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Brunch bill has restaurants ready to pour one out for Sunday morning prohibition

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BEAUFORT, Carteret County - A little bubbly with Sunday brunch? The North Carolina Legislature is putting it on the menu.

With a signature expected in the days ahead from Gov. Roy Cooper, Senate Bill 511 - dubbed the Brunch Bill - is soon to become a reality for North Carolina restaurateurs.

Previously, restaurants could not serve alcohol before noon, so Beaufort Front Street Grill bartender Tim Becker said he'd have to be prepping drinks right up until noon so patrons could get them as soon as the clock hit 12.

"We do as much preparation as we can, we pour the juices, premuddle mojitos and get the orange juice in the champagne glass ready so that when when noon comes we can throw the liquor in the glasses and send them out the door," he said.

Tourists, he said, would often be surprised they had to wait until noon to get their favorite alcoholic beverage.

"Sometimes ... I'll see them looking around and say 'excuse me i ordered a bloody mary about 20 minutes ago,'" Becker said, noting he's glad he won't have to explain the old law soon.

Front Street's manager, Victoria Patrick, said the change could really help their bottom line.

"I think at least 10 percent it would boost our business - it might be more than that," Patrick said. "A lot of our business is liquor sales so it would really be helpful on Sundays."

It may even have Front Street, which opens now at 11:30, open earlier once the new law is in place.

"Theres nothing better than being able to go our enjoy your friends after a night out on a Saturday night, you go out with your friends, you recollect, regroup and kind of have a nice mimosa or bloody mary and enjoy what's left of your weekend," restaurantgoer Ryan Huang said.

The bill won't just benefit restaurants. Distilleries will be allowed to sell five bottles of their product as opposed to one. The law will not, however, change the prohibition on Sunday morning alcohol sales at liquor and grocery stores.

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