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North Dakota, Pretzels, and Beer: Yes, These Things Are Somehow Connected

December 29, 2014

As an American, you’re free to have whatever food and drink combination you want. If you so choose, you can have red meat and Kool-Aid, Diet Coke and goat cheese, or orange juice and pickles. However, there’s one food and drink combination that’s forbidden in the state of North Dakota: beer and pretzels. Or so the legend goes.

Though this “crime” may be fun to discuss at dinner parties (especially those that serve beer and pretzels), North Dakota’s supposed ban on beer and pretzels is actually a false interpretation of the state’s statutes. Over time, people have sprinkled this falsehood throughout the internet like salt on a pretzel.

In North Dakota, as in most other states, it’s illegal for people under the age of 21 to enter establishments that sell alcohol. However, a minor can eat at a place that serves alcohol in a separate room or makes more money from food than alcohol. Since bars do not typically have separate areas for food, some people assume that food—including pretzels—cannot be served in such establishments.

This is, of course, ridiculous; denying food to inebriated individuals is much more dangerous than mixing beer and pretzels. Unless you have high blood pressure, in which case you should probably cut down on sodium.

The next time you have a beer at a North Dakota bar, go ahead and order a bowl of pretzels—you won’t end up in jail. You could covertly whisper your order to the bartender if you wish, but you’ll likely get a strange look with your pretzels.

If you ever face more substantial charges, set up an appointment with Tucson criminal defense attorney Janet Altschuler. Janet Altschuler has over 17 years of experience defending Tucson clients, and can help you face your charges head on.

This article is part of a collection of The Most Ridiculous Laws in the United States! Some of these laws are downright hard to believe. Do you know what might be illegal in your state?