What Is The Legal Bartending Age In Each State?

Majority of Bartenders & Servers

   STATE             Bartending Age                Serving Age (wait staff)
“on premises” establishment                 “on premises” establishment

  • Alabama                                   21                                                           19 (adult supervision required)
  • Alaska                                       21                                                           21
    83 towns prohibit the sale/possession of alcohol in Alaska and in Fairbanks it is illegal to give any alcoholic beverage to a moose.  It is also illegal to be drunk and remain in a bar.
  • Arizona                                     19                                                           19
  • Arkansas                                  21                                                           19
    Parental consent is required for those working with alcohol under the age of 21.
  • California                                 21                                                           18
    Servers in California can be convicted of selling alcohol to a minor if the purchaser uses a false or altered ID to buy the alcohol.  Minors may not work in any establishment primarily selling alcohol.
  • Colorado                                   18                                                           19
    Bartending requires a person of legal age behind the bar with you when pouring alcohol.  Due to the awkwardness imposed by the law, many establishments won’t hire those under 21.
  • Connecticut                              18                                                           18
    It is an offense to sell alcohol on Sunday.
  • District of Columbia               21                                                           18
    Underage drinking is a civil offense, carrying no lifetime criminal record
  • Delaware                                   21                                                           18
    It is a criminal offense for a person under 21 years of age to enter or remain on the premises of a tavern, taproom, or liquor store unless segregated from those over 21 years of age.  Any age may enter an alcohol-serving restaurant until 9 p.m., whereupon they can be refused entry without a parent or legal guardian.
  • Florida                                        18                                                           18
  • Georgia                                       18                                                           18
  • Hawaii                                        18                                                           18
  • Idaho                                          19                                                           19
  • Illinois                                        18                                                           18
    … unless increased to age 19, 20, or 21 by local ordinance.  Check first.
  • Indiana                                       21 (18 with restrictions) **               19
    There are many restrictions.  See: http://www.in.gov/atc/isep/2391.htm
  • Iowa                                            18                                                           18
    It is illegal to run a tab in Iowa.
  • Kansas                                        21                                                           18
    Kansas still has not ratified the 21st Amendment, which ended nationwide prohibition in 1933.  It has the strictest alcohol regulation in the U.S.
  • Kentucky                                    21 (20 with restrictions) **              19
  • Louisiana                                   18                                                           18
    Louisiana law prohibits bars and restaurants from displaying any alcohol beverage brand name that can be seen from outside the establishment. Children aged 18 may drink alcohol if the beverage is ordered on their behalf by their parents, but age 21 if on their own.
  • Maine                                          18                                                           17 (adult supervision required)
  • Maryland                                    18                                                           18
    Maryland decriminalized possession and consumption of alcohol by those under the age of 21.  Parents are specifically prohibited from serving alcohol to their minor children.
  • Massachusetts                           18                                                           18
  • Michigan                                     18                                                           18
    It's illegal in Michigan for a person under the age of 21 to give a gift of alcohol beverage to anyone, even to a person of legal age.  A 20-year-old non-drinking patron cannot “send over a drink” to another patron.
  • Minnesota                                   18                                                           18
  • Mississippi                                  21                                                           18
  • Missouri                                       21                                                           18 (adult supervision required)
  • Montana                                      18                                                           18
    Labor and Industry statute 39-2-306, MCA, states bartenders and waiters or waitresses must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Nebraska                                      19                                                           19
    Nebraska state law prohibits bars from selling beer unless they are simultaneously brewing a kettle of soup.
  • Nevada                                          21                                                           21
  • New Hampshire                          18                                                           18
  • New Jersey                                   18                                                           18
  • New Mexico                                 21                                                           19
    All bar employees must be 21.  Servers may be 19 in restaurants with state-issued permit.
  • New York                                      18                                                           18
  • North Carolina                             21 (spirits) 18 (Beer/Wine)              18
  • North Dakota                               21                                                           19 (adult supervision required)
    North Dakota prohibits serving beer and pretzels simultaneously in any bar or restaurant.
  • Ohio                                               21                                                           19
    Avoid aquariums, or keep their lids locked, as it is illegal in Ohio to get a fish drunk.
  • Oklahoma                                     21                                                           18
    Beer with more than 4% alcohol must be served at room temperature.
  • Oregon                                          21                                                           18
    If you are 18, 19, or 20 years old, you can get a minor service permit and then you may serve, pour, and draw alcoholic beverages only in areas of the business not prohibited to minors where alcohol service is secondary to food service.  You may not mix drinks nor work as a bartender or cocktail server.
  • Pennsylvania                               18                                                           18
  • Rhode Island                               18                                                           18
  • South Carolina                            21                                                           18
  • South Dakota                              18                                                           18
  • Tennessee                                    18                                                           18
  • Texas                                            18                                                           18
    Texas state law prohibits taking more than three sips of beer at a time while standing.
  • Utah                                               21                                                           21
    No patron may have more than two drinks of 2 ½ ounces (total) of liquor in front of them at one time, or more than one liter of beer.  A two liter beer pitcher must be shared by at least two patrons.  Drinks must be poured out of sight of non-drinking patrons to minimize temptation.
  • Vermont                                        18                                                           18
  • Virginia                                         21                                                           18
  • Washington                                  21                                                           18 (adult supervision required)
    Anyone serving alcohol in Washington must take an approved MAST alcohol course and be in possession of either a class 12 permit or a class 13 permit to serve alcohol in licensed premises.
  • West Virginia                               21                                                           18 (adult supervision required)
    In West Virginia, bars can advertise alcohol beverage prices, but not brand names.
  • Wisconsin                                     18 (State license required)                18
    In Wisconsin, an adult under the age of 21 who is married to one age 21 or older can legally drink with his or her spouse.
  • Wyoming                                       21                                                           18
    It is illegal for women to stand within five feet of a bar while drinking.

** Note: There must be a legal-age manager or supervisor present when the underage person is tending bar and/or that the underage bartender must undergo beverage server training beyond that otherwise mandated in the state.

Need to know more?

enroll-button