Bar‐Seating‐Only Happy Hours Are Discriminatory

Published: Feb 24, 2018

I went to a restaurant recently and on their menu it said “Happy Hour From 5‐8”. “Oh good, ” I thought to myself, “we’ll have plenty of time to order and relax before happy hour ends”. You see, we had originally rushed to the restaurant right after work because, according to their website, Happy Hour only ran from 5 to 6. According to the menu, we now had an extra 2 hours to enjoy happy hour pricing.

Unfortunately, our relief was short‐lived as we realized that Happy Hour did indeed run until 8pm, but only at the bar. If you were sitting in the main part of the restaurant, Happy Hour ended at 6.

Bar seating is not wheelchair accessible.

The restaurant is basically offering a discounted price to non‐disabled customers (who sit in a specific area).

And look, I know restaurants that do this don’t mean to be discriminatory. I am not saying there’s some kind of ill‐intent here. That being said, good intentions don’t negate negative outcomes here. The restaurant is still discriminating whether they mean to or not and that really needs to change.

Some of you are about to tell me just exactly why business do this and how businesses are allowed to choose how and where to serve their customers and at what prices and I’m just being an unreasonable tyrant. Let me please inform you that I really don’t care. If you choose economic advantage and material wealth over equality and justice, you’re an asshole (especially when the solution here is so fucking simple).

Others of you may believe that is problem isn’t so much ableism as it is another symptom of the larger injustice that is market capitalism (e.g., they do the split happy hour because people tip less during happy hour) and if they would just pay people a living wage, this problem wouldn’t exist. You may feel that if we fix the real problem (capitalism is broken), things would improve. However, while it is totally part of a much larger issue, removing the driving force behind an injustice does not undo the damage said injustice has caused.

Either way, I don’t wanna hear it.