subscribe: Posts | Comments      Facebook      Email Steve

Wine in barbershops?



That’s what the Washington Times is reporting. Seems my great state of California is considering allowing—not just barbershops—but beauty parlors too, a total of 42,000 shops in all, to serve wine and beer on their premises. The proposal is in the form of a bill, AB 1322, that would expand California’s current alcohol laws in order to additionally allow the serving of beer or wine without a license as part of a beauty salon or barber shop service if specified requirements are met, including that there be no extra charge or fee for the beer or wine, the license of the establishment providing the service is in good standing, and the servings are limited to specified amounts.”

Sounds good to me! In fact, it sounds more than good: it’s civilized. But, wouldn’t you know it, no good idea goes without someone bashing it, and in this case the basher is the so-called “California Alcohol Policy Alliance,” a group whose website purports to promote evidence-based public health policies and organize campaigns with diverse communities and youth against the alcohol industry’s harmful practices,” but which sounds suspiciously like the anti-alcohol groups in this country that have popped up forever, whose ideology seems like something out of Carrie Nation’s brain.


And not surprising! This California Alcohol Policy Alliance is just the latest incarnation of The Marin Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Other Drug Problems; they had to change their name because the Marin Institute got such a bad reputation. These people always claim that their motives are sincere, but there’s something fishily ideological about them, and their anger towards legal alcoholic beverages seems, well, outsized. They call themselves “The Industry Watchdog.” Well, “junkyard dog” would be closer to the point.

But I digress! The beautiful thing about the barbershop-beauty parlor idea is that it normalizes the drinking of beer and wine. There is probably no place more “normal” for Americans to go to than a barbershop or beauty parlor. That’s why serving beer and wine in such places makes so much sense. To be able to drink these alcoholic beverages in these normal, everyday hangouts would be a huge step towards making the consumption of wine—not a fancy thing for rare occasions—but an everyday practice, as it is throughout the wine-producing nations of Europe.

Incidentally, let me give credit to AB 1322’s Republican co-sponsor, Asemblyman Scott Wilk. It’s probably not a good idea for a Republican politician to ever be in favor of anything having to do with alcohol or drugs, and Wilk certainly represents a conservative district: Simi Valley and the San Fernando Valley. But he’s not a nutbag Republican, and he’s okay in my book for this humane and positive step forward. Our Governor, Jerry Brown, now has AB 1322 on his desk, and he may veto it or let it pass into law. The anti-alcohol forces, including the Alcohol Policy Alliance, are lobbying him heavily, on social media and directly, to veto it: they are fear-mongering the general public with alarmist warnings that, if passed, AB 1322 will allow beer and wine to “flow freely without licenses, permits, monitoring, Responsible Beverage Service training, or enforcement of current regulations.”

Well, that’s fine with me. I don’t expect a beauty parlor colorist to have training in “responsible beverage service.” When the neo-prohibitionists at Alcoholic Policy Alliance say that passing AB 1322 will put the “health and safety of all California residents” at risk, that’s just a big lie. I want a country where drinking wine is so natural that you can do it in barbershops, in supermarkets, in movies, in fact pretty much everywhere. Does that mean I’m in favor of public drunkenness? Of course not. But rightwing groups like the Alcohol Policy Alliance base their fundraising on spreading such fear, the same way certain politicians are trying to make us so afraid of ISIS that we close this country’s borders, making it no longer the oasis for “Your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.” Fear is never a good way to govern, and those who use fear to further their own purposes are to be pitied.

  1. Having a beer during a haircut turned out to be one of those things that sounds a lot better than it is. The barber has to pause every time you reach for your glass to take a sip, and you’ve got to find a spot on the barber’s counter that’s within your reach but far enough away that your hair isn’t falling into it….it ended up for me being more of a chore than a pleasant distraction.

    That has no bearing on whether it should be legal or not, of course, and I’m sure it’s a different experience if you’re just waiting your turn, or doing… whatever it is that goes on in beauty parlors.

  2. Have had that for years here in Sutter Creek @ Smylies

  3. Bob Henry says:

    “At the Blind Barber, a Haircut and a Drink” — The New York Times

  4. Bob Henry says:

    “Epic Risks, Great Rewards: Beer, Burgers, Razors and Risk Taker”

    Celebrate the launch of “Epic Risks, Great Rewards,” a bi-coastal, 2-part summer event and video series celebrating modern day risk-takers!

    WHO: Blind Barber
    WHAT: Epic Risks, Great Rewards featuring:
    Sapporo beer
    Ramen Burgers by Keizo Shimamoto
    Premiere of original Blind Barber video series
    Opportunity to win a barber’s choice “risk taker haircut”

    WHERE: Blind Barber (10797 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232)
    WHEN: Tuesday, August 2nd 6-8:00pm
    COST: $5.00

    *Must be 21 or older to enter. Please bring a copy of your ticket to the event

    About Epic Risks, Great Rewards:
    Inspired by the founders of Blind Barber who put everything on the line on their journey to success, ‘Epic Risks, Great Rewards’ is a celebration of self-guided principles and the daring spirits behind them. In addition to enjoying Ramen Burgers by Keizo Shimamoto and music from our live DJ, we challenge you to test your own epic risk-taking threshold by entering for your chance to receive a ‘blind’ contemporary haircut by the Blind Barber.

    Two lucky event guests will be chosen to receive these haircuts without giving the barbers any instruction – Each barber will consult and select a new hairstyle without the winner’s input! How risky are you willing to get?

Leave a Reply


Recent Comments

Recent Posts