TEXAS, USA — Editor's note: Updated on Sept. 2, 2021 tor reflect the changing laws enacted by HB 1518. The above video is from Aug. 31, 2021.
Are you like me? Have you ever thought to yourself, "I wish I could make myself a margarita this fine Sunday afternoon in Texas?" And then when you go to the store to buy tequila, it hits you: Liquor stores aren't open on Sundays in Texas.
Texan liquor stores, much like Chick-fil-A, are closed on the Lord's Day. This is due to what's commonly known as "blue laws," which forbid the sale of certain items on Sundays and started out as a way to highlight Sunday as a day of worship or rest.
While Chick-fil-A's choice to close on Sundays was a personal business move, Texas' choice to close liquor stores on Sundays is a law that's nearly 90 years old. In Texas, the "no liquor on Sundays" law dates back to 1935, when lawmakers passed the Texan Liquor Control Act after Prohibition was repealed.
Historians trace the start of blue laws all the way back to 321 AD, when the Roman Emperor Constantine ordered "all workshops closed" on "the venerable Day of the Sun." This was at first a way to honor the Sabbath in a newly-converted Christian empire, but the spread of blue laws in America had as much to do with worker's rights as it did moral Christian attitudes about any sort of activity on Sundays.
In Texas, blue laws also meant you couldn't buy pots, pans and washing machines on Sundays — at least, not until 1985. Many other states still ban the sales of cars on Sundays.
Every Texas legislative session, these liquor store laws get challenged. House Bill 937 was filed at the beginning of the 87th Legislative Session and was set to extend liquor store hours in Texas. It never made it to the House Committee.
However, Texans will now be able to buy alcohol to-go as a result of bipartisan legislation meant to keep restaurants and bars afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. Customers can now pick up alcohol with food orders, and alcohol can also be delivered with food orders.
Here's a breakdown of the booze you can — and can't — buy on Sundays in Texas, according to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (obviously, you have to be 21 years old or older to buy any of the following items).
All liquor stores are closed on Sundays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. If Christmas or New Year's falls on a Sunday, the liquor store is closed on the following Monday.
However, if you're at a fair, festival, concert, bar, restaurant or a sporting event in the morning, you can buy alcohol from 10 a.m.-noon on Sundays as long as the facility you're at has the proper permits. If you're at a bar or restaurant, you have to buy food with your drink before noon.
Christmas was added to the Texan Liquor Control Act in 1967, and Thanksgiving and New Year's Day were added in 1979, according to the Dallas Morning News. The Monday ban also started in 1979 to give liquor store workers another day off.
You can buy beer on Sundays, under the following stipulations:
- The purchase is after 10 a.m. and before midnight (thanks to HB 1518, the hours got pushed up to 10 a.m.)
- If you're at a fair, festival, concert or a sporting event in the morning, you can buy beer from 10 a.m.-noon on Sundays, as long as the facility you're at has the proper permits.
According to the TABC, a wine-only package store that holds a beer license can't sell wine containing more than 17% alcohol by volume on a Sunday or after 10 p.m. on any day.
If a wine-only package store doesn't have a beer license, the store must hold the same hours of sale as a package store.
Now thanks to HB 1518, you can buy wine starting at 10 a.m.
Wineries are open from 10 a.m.-midnight on Sundays.
Editor's note: The below video on alcohol to-go was published in Feb. 2021 before the bill became law.