Seventy-seven bars opened again across Kerala on Sunday after being closed down more than two years ago.

The reopening at three-star and four-star hotels became a reality as the government’s new liquor policy came into effect on July 1. Since the first day of every month is a dry day, the bars opened on Sunday morning at 11.

Until now, just 23 bars functioned in five-star hotels here.

“It’s nice that the bars have opened again as we do not have to wait in long queues to buy liquor from the retail outlets,” said a customer at one of the bars here.

“The policy of the previous government was not practical. Now things have changed and anyone who wants to drink at a reasonable price can walk into these bars,” he added.

The earlier Congress government closed down more than 700 bars that functioned in two-, three- and four-star hotels as it formulated a liquor policy through which prohibition would be in place in Kerala by 2023.

On Sunday, the maximum number of 21 bars opened in Ernakulam district followed by 13 in Thiruvananthapuram.

According to sources in the excise department, several more bars will be opening as they are waiting for the mandatory licenses.

In Kollam, Congress activists opposed to the reopening of the bars distributed butter milk in front of three bars when they opened.

On Saturday, Congress workers protested against the new liquor policy by staging sit-ins in front of all the 13 district headquarters and at the state Secretariat here.