Minimum Age to Serve Alcoholic Beverages in On-Premises Establishments

Overview

Thirty-seven states and D.C. permit adults age 18 or older to serve alcoholic beverages in on-premises establishments. Only three states require a server to be age 21. One state permits persons age 17 to serve alcoholic beverages.

to serve alcoholicGenerally the term server refers to a waitperson (waiter or waitress). On the other hand “bartender” refers to a person who dispenses alcoholic beverages. The minimum ages for bartenders are found at Minimum Age to Bartend. On-premises establishments are those in which alcoholic beverages are sold for consumption where purchased. They are typically restaurants and bars.

In some states, persons under 21 may serve alcohol only in certain types of on-premises establishments, such as restaurants. In some cases, servers must be at least a specified age. However, younger employees may be allowed to stock coolers with alcohol or clear alcoholic beverages from tables.

Some states place conditions on on-premises servers under 21 years of age. An adult supervisor might be needed when the underage person is serving alcohol. Or the underage server might have to take additional training. Sometimes both conditions are required.

Age to Serve Alcoholic Drinks

Here’s the minimum age to serve alcoholic beverages in on-premises establishments by state.

  • Alabama – 19
  • Alaska – 21
  • Arizona – 19
  • Arkansas – 19
  • California – 18
  • Colorado – 18
  • Connecticut – 18
  • Delaware – 18
  • District of Columbia (Washington DC) – 18
  • Florida – 18
  • Georgia – 18
  • Hawaii – 18

                Fly In My Soup

    –Waiter, there’s a dead fly in my soup!
    Yes sir, it’s the hot water that kills them.
    –Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup! Don’t worry sir, the spider on the bread roll will get ’em.
    –Atheist: What’s this fly doing in my soup? Waiter: Praying. Atheist: Very funny. I can’t eat this. Take it back. Waiter: You see? The fly’s prayers were answered.
    –Waiter, waiter, there’s a bee in my soup. Yes sir, it’s the fly’s day off.
    –Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup!
 Its OK, sir, there’s no extra charge!
    –Waiteress, there’s a fly in my soup! 
No sir, that’s a cockroach, the fly is on your steak.
    –Waiter, what’s this fly doing in my soup? 
Um, looks to me to be backstroke, sir…
    –Waiter, there is a fly in my soup! 
Sorry sir, guess I missed it when I removed the other three.Source: http://www.jokes4us.com 

  • Idaho – 19
  • Illinois – 18
  • Indiana – 19
  • Iowa – 18
  • Kansas – 18
  • Kentucky – 19
  • Louisiana – 18
  • Massachusetts – 18
  • Maine – 17
  • Maryland – 18
  • Michigan – 18
  • Minnesota – 18
  • Mississippi – 18
  • Missouri – 18
  • Montana – 18
  • Nebraska – 19
  • Nevada – 21
  • NH – 18
  • NJ – 18
  • NY – 18
  • NM – 19
  • North Carolina – 18
  • North Dakota – 19
  • Ohio – 19
  • Oklahoma – 18
  • Oregon – 18
  • Pennsylvania – 18
  • Rhode Island – 18
  • South Carolina – 18
  • South Dakota – 18
  • Tennessee – 18
  • Texas – 18
  • Utah – 21
  • Vermont – 18
  • Virginia – 18
  • Washington – 18
  • West Virginia – 18
  • Wisconsin – 18
  • Wyoming – 18

Chicago and a few other cities have established higher minimum ages for servers in on-premises establishments.

Resources on Being a Server

Atlantic (firm). The Young Adult’s Guide to Being a Great Waiter or Waitress. Everything You Need to Know to Earn Better Tips. Ocala, FL: Atlantic, 2015.

DeVoss, L. How to Be a Professional Waiter or Waitress. Everything You Need to Know to Get the Right Job, Make Good Money, and Stay Sane. NY: St. Martin’s, 1995.

Gilbert, N. How to Land a Top-Paying Waiters and Waitresses Job. Your Complete Guide to Opportunities. Emereo, 2012.

Karvelas, E. Service with a Smile. A Practical Guide for Waiters and Waitresses. NY: iUniverse, 2005.

Lewis, L. “Waiter, There’s a Fy in My Soup.” How to Make Megabucks Waiting Tables. NY: Bookmark,1997.

McHalffey, R. The Ultimate Waiter. The 50 ‘quickest Ways to Make and Extra $100 in Tips this Week! Charleston, SC: CreateSpace, 2012.

Rockett, M. How to Make Outrageously Great Tips. Edmonton: Proof Positive,1994.

Sánchez, R. How to Increase Your Tips Waiting Tables. Bloomington, IN: Trafford, 2013.

Semczuk, N. How to be the Perfect Waiter or Waitress and Earn Great Tips! Beverly Hills: LAPS, 1996.

 

Note. Never rely on this website for legal information about the minimum age for serving alcoholic beverages. Nor on any other website. Laws can change. Courts often reinterpret them. This website does not provide any legal advice or opinion. Always consult a qualified lawyer for legal information and assistance. Listing a resource does not imply endorsement.