So you and your best friend from out of town are having a great dinner at one of Pacific
Grove’s memorable restaurants and enjoying a nice crisp glass of Chardonnay. Your
friend says it is such a beautiful evening, how about we take a walk after dinner, find a
nice bar and I’ll buy you a nightcap before heading back to your place.
You stop midway through your sip of Chardonnay and break the bad news that there
are no bars in Pacific Grove. “What, not a single bar in town?” “Nope -not even one.”
Actually, my good out of town friend, consider yourself lucky. If you were here in 1967
visiting with me, we would have had to make do with a root beer for dinner instead of a
glass of wine. You see, the founders of Pacific Grove back in the late 1800’s felt that the
consumption of an alcoholic beverage might encourage non-Christian behaviors not
conducive to the principals of the founders.
As per an excellent article written by Wendy Root back in 1996 for the California
Historian “ The Blue Laws, also known as the ‘Rules by the Founding Fathers’
prohibited such activities as having baggage delivered on the grounds of the Retreat on
Sundays, staying out past 10:30 PM, smoking on platforms or near public buildings,
speaking with a profane language, walking through the grounds wearing only a bathing
suit, riding on horseback at any speed faster than a walk and, especially, the drinking of
liquor”. These laws made Pacific Grove a “Dry Town”, i.e. no alcohol sales.
These “Blue Laws” remained in effect until the voters of Pacific Grove changed them in
The moral of the story – never take anything for granted, even the pleasure of enjoying
your favorite adult beverage with your meal. Could the electorate or some other entity
ever change the law back again to a “Dry Town” and a cold one at your next one would
be a root beer???