Abby Ehmann, the owner of Lucky — an East Village bar in Manhattan — believed she had the right to speak out against her government.

She was upset that her governor, Andrew Cuomo, is forcing bars to serve a significant amount of food along with alcoholic purchases and decided to do what many Americans have done: start a petition.

Ehmann claims the State Liquor Authority (SLA) sent two representatives to her bar last Monday night to see if her eight customers had been served food with their drinks. Ehmann was served with a written warning, one which did not even list her violations, then shortly after her license was suspended. 

“No other safety measures were inspected or questioned,” Ehmann reported. “Also, no other bars or restaurants in close proximity to mine received this inspection, causing me to believe that I was intentionally targeted for selective enforcement by the Governor and State Liquor Authority.”

The SLA gave reasons for the suspension, stating Ehmann admitted to serving drinks without food, the bar does not have a kitchen, and Ehmann does not prepare food. 

Basically, she owns a bar and Big Brother Cuomo is unhappy about it.

“I exercised my First Amendment right by petitioning my government for a redress of grievances,” Ehmann says. “I believe that this same government has selectively enforced the law I’m working to change as retaliation.”

Late last year Ehmann was fined $2,000 for not offering any food on the bar’s premises. Her customers were buying sandwiches from the next door shop. So in order to comply with the SLA’s regulations, she simply bought a microwave. This time, it may not be so easy.

“It remains to be seen whether I will be issued a $10,000 fine or suffer the permanent seizure of my liquor license, which will result in the devastating forcible closure of my business,” Ehmann said.

Ehmann explained her grievances with the strict mandate in her petition. “The resulting mandate not only puts an onerous burden on bar owners, it has no bearing on safety or health.” She continued, “Rather than legislating what customers must order, I believe it would be safer and smarter to require customers be seated while consuming whatever they want. If no standing is allowed, the possibility of overcrowding is eliminated.”

Makes a lot of sense to me, as well as the 3800 people who have signed as of now.

No matter what you think of bars and food, every American should unite against government overreach and retaliation based on protected speech.

Hat Tip: NY Eater

Image Credit: Flickr Chris Goldberg

About The Author

Mark Meckler

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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