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Aug 22, 201310:09 AM
Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans

The Go-Cup Controversy: Much Ado About Something... Maybe

The local food and drink blog networks have been all abuzz lately with hyperbole, rushes to judgment, uninformed opinions, emotions run amuck, and conclusions reached based on thin information and evidence. In other words, it’s all been relatively normal.

One of the topics of great emotion and sudden timeliness is the “banning of go-cups by the City.” That is, and let’s get this out early in this discussion, not true.

What has happened, with increasing frequency of late, is that for those business owners applying for a license to dispense alcohol, and those dispensing establishments who possess a license to serve alcohol but have violated some term of that license, one of the terms of the new licensing rules can be that the establishment will not be allowed to offer go-cups to its patrons.

Another possible ruling from the City can demand that for those establishments who serve go-cups, the establishment’s name and logo must be printed on the cup.

There have been a pretty fair number of rulings from the City when granting or reinstating an alcohol-service permit, the permission for use of go-cups is not automatically bestowed. In some cases the City has noted that the alcohol permit does not allow off-premise service of alcoholic beverages, and they, the City, interpret go-cups as off-premise service.

Several clubs in the Marigny, and most famously Jimmy’s Uptown, are not allowed with their alcohol service license to dispense alcohol in go-cups. These have been recent rulings, and the limiting conditions seem to be happening more frequently.

There are even instances, I have read but not witnessed, where patrons could not get a go-cup for iced tea because the establishment was not allowed to offer go-cups for alcohol so why have any go-cups on the premises, lest some staff person be tempted to provide alcohol go cup service to a demanding patron?

I am of the mind that if these rulings from the City are happening with any frequency, more noise from a thirsty public needs to be made. In some cases, it seems, neighbors are using the “litter reduction” scenario as the reason for demanding no go-cup service. If that’s the case, every fast food drive-thru restaurant in town should be shut down.

I also hate to see two classes of neighborhood bars develop, some with full privileges and others who would operate at a competitive disadvantage.

As I have stated in this column many times, go-cups are one of New Orleans’ great cultural contributions to a civilized society. I hope we don’t take one of our unique institutions and use it as a sledge hammer against small business owners who are paying taxes and hiring local employees.

But again, maybe this is not happening, and is merely a tempest in a go-cup so a few online writers can rail against a perceived injustice. Or, maybe the bureaucrats in City Hall have another unspoken agenda. We will just have to keep watching. 

And we will.

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Happy Hour

All there is to sip and savor in New Orleans


In New Orleans, when the subject is wine and spirits, it is very difficult to leave Tim McNally out of the discussion. He is considered one of the “go to” resources in the Crescent City for counsel and information about adult beverages and their place in the fabric of life in this great city.


Tim is the Wine and Spirits Editor, columnist and feature writer for New Orleans Magazine; the Wine and Spirits Editor and weekly columnist, Happy Hour, for www.MyNewOrleans.com; creator and editor of his own website, www.winetalknola.com; all in addition to his daily hosting duties on the radio program, The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, on the air at WGSO – 990AM, every weekday, 3- 5 p.m, and streamed live on www.wgso.com.


Over the years, Tim has proved to be an informed interviewer, putting his guests at ease, and covering tactile and technical information so that even a novice can understand difficult agricultural and production concepts. Tim speaks with winemakers, wine and spirit ambassadors, distillers, authors, people who stage events and festivals, and takes questions from listeners and readers, all seamlessly blended together in a program that is unique in America.


Tim’s love of wine actually came about many years ago from his then wife-to-be, Brenda Maitland, a noted journalist in her own right, and together they have traveled to the major wine producing areas in the US and Europe, seeking first-hand information about beverages that give us all so much pleasure.


They were instrumental in the founding of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, a major national and international well-regarded festival of its type. They both continue to be involved with the planning and staging of this multi-venue, five-day event now over twenty years old.


Tim is also considered one of the foremost professional wine judges in the US, being invited to judge more than 11 wine competitions each year, including the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (the largest competition of American wines in the world, with more than 6,000 entries), the Riverside, CA International Wine Competition, San Francisco International Wine Competition, Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, Indiana International Wine Competition, Sandestin, Florida Wine Festival Competition, the State of Michigan Wine Competition, the U.S. National Wine Competition, and the National Wine Competition of Portugal.


Tim is a guest lecturer to many local wine and dine organizations, and speaks each year to the senior class in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.


Staying abreast of the news of the wine and spirits world is a passion for Tim, and he is committed to sharing what he knows with his listeners and readers. “Doing something I love, with products that I truly enjoy, created by interesting people, coupling the experience with culinary excellence, and doing it all in the greatest city in America,” are the words Tim lives by.


It’s a good gig. 




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