Anchorage Assembly backs earlier morning alcohol service at restaurants

Anchorage restaurant diners can now get a boozy beverage with breakfast or brunch two hours earlier than previously allowed by city law.

The Assembly on Tuesday voted to allow restaurants to begin serving alcohol at 8 a.m. instead of 10 a.m.

The change applies to hospitality businesses that have a license to serve beer, wine and liquor and also serve food. It doesn’t apply to bars and nightclubs. Breweries, wineries and distilleries can’t open for alcohol service before 9 a.m. according to state law.

The ordinance, approved in a 10-1 vote, also allows retail businesses licensed to sell alcohol, such as liquor stores, to open at 10 a.m. Sundays instead of noon.

Assembly Chair Christopher Constant, who sponsored the measure, said hospitality businesses have long pushed for the changes.

“I believe that the brunch hour is a worthy offering to the operators who made it through the pandemic, who are making it through the transformation of our economy into a cannabis economy,” Constant said.

Constant said he sees no rational basis for restricting Sunday retail alcohol sales until after noon while all other days sales can begin at 10 a.m.


Assembly member Karen Bronga agreed.

“There’s been many a time where I’m going and getting food for dinner that I’m preparing Sunday evening, and I have to make a separate run back for the bottle of wine,” she said.

Several members of the local hospitality industry spoke during the meeting in support of extended hours, saying it will help struggling businesses.

The 10 a.m. restriction has been frustrating for Anchorage restaurants, especially as they seek to cater to tourists who frequently want a drink with their breakfast, they said.

“Offering alcohol sales at 8 a.m. is just a matter of convenience,” said Laile Fairbairn, who co-owns four Anchorage restaurants: Crush Bistro, Snow City Cafe, Spenard Roadhouse and South Restaurant and Coffeehouse.

“What we’re talking about here is literally being able to offer a party a mimosa, bloody mary or a beer,” Fairbairn said.

Brunch has become increasingly popular in Anchorage, following national trends, said Cassie Ostrander, a manager with the Alaska Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant and Retailers Association.

Meanwhile, alcohol is becoming less popular as more states legalize cannabis, and many businesses are offering mocktails and low-alcohol drinks, she said.

The measure will help bring local hospitality in line with the national trends and allow an “already hurting industry to modernize and adapt,” she said.

Many establishments show sporting events in the mornings, such as East Coast football games, and the change allows them to serve customers, Ostrander said.

“By extending these hours of operations, bars and restaurants can be open and available to people who worked nontraditional hours, like many people in the service industry and third-shift workers,” Ostrander added.

Not everyone was in favor of extending alcohol service and retail hours. Recover Alaska, a nonprofit that advocates to reduce harm from alcohol, opposed the measure.

“Extensive research concludes that the greater availability of alcohol, the greater the harm,” said Tiffany Hall, executive director of Recover Alaska.

Alaskans die from alcohol at more than twice the national rate, she said.

“It’s really hard for me to understand why we would do anything to make alcohol more available than it already is,” Hall said.

Assembly member Anna Brawley voted against the ordinance but did not say why she opposed it. Assembly member Kameron Perez-Verdia was not present and did not vote.

Emily Goodykoontz

Emily Goodykoontz is a reporter covering Anchorage local government and general assignments. She previously covered breaking news at The Oregonian in Portland before joining ADN in 2020. Contact her at