Finding out the legal age to serve alcohol in your state can get confusing…
So we’ve made it simple.
And instead of copying some bogus chart found online, we personally reached out to every state in the U.S to find out the exact minimum age restrictions and regulations for bartenders.
You’d think this would be an easy topic to cover, but it’s actually quite comprehensive…
Just like bartending licenses – which may be required depending on which state you are located in – bartending age restrictions vary throughout the nation.
For example, while you only have to be 18 years of age to pour or serve alcohol in Florida… in Mississippi, just a couple borders away, you have to be at least 21.
And it’s not always that straight forward…
Some states have different age restrictions for those who work behind a bar versus those who serve alcoholic beverages at a table in a restaurant. And some states, like North Carolina, have legal age limits on serving beer versus employees serving liquor.
After all the research, one thing is significantly clear: The legal age to serve alcohol greatly depends on your state jurisdiction. And most bartending age regulations aren’t as black and white as you’d think!
So here’s what we’re going to do…
First, we’d like to say thank you for finding this research. As always, not only is it important to follow state guidelines… but it’s also vital for you, as the reader, to be looking at updated and ACCURATE information.
Secondly, for those who need a quick reference, we put together a list of all 50 states and their perspective minimum legal age to serve alcohol. If you’re unsure about the bartending age requirement in your state, this list will get you pointed in the right direction.
Lastly, underneath the age list, we’re going to break down certain state bartending age requirements. This section is for the states that are a little more confusing than others. This is where you’ll find some legal verbiage… and our easy-to-understand break down of what’s exactly required.
If you’re state is NOT located in this section, that’s a good thing. It means your local regulatory bodies got their *isht together and created bartending regulations that are actually straightforward… without tricky framework and rarities.
Apron up my bartending padawans – let’s get to it!
The Minimum Age to Bartend in Every State
If there’s an asterisk (*) next to your state, this means we’ve provided additional details in the section below. It most likely means there’s some tricky alcohol legislations currently in place. But don’t worry – we provided the information you actually need to know, without all the legal gibberish. 🙂
Alabama – 19*
Alaska – 21
Arizona – 18*
Arkansas – 19*
California – 18*
Colorado – 18*
Connecticut – 18
Delaware – 18*
Florida – 18*
Georgia – 18*
Hawaii – 18
Idaho – 19
Illinois – 18*
Iowa – 18
Kansas – 21*
Kentucky – 20*
Louisiana – 18
Maine – 18
Maryland – 18*
Massachusetts – 18
Michigan – 18
Minnesota – 18
Mississippi – 21*
Missouri – 21*
Montana – 18
Nebraska – 19
Nevada – 21*
New Hampshire – 18
New Jersey – 18
New Mexico – 21
New York – 18*
North Carolina – 18* Beer | 21* Liquor
North Dakota – 21*
Ohio – 21*
Oklahoma – 18
Oregon – 18*
Pennsylvania – 18
Rhode Island – 18
South Carolina – 21*
South Dakota – 21
Tennessee – 18
Texas – 18*
Utah – 21*
Vermont – 18
Virginia – 21*
Washington – 21*
West Virginia – 18*
Wisconsin – 18
Wyoming – 21
Legal Age to Serve Alcohol State Specifics
Below we provided some additional, easy-to-read, details on all things bartending age state requirements….
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in Alabama?
In Alabama, you have to be at least 19 years of age in order to bartend or serve alcoholic beverages. But it comes with a catch. If you are between the ages of 19 and 21, someone at your workplace MUST be annually certified in Alabama’s Responsible Vendor Program.
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in Arizona?
The minimum age to manufacture, sell, or dispose of liquor in Arizona is 18. Pretty straight forward here. But it’s worth mentioning Arizona’s minimum bartender age changed from 19 to 18 in 2017.
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in Arkansas?
In Arkansas, you have to be at least 19 years old to serve alcohol in a restaurant as long as you have a permit (see here for more details). Regardless, you have to be 21 years of age to tend a bar. That means all bartenders MUST be at least 21 years of age.
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in California?
In California, you must be at least 18 years of age to bartend or serve in a restaurant
(establishments that primarily sell food). You must be 21 years old to work as a bartender or cocktail waitress at establishments that primarily sell and serve alcohol.
Employment of Minors: “You may not employ a person under age 21 on the portion of any premises which is primarily designed and used for the sale and service of alcohol for consumption on the premises.”
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in Colorado?
The minimum age to bartend in Colorado is 18; however, you MUST be under the supervision of someone who is at least 21 years of age.
Note: A new law, commonly dubbed “The end of 3.2 beer in Colorado” took effect on Jan. 1, 2019. Here’s what you need to know.
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in Delaware?
On July 17, 2018, Title 4 of the Delaware Code relating to alcoholic liquors was adjusted, resulting in the minimum legal age of serving alcohol moving from 19 to 18 years of age.
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in Florida?
In Florida, the minimum age to serve alcohol is 18 years old. As long as you’re 18, you can pour drinks, serve alcohol, and work behind a bar. Pretty straight forward here.
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in GA?
In Georgia, alcohol can be served in a restaurant or bar by anyone who is at least 18 years of age. It’s worth nothing, the minimum age requirement for those working as a sales clerk in a supermarket or drugstore, under the supervision of a manager, is 16
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in Illinois?
