For All Licensees

For All Licensees


No employee or licensee may drink alcohol or be under the influence of marijuana while on duty. Employees and licensees who are drinking on duty cannot effectively judge the age or sobriety of customers. (WAC 314-11-015)


Persons who become disorderly or conduct themselves in a manner that threatens a patron or employee’s safety may not be allowed to remain on the premises. Licensees are responsible for the disorderly conduct of customers anywhere on their licensed premises, including, for example, parking lots and outdoor service areas. If a fight breaks out on your premises, or you think there is a threat of violence, call the police. (WAC 314-11-015)


The law allows liquor to be sold, served and consumed between 6 a.m. and 2 a.m., seven days a week. Local governments may pass ordinances establishing earlier closing hours. Licensees should check local ordinances to find their community’s legal hours. (WAC 314-11-070)


Liquor and Tobacco Enforcement Officers, as well as your local police, have a right to inspect liquor licensed premises and do the following:

  • Examine books and records.
  • Take samples of liquor for analysis.
  • Inspect any premises for which a license, banquet permit, or any other permit has been granted.

The inspections are made to ensure licensees are complying with liquor and tobacco laws and rules. (RCW 66.28.090, 66.08.130, 66.44.010 and 66.08.140)


The following records must be made available for inspection if requested by the Liquor Control Board: Purchase invoices and supporting documents, bank statements and cancelled checks for business accounts, business accounting and tax records, and records of all financial transactions related to the business. Keep these records for at least two years. (WAC 314-11-090 and 314-11-095)



In all portions of the premises where alcohol is served or consumed, lighting must be sufficient to check ID and to observe patrons for the enforcement of liquor laws and rules, including apparent intoxication. (WAC 314-11-055)



Changes in the physical floor plan of your place of business will require prior approval from the Liquor Control Board, such as extending the location of alcohol service onto a patio or deck, changing the size of a dining room or lounge, etc. No approval is needed for refurbishing, i.e., painting walls, installing new carpet or furniture, etc. (See WAC 314-02-130 for more information).

Rev. 3/3/16


This article is an excerpt from the Handbook for Excellent Restaurant Operations (HERO), published by the Washington Hospitality Association.  Want a hard copy of the whole manual?  It’s one of the many benefits of becoming a member!  Find out more about joining the Washington Hospitality Association here.

View the Table of Contents

Categories: HERO