BUSINESS
08/04/2015 07:32 am ET Updated Nov 20, 2015

Here's Where You Can -- And Can't -- Get Your Happy Hour On

Illinois is the latest state to relax its rules on drink specials.

It's a storied tradition, an honored one. You have a difficult day at work -- maybe your boss is being a jerk, or a project isn't going as planned. Around 4:30 p.m., your work friend sends you a simple Gchat: "Happy hour?" Your reply is a jubilant "hell yes." 

Unfortunately, not all states legally allow bars and restaurants to sell cheaper drinks in the afternoon and early evening. A healthy number of states restrict happy hours and other promotions, like free or unlimited drinks. Generally the goal is curbing dangerous behaviors like drunk driving, although there isn't much evidence that bans actually prevent people from binge drinking. Plus, some businesses find workarounds to draw in customers while still holding to the letter of the law.

Illinois reversed a years-long ban on happy hours last month, allowing businesses to legally reduce drink prices and advertise specials.

What's the law in your state? Find out below!

Correction: A previous version of this map had several inaccuracies in the "Can bartenders give out free drinks?" section. These have now been corrected.

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