Yesterday, during her State of the State address, Gov. Kathy Hochul promised the return of the to-go drink program, which was in place throughout much of the pandemic before expiring in June 2021.

“We’re … going to do something bars and restaurants have been asking for … to once again allow the sale of to-go drinks – a critical revenue stream during the lean times last year. Cheers, New York,” Gov. Hochul said during her address.

Although the proposal still must pass through the Democratic-controlled state legislature, Bushwick’s bars and drinkers alike are already getting excited, while environmentalists in the neighborhood are expressing solutions to minimize the amount of single-use plastic litter that it will potentially create.

“We closed for one day in March of 2020,” responded Pearl’s Social and Billy Club, located at the corner of St. Nicholas Avenue and Starr Street. “As soon as the city announced the legalization of to-go drinks, we were back at it. We went viral for our 32oz to-go margaritas, which all came with a free roll of toilet paper (because folks were hoarding it at the beginning of the pandemic.) We hope the new legalization of to-go drinks helps our industry and helps us to survive this difficult winter. And in turn, we get to live another day, support our amazing staff and pay it forward to our incredible community.”

Already, bars in and around the neighborhood are setting their to-go drink menus. The Bad Old Days, over in Ridgewood, told Bushwick Daily that it will offer a chipotle paloma, made with chipotle-infused tequila. Dromedary Urban Tiki Bar, sitting at 266 Irving Ave., posted on its Instagram story that it will be offering a wide range of to-go options, including its celery and soda, which is made of scotch, fresh celery juice, lime and ginger beer.

Myrtle Pub, on Myrtle Avenue near Seneca Avenue, is excited to offer the spicy hibiscus margarita, which the bar told Bushwick Daily “will warm you up in any kind of weather.” And speaking of drinks to warm you up, 101 Wilson, located at – you guessed it – 101 Wilson Ave. – informed Bushwick Daily it will have “mezcal hot coco, our take on a hot toddy and a few other hot drink specials to keep you warm as you cruise through Bushwick!”

Meanwhile, Nicole De Santis, head of the Clean Bushwick Initiative voiced some concerns shared by many regarding the potential environmental impact of bringing back to-go drinks.

“If you are a bar or restaurant that will be doing drinks to-go … I hope you will also consider the extreme amount of single use trash/litter this is potentially creating! I hope you will encourage patrons to bring their own cups and offer discounts for doing so. … Consider adding extra receptacles outside your business to minimize littering,” De Santis posted to Instagram.

The good news is, many bars in the area are already taking steps to minimize their potential single-use footprints.

Dromedary told Bushwick Daily it is putting all of its to-go drinks in biodegradable corn cups, while Myrtle Pub said it also recently put in an order for eco-friendly to-go cups. Likewise, The Bad Old Days is offering $1 off all to-go mixed drinks for people who bring their own cups.

De Santis also advised that bars and restaurants should consider partnering with Cup Zero, a local service that regularly provides reusable cups for events, festivals, venues and more.

Featured image: Last year at Pearl’s. Taken by Matt Fink.

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