Washington Liquor Laws
Alcohol servers in Washington must take a state-approved Mandatory Alcohol Server Training (MAST) course and possess either a Class 12 or 13 permit to serve alcohol for on-premises consumption.
Alcohol laws can vary throughout the state, but the general rule is that the strictest regulation prevails. Typically, local laws can be stricter than state laws. For the latest and most accurate resource on Washington liquor laws, consult the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board website.
This document is a general guide and is not intended to provide legal advice. Liquor laws concerning the sale and service of alcohol often vary by county, city and municipality.
Class 12 or 13 Washington Alcohol Course
Is responsible alcohol vendor training mandatory in Washington?
Yes. Alcohol servers in the state of Washington are required to complete MAST training and earn a Class 12 or Class 13 permit within 60 days of initial hire.
A Class 12 Mixologist permit is required for alcohol servers over the age of 21, including managers, bartenders, servers and employees who conduct alcohol tastings. Any licensed business that sells spirits, beer and wine for on-premises consumption is required to have at least one Class 12 permit holder on duty.
The Class 13 Servers permit is required for employees between the ages of 18 and 21. Employees with this permit can open beer or wine, carry alcohol to customers and pour drinks into a customer's glass at the customer's table. They cannot mix drinks or draw beer or wine from the tap.
What is the legal drinking age in Washington?
Washington's legal drinking age is 21 years old. It's illegal for anyone under 21 to purchase or consume alcohol.
What is the legal age to sell alcohol in Washington?
Individuals ages 18 and up can legally serve alcohol in Washington with certain restrictions. Those aged 18 to 21 can take alcohol orders, transport alcohol to the customer and pour it into the customer's glass at the table. But they cannot mix drinks or draw alcohol from a tap.
Underage servers are required to take a state-approved MAST course and possess a valid Class 13 Servers permit to handle and serve alcohol. There must be a manager on duty with a valid Class 12 Permit to supervise them.
Servers and managers who are 21 and over must complete a state-approved MAST course and possess a valid Class 12 Mixologist permit. Class 12 permit holders may draw alcohol from a tap, mix drinks and manage the establishment.
What is the DUI limit in Washington?
Washington's DUI limit is a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 for consumers 21 and older. If the consumer is a minor, the DUI limit is 0.02 BAC.
Is Washington a Dram Shop Law State?
Yes. Washington has third party liability laws, also known as dram shop laws. Washington's dram shop law states that alcohol servers can be charged with a gross misdemeanor for allowing a minor to consume alcohol on premises. The establishment or server can also be held liable for underage or intoxicated customers' actions if servers are negligent in their alcohol serving procedures.
Does Washington allow corkage fees?
Yes, restaurants in Washington are permitted to charge customers a fee to bring their own wine into the establishment. This is commonly known as a corkage fee. According to the Department of Revenue, these fees are not subjected to retail sales tax. But they may be subject to business and occupation (B&O) tax.
Does Washington allow customers to take unfinished liquor off the premises?
Washington law generally does not permit customers to remove alcohol that purchased on premises, but there are some exceptions.
Open containers can be removed from a licensed premises if:
- The liquor was brought on premises through a banquet permit and is resealed in its original container after the banquet function
- Wine purchased with a meal is recorked or resealed
- Liquor purchased in a hotel or motel is resealed in its original container Liquor is removed from a licensed premises with a caterer's endorsement for the purpose of catering an event
What are alcohol sale hours in Washington state?
Alcohol can only be sold by open, licensed businesses from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. Local jurisdictions may restrict these hours.
Licensed businesses can include:
- Gas stations
- Bars and restaurants
- Grocery stores
- Liquor stores
- Breweries and taprooms
- And more
What are grocery store liquor laws in Washington?
Grocery stores in Washington must adhere to legal alcohol sale hours and can sell beer and wine between 6 a.m. and 2 a.m. daily. Large grocery stores — such as chain establishments — can also sell liquor.
What time do bars close in Washington?
Bars in Washington can legally sell alcohol from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Typically, bars close at 2 a.m. — however, bars that are part of restaurants sometimes close at the same time as the restaurant.
What are the open container laws in Washington?
It's illegal for drivers and passengers in a vehicle to possess an open container. An open container is any alcohol container with a broken seal or one that has been partially consumed.
Alcohol should be stored in the trunk of a car or in the glovebox. Punishment for breaking open container laws can include a maximum fine of $250, community service or jail time for individuals who supply alcohol to a passenger who's a minor.
What if a customer is intoxicated?
Servers, cashiers and other employees who sell alcohol are not allowed to serve individuals who are apparently under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol sales to intoxicated persons can result in managerial disciplinary action and a fine of up to $500.
Common signs of intoxication include:
- Slurred speech
- Nodding off at the table
- Aggressive behavior
- Inappropriate comments or behavior
- Glassy or bloodshot eyes
- Impaired motor function
- Smelling strongly of alcohol
Are liquor licensees responsible for sales to minors under 21 years old?
Yes. It is illegal for anyone to sell or supply alcohol to persons under 21 years old. Liquor license holders are responsible for their employees' actions. If an employee sells or serves alcohol to a minor, the business will be responsible for liabilities, injuries and other damages related to alcohol consumption of a minor. The licensee could be fined up to $5,000 for illegal sales.