What is the legal age for purchasing/consuming alcoholic beverages in DC?
21 years of age.
What is the legal age to sell/serve alcoholic beverages?
A person must be at least 18 years old to serve alcohol or to be a cashier selling alcohol. A person must be at least 21 years old to be a bartender.
How old must you be to buy non-alcoholic beer?
There is no age restriction. ABRA does not control the sale of non-alcoholic beverages.
What is the maximum alcohol content for a Class B retailer (grocery store)?
The maximum alcohol content that a Class B retailer may legally sell is 14%.
What are the legal hours for the sales/service of alcoholic beverages?
Monday - Thursday: 8 am to 2 am
Friday - Saturday: 8 am to 3 am
Sunday: 8 am to 2 am
Monday - Saturday: 9 am to 12 am
Sunday, liquor stores: No sales
Sunday, grocery stores: 9 am to 12 am
The day before a federal or district holiday, on-premises retailers may sell/serve from 8 am – 3 am. On New Year's Eve, on-premises retailers may sell/serve until 4 am on January 1. Review the Extended Hours Calendar for more details.
Please note that hours of sales/service may be subject to Voluntary Agreements.
When can liquor be served on Election Day?
Alcohol can be sold on Election Day just like any other day. There is no special prohibition with respect to hours of operation or the sales of alcohol.
What is the law for underage persons entering or inside a restaurant, nightclub, or tavern?
Licensees are required to comply with the District's curfew law as set forth in D.C. Official Code 25-823(1). The curfew law applies to persons under the age of 17. Curfew hours are:
• Sunday - Thursday: 11 pm to 6 am
• Friday - Saturday: 12:01 am to 6 am
• During July and August, curfew hours are from 12:01 am to 6 am every day
What are the open container laws in the District?
A patron with an open container of an alcoholic beverage must remain on the premises of the establishment at which the beverage was purchased. Possession of an open container in public is an arrestable offense, punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or up to 90 days in jail.
What are valid forms of ID required to obtain alcoholic beverages?
A government-issued photo identification such as a driver’s license, passport, or military ID that displays the person’s name, date of birth, and signature.
What are the penalties for using false identification?
• First violation: A fine of up to $300 and the suspension of driving privileges in the District for 90 consecutive days.
• Second violation: A fine of up to $600 and the suspension of driving privileges in the District for 180 consecutive days.
• Third violation and each subsequent violation: A fine of up to $1,000 and the suspension of driving privileges in the District for one year.
May on-premises retailers sell/serve alcoholic beverages in closed containers?
No, with the exception of hotels and private clubs, which are permitted to serve closed containers to private rooms or rooms available only to club members.
Does the District permit corking fees at ABC establishments?
An on-premises licensee may charge a corking fee of up to $25. This fee can apply to beer, wine, and spirits. The corking fee is at the discretion of the establishment.
What is the “doggie bag” rule regarding unfinished bottles of wine?
Restaurant patrons may remove one partially consumed bottle of wine from the premises. The doggie bag rule in DC Code 25-113(b)(5) states that the restaurant must securely reseal the wine bottle, place it in a tamper-proof bag, and attach a dated receipt to the bag.