Where In the US It Is Illegal to Enjoy Beer and Pretzels at the Same Time [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Jul19

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Where In the US It Is Illegal to Enjoy Beer and Pretzels at the Same Time [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]

beer pretzels1Beer and pretzels — a staple of pub fare.  It’s hard to imagine not washing down all that salty goodness without an ice cold beer.  But, in one US state, it’s supposedly against the law!


The internet rumor mill is all abuzz stating this law exists on the books in the state of North Dakota.


According to KFYR-TV, North Dakota Century Code Section 5-01-08 prohibits any person under the age of 21 to enter an establishment where alcohol is being served.  Code section 5-02-06 does allow for the exception if the food area is separated from the bar and the sales of food are equal to or greater than the sales of alcohol.


While most bars aren’t in danger of getting nailed for the law, that hasn’t stopped the internet rumor machine from saying it is officially on the books… and it OFFICIALLY is, but with a technicality.


Jay E. Buringrud, North Dakota Legislative Council, tells KFYR-TV this comes from twisting the language of local laws and statues.


“It’s a false interpretation, but the interpretation plays well as a crazy law,'” says Buringrud in the interview.


But, there is one way this crazy beer and pretzel law can be enforced.


A giant pretzel from Doc's Oyster House at Bally's Atlantic City.

A giant pretzel from Harry’s Oyster Bar at Bally’s Atlantic City.

If a person under the age of 21 enters a bar and orders a beer, is served, and then orders a pretzel or any other type of food for that matter – they are violating the law.  That underage patron and the bar could both be busted and fined.  While the KFYR report debunks the internet rumor as being completely false, common sense would say that it is technically possible – not just in North Dakota, but any other US state with the age 21 law.


All US states currently have laws which limit alcohol purchase and consumption to age 21 and above.  The only exceptions are in Kansas and Wisconsin where it is legal for under 21 persons to consume in the presence of a parent or guardian.  Many states still have laws allowing it with parental supervision in private homes.  In Puerto Rico and Guam, the legal age is 18.


The beer and pretzel combination are standard fare in German pubs, whose popularity have caused them to migrate to the United States.  In most US states, the legal drinking age is 21, but in Germany, kids as young as 14 are allowed to consume beer and wine, under parental supervision.  At age 16, they are free to imbibe and can fully go for the hard stuff at age 18.  Different culture – different rules.  In Europe, alcohol consumption by minors is considered tradition and is generally accepted.


Many forgotten laws and legislations still exist on the books in US states today.  Many have been around since the earliest days of statehood or Prohibition and they’ve either been forgotten or tied up in so much legal mumbo-jumbo that there’s no reason to waste time repealing them.


Also in North Dakota, another crazy law states it’s illegal to lie down and fall asleep with your shoes on!


Better yet – in Ohio, it’s illegal to get a fish drunk or fish for whales on Sunday!  So, jump in the car and take that party to neighboring Pennsylvania!

beer pretzels2

THE 411


What: North Dakota law stating serving beer and pretzels is illegal


ND Code Sections: 5-01-08 and 5-02-06


Fact: true, with technicalities




I’ve never been to North Dakota in my life.  But, if I ever make it there, I’ll be sure to ask a bartender if they ever got busted for this law.  I love giant pretzels and couldn’t imagine not being able to wash one down with a cold beer.  But, sorry kids – keep it over 21 and drink responsibly… no excuses!


Image credits – kalleboo & MattHurst