Boston law enforcement authorities busted an office holiday party for the simple crime of having an open bar last Friday. Despite the liberal drinking culture espoused in the Massachusetts town, the state has legislation intact that makes it illegal to “sell, offer to sell or deliver to any person an unlimited number of drinks during any set period of time for a fixed price, except at private functions not open to the public.” The provision also bans organizers of private functions from “advertis[ing] or promot[ing]” these events “in any way.”
The event which the authorities shutdown had been advertised and promoted by a collection of tech companies that are part of Boston’s vibrant startup scene. The event invitation read “You Co-Work, Why Not Co-Party,” alluding to the communal office space shared by several of the companies. The price of the ticket was $50, and included an unlimited amount of drinks at the open bar.
When the police entered the party they immediately shutdown the bar and issued a citation to the Revere Hotel, which was the host of the party, according to the Institute For Justice.
One of the organizers, Ben Carcio, explained that the authorities regularly monitor Eventbrite, the site which they used to sell tickets, looking for events planning on having open bars.
“From what Boston Police said to us the night of the event, they watch EventBrite, where we sold the tickets, and they look for ‘Open Bar,’ which is their concern. They view it as unlimited drinking for a ticketed price,” Carcio said.
Carcio explained his frustration with the arrival of the police, claiming that he was unaware of the law and that he would have appreciated the police alerting them rather than busting the event.