In Tennessee, anyone who wishes to sell or serve alcoholic beverages MUST receive a “Server Permit”. Searching online through various government and state websites, however, can be a confusing process.

Tennessee Bartending

This is where we come in…

Since server/bartender certification is required in the state, we’ve compiled all the important information you need.

Server Permit Application Process:

For starters, in order to receive the server permit you must be at least 18 years old. Also, The permit is valid for five (5) years from the date of issue. The issuance of a server permit is a two-step process.

1.) You must first successfully pass a Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) alcohol awareness program.

  • According to the state, new servers/bartenders have a 61 day grace period from the original date of hire to attend a TABC certified course
  • Follow this link to view state-approved programs
  • & Follow this link to view the class schedules
    • Keep in mind these classes are held statewide. Be sure to look up the city closest to you!

2.) Once the TABC course is successfully completed, THEN you can apply for your server permit.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply:

  1. Fill out and submit the On-Premise Permit (Server Permit) Application
  • You can find the application form here (pdf)
  • Application must come with a $20.00 non-refundable fee
    • Payments must be made with a money order, cashier’s check or business check from the licensed establishment and made payable to the: Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
  1. Fill out and submit the “Declaration of Citizenship” form with the appropriate copies of your identification
  1. You can submit the above mentioned forms/ documents to your local Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission for review.
  1. After successfully completing a training program & steps 1 through 3, you should receive your server permit from the TABC, and provide your employer with a copy to be kept on the licensed premises.
  • The applicant keeps the original card, and can give their employer a photocopy of the card

Qualifications and Restrictions for Tennessee Server Permits: ** According to the TABC website

  • An individual may not have a felony conviction within the previous 4 years
  • An individual may not have a conviction for any crime related to the sale of alcoholic beverages, beer, schedules 1 and 2 controlled substances, controlled substance analogues, or any sex related crime, or embezzlement within the previous 8 years
  • An individual may not have had an employee or server permit or similar permit issued in a foreign jurisdiction revoked by an issuing authority within the previous 5 years
  • An individual may not have had any ownership interest in any wholesale, retail, liquor-by-the-drink, or beer license or permit revoked by using authority within the previous 8 years

Minimum Age to Serve Alcoholic Beverages in Tennessee:

  • 18

Other Requirements That May Be Helpful:

  • Driver’s License or Passport
  • Good Communication Skills
  • Be able to stand long periods of time
  • Knowledge of basic drink recipes

For more information, please contact your local City Clerk’s office.
CHEERS!

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