The Cabaret Law is No More!
Believe it or not, it’s not legal to dance everywhere. Some places, more specifically New York, required liquor purveyors to get a special license to allow such free flowing and expressive movement. That is, up until October 31 of this year when the City Council voted to repeal the Cabaret Law which has been on the books for 91 years and sporadically enforced since the end of Prohibition.The Cabaret Law required bars to obtain a cabaret license for “any room, place, or space in New York City in which patron dancing was permitted in connection with the restaurant business or a business that sells food and/or beverages to the public.” This law was initially put in place to aid in police stopping speakeasies during Prohibition, but the law always stayed in place.
“Granted, it’s been amended over the years and even went unenforced for periods of time, but it always stayed on the books. To be lawful, bar and club owners who want patrons to have the freedom to dance have had to cut through a ridiculous amount of red tape to obtain a special license — pay fees as high as $1,000, obtain approval from the property owner and FDNY, install security cameras, etc. As a result, the Times says only 97 of New York’s 25,000 bars and restaurants currently have one.”
It will be interesting to see how the repeal of the Cabaret law will affect restaurants, bars, and nightclubs in New York. While this law has been in place, there have been instances where patrons leave these venues to dance at warehouses, such as the Ghost Ship Warehouse, which are not nearly as regulated as entertainment venues. Though the Cabaret Law is going to be one for the history books, some security measures will stay intact e.g mandatory security guards and cameras for larger entertainment venues. We love to hear that these safety measures aren’t changing and are hoping that this repeal will drive more people to enjoy the nightlife in New York.
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