I live in a dry county. That means you can't buy alcohol of any kind in retail stores, but can purchase drinks in "private clubs." Now, it just so happens that Chili's is a private club. As is Applebees, Bennigans, Olive Garden, and every other restaurant that chooses to be a club. Different places have different "membership" requirements, such as paying a $1-3 membership fee, but most just ask you to sign a little receipt or let them swipe your drivers' license for a membership. If one wants to buy any alcohol for personal home consumption, he has to drive to a neighboring county that is not dry (4 of the neighboring 7 counties are "wet"), which means I usually have to trek about 20 miles to "Fat Dog" liquor to stock up on my booze. (map
of Texas' "wet" and "dry" counties) As you can imagine, what with high gas prices, whisky, vodka and the like win out over buying palates of beer. I'm told, one can still find moonshiners and bootleggers around, if one knows where to look.
I guess this is all a result of the 21st amendment
, which allows the states to write their own laws governing the sale of alcohol (in Texas, that power has been delegated to local authorities), while almost all other interstate businesses are subject to congressional oversight and regularization via the interstate commerce clause. Now imagine if we were still under the Articles, we'd face this problem with just about every good. For us in Texas, there'd be bootleg maple syrup and cheesecake, and for those in Michigan, there'd be bootlegged grapefruit and Mexican food. Of course, even the Constitution couldn't solve the problem with bootlegged Mexicans, but that's a topic for another post.