Young and Hungry

Arlington Trolley Pub Launches Today—Without Alcohol

After several delays, Trolley Pub, a pedal-powered BYOB vehicle, officially launches in Arlington today—minus the BYOB part.

Founder Kai Kaapro tells Y&H that the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control reached out to him this week to discuss how the Trolley Pub—as well as limos and party buses—"fit within their regulatory scheme," Kaapro says. Instead, Trolley Pub will operate more as a pub-crawl conveyance, which customers will book in order to pedal to three to four different destinations within Clarendon.

But it looks this isn't just a minor hiccup in Trolley's Pub's quest to allow people to drink while they pedal.  "It is illegal to take a drink of alcohol on a public street, and there is no exception for persons on a trolley," says Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control COO Curtis Coleburn via email.

The Virginia ABC apparently wasn't involved in initial discussions with government agencies about the Trolley Pub, and the Arlington County Police Department seemed to be under the impression that the vehicle didn't violate any laws. Last week, Arlington police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck told Y&H that he was "99.9 percent positive that they're absolutely in no violation of any sort,"  but he was looking into it. Reached again this morning, Sternbeck said, "This whole issue is under review again and will remain under review."

Also, don't expect a trolley pub to hit the streets of D.C. According to Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration spokesman Bill Hager, District law prohibits drinking an alcoholic beverage or possessing an open container of alcohol in a vehicle on any street, alley, park, or parking area. Sorry.

UPDATE: Kaapro follows up with this statement:

The Virginia ABC informed us yesterday that, as it interprets Virginia law, the consumption of alcoholic beverages by passengers is prohibited in any privately chartered vehicle other than charter boats. Needless to say, this came as quite a surprise to us, as the practice is commonplace in limousines and aboard chartered buses taking passengers to sporting events or on farm winery tours. Apparently, the ABC now considers all of these activates to be illegal. Our attorneys are attempting to sort out the conflicting interpretations we’ve received from ABC and other state law enforcement agencies, and we hope to have the confusion cleared up shortly. Until then, however, we will have to ask that our customers be patient as under the ABC’s current interpretation of the law we must prohibit our passengers from consuming any alcohol aboard the trolley.

Photo via Trolley Pub

  • Arthur Delaney


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  • RT

    Virginia doesn't allow this kind of fun.

    You gotta love VA ABC's fucked up interpretation of their own law to put the kibosh on this. Limited government! bahah

  • abby rae

    Minneapolis calling, we've had these cursed contraptions for about 4 years... most residents, bars, bartenders, & restaurants hate them. Consider yourselves blessed... No one will be vomiting profusely or dumping out their beer as you drive or bike by...

  • Nuies

    Wow, that would screw up traffic but good. It seems to be an answer for which there is no question, what exactly is it providing? "Hey, look at me, I'm drinking and you can see me! Right on the street!"

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  • Rik

    Putting the kibosh on conspicuous consumption.

  • neutrino

    Virginia: Where the puritans still rule.

  • Isabel

    This is the dumbest thing I have ever heard of in my life. This is Clarendon.. not Miami or Vegas. Walk to your next destination to drink.

  • DW

    Stop being so goddamn righteous and sensitive. Let people have fun.

  • natako

    anything to keep the flip-flopped, popped collared, brauus on the other side of the river. Cheers.