-0119

10 a.m.-9 p.m., Monday-Saturday

<bt>More information on Virginia liquor laws is available online from www.abc.state.va.us.