Anyone who is not a “minor” – those who are under the age of 16 – is allowed to serve alcohol in Illinois.
Note: In 2017, to speed up retail sales and reduce youth unemployment, the City Council’s License Committee advanced an ordinance that would allow people between 18 and 20 years old to serve liquor in restaurants as well as stock and sell unopened bottles of booze at supermarkets.
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in Indiana?
The legal age in Indiana to serve alcohol is 21. This means anyone younger than 21 years of age cannot become a bartender in the state of Indiana. Keep in mind, employees that are at least 19 years old are authorized to act as cashiers or ring up transactions involving alcohol.
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in Kansas?
In Kansas, you must be 21 years of age in order to work as a bartender… as well as to sell hard liquor in a retail store. But not all minors are shunned from pouring drinks…
According to Kansas alcohol laws, you can work as a server in a restaurant serving alcohol at age 18 and you can sell 3.2 percent beer at age 18.
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in Kentucky?
So in Kentucky, the legal age to serve liquor is 20. However, 18-19 year olds can still sell and serve alcohol as long as its beer.
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in Maryland?
Maryland alcohol laws allow those 18 years or older to be servers or bartenders in venues selling beer or wine. But for spirits and hard liquors, you must be 21! Keep in mind, some Maryland counties have different serving alcohol regulations thus it’s always smart to double check with your local government.
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in Mississippi?
In Mississippi, all bartenders must be 21. But here’s where common confusion lies: Mississippi alcohol laws permit adults to be servers (not bartenders) in venues selling alcohol for drinking on-site. The minimum age to serve alcohol is 18.
If someone is at least 18 years of age, they may wait tables, take orders and deliver alcohol products to the table. This does NOT allow them to serve as a bartender or manager.
For ABC or alcohol licensed premises (most common), employment to persons under 21 is prohibited.
To make it easy, just remember that you must be 21 in order to POUR.
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in Missouri?
Missouri alcohol laws allow those 18 years or older to be servers and work in restaurants where alcohol is served.
You do need to be 21 however to tend a bar in the state. If you’re under 21, you’re out of luck.
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in Nevada?
In Nevada you must be over 21 to bartend, but fear not all you youngsters out there.
Even 16 year olds have something to rejoice about in this state. In Nevada, a person aged 16 or more may work in a grocery store or convenience mart where alcohol is served or sold. However, they must be supervised by someone over 21. But hey, it’s something – right?
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in New York?
While NY does allow for under 21 year old bartenders, they do require supervision.
Anyone in the 18-20 range must have a 21 year old on site providing supervision.
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in North Carolina?
North Carolina has some confusing rules, but they have put out a great resource helping to clear things up.
Bartenders need to be 21 years old to pour distilled spirits, but 18 for beer and wine. Because of this, most bartenders in the state will be at least 21 years old.
However, 18 year olds can sell packaged liquor.
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in North Dakota?
Bartenders in the state of North Dakota must be 21 years old, but there are some responsibilities involving alcohol that those under 21 can help with.
North Dakota individuals can work as a server in a restaurant that sells alcohol at age 19 if supervised by someone 21 or older.
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in Ohio?
Ohio alcohol laws permit adults 19 years or older to serve alcohol in venues for on-site consumption. This also applies to those who sell beer “across a bar.”
To be a bartender in Ohio, you still must be at least 21 years of age.
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in Oregon?
Oregon has some interesting laws when it comes to serving alcohol, but we’ll try to make it easy for you. If you are 18 – 20 years old, you can get a ‘minor service permit.’
What is a ‘minor service permit’? It’s a permit that allows these underage individuals to serve, pour, and draw alcoholic beverages only in areas of the business not prohibited to minors where alcohol service is secondary to food service.
So what are the actually saying here? The rules state that with this permit you can serve in a place that serves alcohol, but it’s not the main service they offer. Restaurants would apply here, as they primarily serve food but still serve alcohol. A liquor store manly sells alcohol, so this permit would not work there.
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in South Carolina?
You can bartend in South Carolina at the age of 21, but you can also handle and serve alcohol being only 18 years old.
That being said, you need to be 18 to work even work in establishments that sell or serve alcohol for consumption .
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in Texas?
18 year olds can bartending in Texas, provided they get certified by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Once this certification is acquired, the individual can work as a bartender anywhere in Texas.
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in Utah?
While you do need to be 21 years old to bartend in Utah, the state does offer work related to alcohol for those under this age.
In fact, Utah is one of the few states that this even applies to those aged 16 – 17. Individuals within this range can sell beer at an off-premise location as long as he or she is supervised by someone 21 or over. For example, if they’re working at a food truck, they can serve alcohol to customers.
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in Virginia?
Only workers 21 years and older can work behind the bar in Virginia, but there are exceptions.
Virginia alcohol laws permit adults of age 18 or older to serve in venues selling alcohol to drink on site. These individuals can sell or serve beer for on-premises consumption in a venue that sells beer only.
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in Washington?
Aspiring Washington bartenders must be at least 21 years old to get the job.
That being said, persons age 18 to 20 years old may take alcohol orders and carry alcohol to the customer, as well as being able pour it into the customer’s glass at the table.
What is the legal age to serve alcohol in West Virginia?
West Virginia is the only website where we’ve found conflicting reports on the legal age. Some say 18, while others say 21.
We do believe it is 18, but the state has not provided proper clarification on the age to bartend.